His stepson Colby Thorne (Tim Franklin)—who shot Ross dead in 2019, and hid his body with the help of Dean Thompson (Patrick O’Connor)—was given the grave news at the police station alongside sister Bella (Courtney Miller).
Bella was told the truth about her father’s death by Colby last year, and struggled to come to terms with both that and the pressure of keeping it a secret.
Bella’s mental health became all the more fragile following Tommy O’Reilly’s attempted sexual assault on her, and numerous other factors throughout the year eventuated in Bella making herself sick, by taking an overdose of stolen medication, in order to get Colby’s attention.
Bella was recommended counselling, but refused to attend the sessions after counsellor Patricia attempted to bring up the issues Bella had surrounding her father—who remained officially missing—with Bella concerned that she would inadvertantly let something slip about Colby’s involvement in his disappearance.
When her attempt to have sex with new beau Nikau (Kakakawa Fox-Reo) brought back traumatic memories of Tommy, Bella threw him out and started cutting her arm. As this constituted a second self-harm incident in only a matter of months, Bella was forced into intensive treatment at an equine therapy centre.
Things have been much improved for a newly confident Bella on her return to Summer Bay, as she renewed her relationship with Nik in recent weeks, but is all her progress about to come crashing down following the discovery of her father’s body?
Bella was quick to panic on hearing the news, and as Colby, Dean and Willow (Sarah Roberts) tried to work out what to do next, Bella insisted that she and Colby should leave town immediately.
But Colby placated her and assured her that carrying on as normal was the best thing to do, these sorts of investigations take a lot of time and there wouldn’t be anything happening just yet for them to worry about.
However Colby hadn’t banked on the return of former Summer Bay resident Angelo Rosetta (Luke Jacobz)—who is now back on the police force as a homicide detective and leading the investigation into Ross’ murder.
Bella was the first to encounter Angelo, who passed on his condolences and promised to hunt down whoever was responsible. He handed Bella his card, asking her to pass it onto Colby, but he soon came across Colby himself whilst visiting Salt.
Colby played it cool as Angelo bought him a beer and had an informal chat about Ross, but was momentarily thrown when Angelo revealed he had already spoken to Colby’s ex-wife Chelsea Campbell (Ashleigh Brewer). The couple had only been married a matter of weeks when Colby confessed his crime to her, and she promptly left him.
Although Chelsea has kept quiet about the reason, she did tell Angelo that the day of Ross’ disappearance—when she herself was kidnapped by him—was the day her marriage to Colby ended.
As the week came to a close, Colby was still trying to convince Bella that they had nothing to worry about, as both Colby and Dean were called in to the police station to go over their original statements. It’s clear that Colby doesn’t believe his own words though, as he suffered nightmares about the incident.
Knowing that she is going to be called upon to give a statement, Bella again panics that she could say the wrong thing and land Colby in jail.
Next week, Bella decides the only thing she can do is run away from Summer Bay. Although it’s currently unknown as to whether Bella will tell boyfriend Nik the truth about Colby’s dark secret, she suggests to him that if she’s not in town, she can’t put her foot in it.
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The new promo shows Nik, who recently made his own attempt to flee the bay, agree to accompany her. Taking around $5000 of cash from Tane’s secret stash in the garden shed, Nik and Bella are seen attempting to hitchhike their way out of Summer Bay.
As we see the loved-up couple sharing a romantic moment on a clifftop in one of the national parks, back in the bay, Colby realizes that Bella has done a runner.
Having not shown up to her police interview, Angelo sternly tells Colby that his sister has 72 hours to show up, otherwise a warrant will go out for her arrest.
Colby and the Paratas, who he has long held a vendetta against, are forced to band together in an attempt to find Bella and Nik.
Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams), Tane (Ethan Browne) and Mackenzie (Emily Weir) are shown hot on the trail of the couple, as they check in with a park ranger who appears to mark out some possible areas to check out.
As the three drive along a road, Nik appears right in front of them. Shocked to see who’s in the car, Nikau makes a run for it through the bush as Tane gives chase.
Will they succeed in getting Bella back to Summer Bay in time to avoid Angelo putting out an arrest warrant?
Meanwhile, back in the bay, Dean is facing his own troubles with keeping the truth about Ross’ death hidden from girlfriend Ziggy.
As the only flatmate in the Pier apartment that doesn’t know what happened, things have already been awkward as Colby, Dean, Bella, and Willow have tried to formulate plans whilst finding excuses to get Ziggy out of the way.
Ziggy knows that Dean isn’t being straight with her however, and tells him that she knows there is more to Ross’ murder then he’s letting on.
As an argument ensues, she orders him to sleep on the couch if he’s going to treat her like a stranger.
The promo shows the frustration between the pair building as Dean asks Ziggy to stay out of it — but when she points out that she doesn’t know what it is she’s supposed to stay out of, Dean loses it and shouts at her to drop it.
Dean is stuck between a rock and a hard place as he has an important decision to make. Does he keep quiet and risk losing Ziggy over trust issues? Or does he come clean and still face losing Ziggy over his part in Ross’ death….?
These scenes are all expected to air in Australia over the next week or so.