Dis­tinc­tive jacket holds clues

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

JU­DITH Fur­long is no longer so sure what hap­pened to her mur­dered daugh­ter Jane.

She had a ‘‘very strong idea’’ of who might have been in­volved when Jane dis­ap­peared in 1993 and her feel­ings didn’t change when the 17-year-old’s re­mains were found on Sun­set Beach, Port Waikato, in June last year. But now things are dif­fer­ent. ‘‘It might have changed, just from what the po­lice have said to me,’’ she says.

Ju­dith re­mains hope­ful the mys­tery of what hap­pened to her daugh­ter all those years ago will be solved de­spite a full year of in­ves­ti­ga­tion pass­ing since the dis­cov­ery of the for­mer pros­ti­tute’s re­mains.

‘‘The po­lice are a lot bet­ter than they were 20 years ago,’’ she says.

‘‘They’re pretty ded­i­cated. I hope for their sake some­thing comes out of it be­cause there has been a lot of work put into it.’’

Last month po­lice searched Jane Fur­long’s for­mer home in Here­taunga Ave, One­hunga, for the sec­ond time.

She shared the flat with her then boyfriend Danny Nor­swor­thy.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are now ask­ing for in­for­ma­tion about a dis­tinc­tive tas­selled leather jacket Jane owned around the time she went miss­ing.

‘‘Jane pur­chased the jacket from a shop in One­hunga shortly be­fore her dis­ap­pear­ance and it was an item of cloth­ing that she was com­monly seen in,’’ De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Mark Bene­field says.

Her mother be­lieves it may have been what she was wear­ing when she went miss­ing and it was not found with her body.

Mr Bene­field says the jacket is a patch­work of leather panels of vary­ing shades of brown or tan.

It also has tas­sels on each arm and pos­si­bly on the back.

‘‘In 1993 th­ese were pop­u­lar items that were passed around and traded, and we ap­peal to any­one who may know where this jacket is, or has in­for­ma­tion about what hap­pened to the jacket, to come for­ward and speak with the in­quiry team,’’ Mr Bene­field says.

Po­lice would also like more in­for­ma­tion about a light coloured Mor­ris van that was con­nected to Karanga­hape Rd and the Port Waikato area at the time Jane went miss­ing.

Last month Mr Bene­field said: ‘‘I’m hope­ful that some­one who lived or worked in those ar­eas may re­mem­ber the van.

‘‘I be­lieve there are sev­eral peo­ple who know what hap­pened and some of them are prob­a­bly feel­ing a lit­tle ner­vous.’’

A $50,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion about those re­spon­si­ble for Jane’s death is on of­fer un­til Septem­ber.

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