Murder case hopes dashed
DISPLAYED below one of Judith Furlong’s many framed photos of her daughter Jane Furlong is a cut-out of a newspaper which says ‘‘2014 could be a good year’’.
The premonition is unlikely to come true for Judith though as police wind down their investigation into her 17-year-old daughter’s murder.
‘‘I’m not happy about it of course. I can see why they have to wind it down, but I’m also a bit concerned about the thousands of hours spent with no result.’’
Jane was a part-time sex worker and was last seen on Karangahape Rd in May, 1993.
Her remains were found on Sunset Beach in Port Waikato in 2012, by a woman walking her dog.
‘‘I was pretty amazed that she was ever found,’’ Judith says.
‘‘We were actually over this. It was 19 years. We had accepted this and then suddenly I get a visit from the police out of the blue.’’
The discovery of Jane’s remains sparked a homicide investigation and Judith was hopeful she’d finally have answers.
‘‘[The police] were so positive. Their attitude was one of determination.
‘‘I think I bought into that, but I wish I hadn’t. If I hadn’t it wouldn’t have felt let down so much.’’
Police announced last week that Jane’s case would no longer be actively investigated but the file will remain open in the hope the new information will come to light.
The investigation was fruitful, says the officer in charge, Detective Inspector Mark Benefield.
‘‘We have explored hundreds of theories and a number of leads and I am confident that, if we get the right information from the right people in due course, we will be able to tell Jane’s family who was responsible for her disappearance and death.’’
Judith has a theory about what might have happened to Jane.
‘‘I presume it was a drug debt. But do you die because of drug debts? I don’t know.
‘‘I think she might have wanted to run away and maybe someone tricked her.’’
Judith is critical of how police treated her daughter’s case in the past.
‘‘They didn’t take seriously,’’ she says.
Jane was meant to give evidence in two other cases at the time of her disappearance.
‘‘The police went on the bent of her being a prostitute and a drug addict, forgetting she was a police witness.
‘‘I don’t think she was taken care of. They say they’ve changed their way of policing and I think there was definitely need for change,’’ Judith says.
Jane’s son was six months old when she went missing. He was brought up by his paternal grandparents in Tauranga.
Jane’s remains were cremated and Judith keeps them in her Mt Albert home.
She doesn’t visit the beach where her daughter’s body was found.
‘‘To me it’s a place with a lot of secrets. It’s spooky.’’
Her favourite memories are of Jane as a small child.
‘‘She was a bright spark was Jane – always on the go, just right into life.
She would have turned 39 this year.
‘‘I actually can’t imagine her at that age. In some ways it is as if she wasn’t meant to get to 40.’’
Hope dashed: Judith Furlong is disappointed that nothing has come of the latest investigation into her daughter Jane Furlong’s murder.