Mur­der case hopes dashed

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

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.

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‘‘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.’’

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Hope dashed: Ju­dith Fur­long is dis­ap­pointed that noth­ing has come of the lat­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her daugh­ter Jane Fur­long’s mur­der.

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