Search now finished
Toddler’s end stays a mystery
Hopes of closing a 44- year- old Tokoroa cold case have been dashed after Tokoroa police failed to find any new clues while digging up a section of backyard in in Tokoroa last week.
But the family of missing toddler Jefferie Hill say they will never stop searching for answers.
Police arrived at the Fergusson St property last Wednesday in the search for clues into the 1968 disappearance of the two year old.
The property is across the street from where Jefferie was last seen.
Police were acting on information from Geophysical Services’ Martin King, who detected an anomaly when scanning the area last month after being asked by the South Waikato News to do so.
Jefferie’s mother Jo Reynolds and sister Laura Hill were both present during the dig.
While they never expected the police to find anything, Mrs Hill said they were really just looking for some kind of closure.
‘‘Basically we want to check this and close the door . . . But we may never find out what happened to him.’’
The police focused on a 1.5 square metre area, which was part of a wider area previously identified by former resident, Ray Bartlett.
It is an area Mr Bartlett believes he saw his thenneighbour, Tom Stubbs, digging soon after Jefferie went missing. Mr Stubbs died in 1987. His family have always denied he had any involvement in Jefferie’s disappearance.
Last week’s dig attracted attention from onlookers and passersby, with many of Edward St’s and Fergusson St’s residents hoping the examination would provide closure for the family.
But the dig, which lasted several hours, failed to turn up anything of interest.
Even so, Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry said it was worth investigating. ‘‘We felt that the report provided following the sonar search highlighted an area that warranted further investigation, hence the excavation work,’’ he said.
‘‘We are always open to receiving new information that may shed new light on a case and police will always investigate new information, as we did.’’ Meanwhile, Mrs Hill hoped one day they would be able to put her brother to rest.
In 1969, a coroner concluded that Jefferie had drowned in a nearby creek, but the family do not believe that theory. She said the family struggled with not knowing what had happened to Jefferie.
‘‘It’s not easy . . . You know you can let things break you or you can move on.’’
DIGGING FOR ANSWERS: Police dig an area that was labelled an area of interest by Geophysical Services scientist Martin King, who scanned the area a month ago for missing toddler Jefferie Hill.
1968 SEARCH: Firemen and the community turned out to help search for missing toddler Jefferie Hill in 1968.
MYSTERY GOES ON: An excavation of a Tokoroa property last week did not find the body of Jefferie Hill, who went missing in 1968.