21 Jun 2012

Skeleton identified as that of missing teen

8:05 am on 21 June 2012

Police say the remains of an Auckland teenager whose skeleton was discovered at a beach in Port Waikato will help them to establish who killed her.

The remains of her body were found by a woman walking her dog at Sunset Beach on 19 May. At the time, she was due to appear as a witness in a trial involving an alleged sex attack.

The 17-year-old sex worker vanished from Auckland's Karangahape Road in 1993 in suspicious circumstances.

Detective Inspector Mark Benefield says the police carried out hundreds of inquiries during the course of two main investigations in 1993 and 1996.

He says it is pleasing they now have some evidence.

"Jane was reported a missing person in 1993, they worked with information they had at that time in '93. in '96 it was re-looked at, as we do with missing persons on a regular basis, and it was deemed appropriate to put another investigation around that. The team worked hard on that with the information they had available. Clearly they didn't have a body, we now have a body."

In 2007, a television programme involving clairvoyants sparked further investigation.

Police say the skeleton was identified through extensive forensic examination and tests.

Investigating officer 'horrified'

The officer in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of Ms Furlong says she is horrified her suspicions that she was killed have been confirmed.

Former detective Dayle Candy says Ms Furlong was never put at risk by her involvement in their investigations.

But she told Checkpoint she always thought something tragic had happened.

She believes people who were too scared to give information to police may now come forward and is optimistic of a successful conclusion.

She told Checkpoint Ms Furlong left behind a son, who was only six months old when she disappeared, and who has grown up without a mother.

Schoolfried Olive-Ann Pene says she had hoped Ms Furlong would one day be found alive, but is pleased that at least she will now get the farewell she deserves.