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Unsolved - but not forgotten

Murdered women's cases remain cold

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013

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There are few days when Detective Senior Sergeant Gerry Whitley doesn't think about Katrina Jefferies.

Eight years ago this month the 22-year-old's semi-naked body was found dumped down a bank in Waikowhai Reserve, Hillsborough.

Despite more than 750 people being interviewed, several confessions to murder, and a $50,000 reward offer, her killer has not been found.

"We wish it hadn't been eight years, but she certainly hasn't been forgotten," Mr Whitley says.

"I long for the day when I can ring her mother and say we've made a breakthrough. I'm pretty convinced that I will get that opportunity."

Katrina's case will shortly be reviewed.

"It's done from time to time on an ad hoc basis to make sure we're doing everything we possibly can to get an outcome," Mr Whitley says.

The detective has remained the lead officer on the case since Katrina's body was discovered by a member of the public on July 12, 2005.

The solo mother of a two-year-old son was known to live a dysfunctional lifestyle, was a heavy drinker, and used drugs.

She was last seen by her mother Nicola Jefferies whose Waikowhai house she left around 8pm on Sunday July 10, 2005.

Katrina lived with Nicola and she told police it wasn't unusual for her daughter not to return home overnight.

It's likely she was killed either late on the Monday night or early on the day she was found.

Where she went between leaving her mother's house and her death is still unclear.

"It's one of the really frustrating parts of the inquiry, if we could be more clear it would assist us with what actually did occur," Mr Whitley says.

Police are sure Katrina wasn't killed in the reserve and was only dumped there.

She was wrapped in a red tarpaulin, a yellow Stormwear raincoat, and a black plastic rubbish bag.

Other items including a wooden frame and a plywood board were found at the scene.

None of the items have so far proved fruitful in the investigation.

Her death was ruled a homicide by coroner Gordon Matenga at a hearing in 2011, but the cause of her death was suppressed to help police with the investigation.

In 2007 Nicola Jefferies announced she would move away from her Waikowhai home to raise Katrina's son James.

"The main reason is the memories," Nicola told the Central Leader at the time.

"This place to me is so depressing, I want to be as far away as possible."

Six years later Mr Whitley says new information is still coming in.

"It's slowed down a little bit this year, we just get all sorts of little bits of information that come from all sorts of areas."

The $50,000 reward offered by police in 2007 for information that leads them to Katrina's killer has expired, but it could still be reactivated, Mr Whitley says.

MORE AUCKLAND COLD CASES

Katrina Jefferies' death is among a number of Auckland cold cases police are dealing with. Anyone with information about any of these cases should contact police on 302 6400 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Kayo Matsuzawa, 1998

Kayo Matsuzawa's naked decomposing body was discovered in a cupboard near a stairwell linking the Centrecourt building and BNZ Tower in downtown Auckland on September 22, 1998.

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It is likely the Japanese tourist had been in the city only a few hours when she was murdered.

The 29-year-old came to New Zealand in 1997 and was on a working holiday in Christchurch.

On September 11, 1998, she arrived in Auckland for a sightseeing trip. She was last seen leaving a backpackers on Queen St late in the afternoon.

Joanne Chatfield, 1988

Joanne Chatfield was 17 when she disappeared after watching a band play at Auckland University's cafeteria on November 19, 1988.

She was last seen walking alone along Princes St towards Wellesley St just before midnight.

Coroner Murray Jamieson in 2008 declared the South Auckland teenager dead and presumed murdered.

Claire Hills, 1998

Claire Hills was tied up and burnt to death in her car on Mangere Mountain on April 28, 1998.

Police believe she was abducted early that morning while she was on her way from her Herne Bay home to work at the Auckland International Airport McDonald's.

The 30-year-old was alive when she was doused in petrol and set alight in her car.

Police initially believed rapist William Mokaraka was responsible for her death and shelved the case for nearly 10 years in the hope he would one day confess.

In 2007 DNA tests ruled him out and the case was reopened.

Ms Hills had a chequered past. At 15 she left Australia with a boyfriend to come to New Zealand and began using the name Lisa.

At the time of her death she had renounced her religion, separated from her husband Peter Hills and was living on her own.

Jane Furlong, 1993

Jane Furlong's skeletal remains were found buried in sand dunes at Sunset Beach, Port Waikato, last year.

She had not been seen since she went missing in May, 1993.

This month forensic teams again searched the area around Miss Furlong's former flat in Heretaunga Ave, Onehunga.

Auckland police Detective Inspector Mark Benefield says some items were found that might advance the investigation but they needed to be fully forensically tested.

Police are now asking for sightings of a distinctively shaped, light-coloured, Morris van they believe was connected to the Karangahape Rd and Port Waikato areas when Miss Furlong went missing.

A $50,000 reward for information about those responsible for Miss Furlong's death is available until September.

Anyone with information about the Morris van or Miss Furlong's death is encouraged to contact the police on 0800 675 263.

- Central Leader

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