Jane Furlong's mother left with heartache

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 16:56 27/06/2014
judith furlong
EMMA WHITTAKER/Fairfax NZ

HEARTACHE: Judith Furlong with photos of her daughter.

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As the Jane Furlong cold case is once more closed, her mother is left with heartache.

Displayed under one of Judith Furlong's many framed photos of her daughter is a newspaper clipping saying "2014 could be a good year".

The premonition is unlikely to come true for Judith Furlong as police wind down their investigation into the 1993 murder of her 17-year-old daughter.

"I'm not happy about it of course," Furlong said.

"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 Furlong was a part-time sex worker and was last seen in Karangahape Rd, Auckland, in May 1993.

Her remains were found on Sunset Beach in Port Waikato by a woman walking her dog in 2012.

"I was pretty amazed that she was ever found," Judith Furlong said.

"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 Furlong's remains sparked a homicide investigation and Judith Furlong 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," the pensioner said.

Police announced this week that Jane Furlong's case would no longer be actively investigated but the file would remain open in the hope new information would come to light.

The investigation was fruitful, officer in charge detective inspector Mark Benefield said.

"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 Furlong has a theory about what might have happened to Jane Furlong.

"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 Furlong was critical of how police had handled her daughter's case.

"They didn't take it seriously," she said.

Jane Furlong had been about to give evidence in two trials at the time of her disappearance.

"They 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."

Jane Furlong's son, Aidan Norsworthy, was 6 months old when she went missing.

He was brought up by his paternal grandparents in Tauranga.

Jane Furlong's remains were cremated and Judith Furlong keeps them in her central Auckland home.

She doesn't visit the beach where the remains were found.

"To me it's a place with a lot of secrets. It's spooky."

Her favourite memories are of Jane Furlong as a small child.

"She was a bright spark was Jane - always on the go, just right into life."

Jane Furlong spent time in a foster home and was the victim of sexual abuse.

She would have turned 39 this year.

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"I actually can't imagine her at that age. In some ways it is as if she wasn't meant to get to 40."

- Stuff

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