Mourners farewell Jane Furlong
Teenage murder victim Jane Furlong has been farewelled to the sounds of Christian prayer, hymns and Guns n Roses.
At St George's Anglican Church in Epsom, the rock band's classic anthem 'Sweet Child of Mine' played behind a photo slideshow of Jane - as a sweet baby, a cheeky toddler, and a beautiful young woman with an infant of her own.
The song, a favourite of the teen's, sat amidst a programme of carefully chosen prayers, read by friends and family.
Mourners who gathered to say a final farewell were told the funeral was unusual in that Furlong had been dead longer than she lived.
About 100 people, including family, friends and police investigating the case attended the service.
Furlong was last seen on Karangahape Rd, Auckland on May 28, 1993. She left behind a 6-month-old baby, Aidan Norsworthy, who is now 20.
The 17-year-old's remains were found on Sunset Beach in Port Waikato on May 19, by a woman walking her dog, and were later identified by police through DNA testing.
A homicide investigation was launched at the same time and police now believe more than one person was involved in the part-time sex worker's death.
Service leader Bruce McGrail said it was likely no-one had experienced a funeral like Jane's before.
"We're hear to remember Jane Furlong who has been dead longer than she lived," he said.
He spoke of how family and friends had been denied a proper goodbye for 19 years.
Jane's mother, Judith, told the service how her daughter was "more than just a teenage prostitute".
She was chatty, outgoing and loved sports.
"For as long as I can remember Jane had a daring and fearless spirit," she said.
"She did not deserve this evil. And evil is what it was."
She said she prayed the person who took her daughter would be found.
"There are still more questions than answers in this case. I hope to meet you Jane in heaven where the truth will be revealed."
When Furlong disappeared she was due to testify as a witness for the prosecution in two separate cases - one involved gang members accused of an assault, the other a businessman charged with brutal attacks on sex workers.
Head investigator Detective Inspector Mark Benefield has said it was possible Furlong was alive for some days after she disappeared and before she was killed.
Benefield appealed for a man recorded in Furlong's diary as "Tommy'', who it is believed Furlong may have planned to spend a night with near the time of her disappearance, to come forward, along with any other clients who could recall being with her on, or after May 26.
The funeral service was at St George's Anglican Church in Epsom.