Hendry case reopened 22 years on

FRONT PAGE MYSTERY: Terence Charles Hendry's disappearance in The Press on July 18, 1991.
FRONT PAGE MYSTERY: Terence Charles Hendry's disappearance in The Press on July 18, 1991.

A cold-case file has been reopened on a mystery that has remained unsolved for more than two decades.

A polar blast was hammering Christchurch as Terence Charles Hendry strolled out of his home in Woolston. Many people had stayed indoors to avoid travelling on snow- and ice-covered roads, but the 32-year-old set off with no cash and limited fuel in his car on the afternoon of June 20, 1991.

Hendry told his parents he was going to the post office to withdraw some money. He and his old orange Datsun have never been found.

DEAFENING SILENCE: Terence Charles Hendry has been missing since 1991.
DEAFENING SILENCE: Terence Charles Hendry has been missing since 1991.

Police announced yesterday they were taking a fresh look at the case as they appealed for information they hope will help bring closure to Hendry's brother and three sisters.

His parents, John and Anne Hendry, have died since his disappearance.

The announcement comes after police reviewed some of the 70 unsolved missing person cases in the Canterbury district since 1960.

Hendry and Akaroa millionaire Graham Vanstone, 49, who disappeared in September 1999, are among the few who went missing in mysterious circumstances.

Nearly all the other cases were suspected suicides, missing trampers or people lost at sea, police said.

Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said police believed Hendry was dead, and "clearly can't rule out foul play".

"After reviewing the file, there are a number of lines of inquiry that will be vigorously followed up over the coming weeks," he said.

Murder, suicide or accidental death were all possibilities, he said.

"People can disappear if they want to - it's a big country - but it is unusual."

Hendry worked at a fish and chip shop while he was a student at Linwood High School.

He left the school in 1976 and worked as a chef at the Woolston Working Men's Club before taking up a job with the Railways as a freight handler. He liked hot rods and owned several when he was young.

A work-related injury forced him out of work in 1987.

After that he spent most of his time at home or in the Lyttelton harbour area. Fishing was his greatest passion.

At the time of his disappearance, Hendry's devastated parents told The Press they feared he had been murdered.

However, police suspected suicide.

They said he was edgy on the day he disappeared and had been at Sunnyside Hospital as a voluntary patient.

Yesterday, Fitzgerald said Hendry was trying to rekindle relationships with some women about the time of his disappearance, which may have frustrated some people.

The police's fresh search for information would extend to Kaikoura and the West Coast, where Hendry liked to holiday. He had connections in both areas but police would not reveal what those were.

Hendry had planned two holidays for the month after his disappearance. He was excited about seeing a friend who was travelling from Australia to join him.

Fitzgerald said going public again with the case might encourage someone who "wasn't telling us the full truth" to reconsider information they gave police at the time of his disappearance.

He hoped the appeal for information would provide the leads to solve the case.

"As an investigator, anything unsolved is a rock in your back when you're trying to sleep."

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Al Lester at Christchurch police on (03) 3637400, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Terence Hendry left his parents' home at 45 Tabart St, Woolston, about 4.30pm on June 20, 1991.

The 32-year-old was driving a dilapidated orange Datsun 120Y, registration HS359. It was hand-painted and had no front passenger seat.

Police established he never made it to his destination, the post office about 2 kilometres from his parents' home.

Hendry suffered from mental illness. He left behind his medication and all of his possessions, including a passport.

He was known to holiday on the West Coast and in Kaikoura.

The Press