On the night Waitara woman Doreen Meggitt disappeared, she handed two rings to her sister-in-law and said: "Hold these till I come back."
The problem is she never did.
Doreen Gayle Meggitt disappeared on the night of August 2, 1983. She was last seen on a park bench near the corner of the McLean St bridge and West Quay.
She is still classified as a missing person by police.
Thirty years on her brother, Graeme Nickson, and nephew, Daryl Nickson, the son of Doreen's brother, Neil, are seeking answers about what happened to the then 30-year-old.
"The biggest thing for me is to get it back out in the public eye," Daryl Nickson said.
Doreen left the rings - inherited from her mother - with Daryl's mother, Margaret, for safekeeping.
The mystery and speculation surrounding her disappearance is something the family still lives with.
"You always think about it," Graeme Nickson said.
A lack of information about the police case has motivated the pair to get the story in the public domain to help find out what happened.
"The case is that cold it's about freezing," Daryl Nickson said.
Graeme Nickson said since his sister's disappearance police had contacted him only twice.
"You hear from someone and then you don't hear from anyone again in years," the 69-year-old said.
Detective Sergeant Debbie Gower, of New Plymouth CIB, acknowledged members of the Nickson family had attempted to get more information about the case, but she said she was not prepared to comment further.
Daryl Nickson, who was 12 when his aunt disappeared, said he had three theories which could explain his aunt's disappearance.
"She either disappeared, committed suicide or she was murdered," he said.
Doreen had lived a hard life and become involved with drugs and alcohol, but they had fond memories of her.
"To me she was a normal, lovable aunty," Daryl Nickson said.
Graeme Nickson, one of Doreen's five siblings, said he still remembered the last time he saw her as they had the longest conversation they had ever had together.
They did not have a close relationship because of their nine-year age gap. "We were brother and sister and that's all there was to it."
Daryl Nickson said several people, including a gang associate, had been linked over the years to stories around Doreen's disappearance.
Graeme Nickson said he felt too many things did not add up about Doreen's disappearance and he had heard different stories about what might have happened, as well as about possible sightings of her over the years. "I've often thought I still don't reckon she's dead."
He and his siblings wanted some sort of finality but he was sceptical about ever getting to the bottom of the mystery.
"If they haven't found out anything now they're never going to," he said.
Daryl Nickson hoped someone might come forward with new information which could provide some closure for the family, including Doreen's son, Lyall, who was three at the time she disappeared. Doreen has never been pronounced dead and the family has nowhere to remember her.
"She needs a place to rest after 30 years," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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