Missing Persons - Gordana Kotevski
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Gordana Kotevski: Case of kidnapped 16-year-old Newcastle girl reopened
In July 2000 New South Wales police intensified their investigation into abduction of Gordana Kotevski almost six years ago.
On November 24, 1994, 16-year-old Gordana was kidnapped as she walked to her aunt`s house from a suburban Newcastle shopping centre.
**It is believed Gordana was abducted from outside her aunt`s house at about 8.45pm.**
Sonia Simonovic, Gordana`s aunt, said she heard screams outside her house, followed by more than one muffled male voice.
When she looked down her driveway she saw a white Toyota Hilux drive away towards the Pacific Highway.
A short time later, when Gordana hadn`t arrived Mrs Simonovic looked outside and found her niece`s torn plastic shopping bag containing her purse, a new item of clothing and socks on the grass verge outside her home.
**No trace was found of the attractive schoolgirl, despite a massive police search at the time.**
In 1999, almost five years after the abduction, checks were again carried out on vehicles similar to that used in her kidnapping. Owners of around 300 white Toyota Hi-Lux 4WD`s were contacted by detectives, making inquiries and asking to inspect their vehicles.
The white Toyota Hilux remains a major focus in the investigation.
In 1998 the Strike Force Fenwick was set up to investigate the disappearance of up to 20 young people from the Newcastle area over a 20-year period.
**The disappearance of Gordana is the only remaining case still being actively investigated by Strike Force Fenwick.**
On July 29, 2000 police forensic scientists cordoned off the street out Mrs Simonovic`s home. Detectives met with the parents of Gordana days before the reconstruction operation took place.
According to a report in Sydney`s __The Daily Telegraph__, investigations in recent months had provided police with "some very good information."
It has also been revealed that six witnesses have recently undergone hypnosis in an attempt to help police with their investigations.
**One of the witness was able to able to provide a description of suspect seen seated in the rear of the white Hi-Lux as it sped away.**
Police have released an identikit of the suspect and have called the public to help identify him.
- A reward of up to $100,000 may be payable for information leading to an arrest in relation to Gordana`s disappearance.
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Hope again in case of teen missing for 14 years
The family of a teenage girl missing for more than 14 years believes she might still be found - hopefully
alive - thanks to emerging police technology.
Investigators announced yesterday they were using new forensic techniques in a bid to gather fresh evidence
into the disappearance of 16-year-old Gordana Kotevski, who went missing near Newcastle in November 1994.
NSW Police homicide squad commander Detective Acting Superintendent Russell Oxford said new information from
an undisclosed source had prompted a re-examination of the case.
"Exhibits (found) at the scene of Gordana Kotevski's abduction have been re-examined and advancements in
technology in forensic biology and fingerprint identification will be fully utilised in this investigation," he said.
A 2003 coronial inquest found the initial police investigation was flawed in some aspects but concluded she
had been killed by an unknown person or persons.
Older sister Karol Jagurinoski said yesterday her family still held hopes of finding Gordana alive.
"My attitude has always been that until they find a body, she is still alive to me," she said.
"Spiritually I don't feel that she has passed (away), so until that evidence is put before me I won't
believe it. She is still such a huge part of our lives - having that question mark of why, where and
how every day is just torture."
Police believe that Gordana was abducted about 9pm on November 24, 1994, while walking to her aunt's
house from shops at Charlestown near Lake Macquarie.
Witnesses, who were too far away to help, described seeing a white Toyota Hilux turn in front of
Gordana before she was pulled inside the vehicle, screaming.
Gordana's shopping bag and wallet were found at the scene but were returned to the family without
being tested for fingerprints.
Initial investigations revealed the teenager had been stalked near her work by a man of Middle Eastern
appearance, probably aged in his 20s.
Police re-open cold case of missing teenager Gordana Kotevski
Cold case detectives have reopened the investigation into the abduction and murder of Cardiff
teenager Gordana Kotevski after receiving fresh information.
Police this morning confirmed they believe at least two people were responsible for abducting
the 16-year-old as she walked from Charlestown Square to a nearby relative's place in 1994.
Evidence from where Gordana was last scene have been "forensically re-examined and advancements
in technology in forensic biology and fingerprint identification will be fully utilised in this investigation",
the head of the homicide squad Detective Acting Superintendent Russell Oxford said.
The schoolgirl was brazenly abducted while walking to her aunt's home in Powell Street,
Charlestown after a Thursday night shopping trip.Her body has never been found.
Her abduction and murder was re-examined by detectives from Strike Force Fenwick, an
investigation set up in 1998 to look into up to 20 missing persons files across the Hunter.
It ended with then State Coroner John Abernethy finding at a 2003 inquest that Gordana had
been murdered and made sweeping recommendations concerning unsolved homicides following Strike Force Fenwick.
The Unsolved Homicide Squad was created following one of those recommendations and information received
by the Northern Region team, based at Newcastle, is why the investigation has been reactivated.
Detective Acting Superintendent Russell Oxford, said investigations were never closed.
"Obviously, we cannot comment on the precise nature or source of the new information for
operational reasons," Detective Acting Superintendent Oxford said.
"However, last years formation of specialised Unsolved Homicide Teams has
increased the capacity of the NSW Police Force to provide an effective ongoing
response to such matters.
"Exhibits located at the scene of Gordana Kotevski's abduction have been
forensically re-examined and advancements in technology in forensic biology
and fingerprint identification will be fully utilised in this investigation.
Anyone with information about the night Gordana disappeared can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Witness hypnosis called for in lost girl case
Deep inside her subconscious, Audrey Barnard could hold a clue which could unravel one of the Hunter's most baffling
crimes - the disappearance of 16-year-old Gordana Kotevski.
Yesterday State Coroner John Abernethy and the missing schoolgirl's parents urged the 75-year-old widow, one of the
last people to see her alive, to undergo forensic hypnosis to unlock her memory of that night.
Mr Abernethy told Mrs Barnard that her witness account of the last moments before Gordana disappeared without trace
from a street in Charlestown almost eight years ago, was the most significant, reliable evidence he had.
"Your information is very important," he said. "Maybe there is something in your subconscious ... faces, a numberplate
or markings on the vehicle, which could assist even further."
Mrs Barnard said she was apprehensive about having hypnosis because "I do not like giving my mind over to somebody".
But Toronto Court heard that Mrs Barnard had very good recall of the night she saw "a pretty young girl with
a spring in her step".
Mrs Barnard said, however, she did not realise at the time that what she saw on November 24, 1994 in the town was
She said she had driven past a white Toyota Hi Lux four-wheel-drive vehicle on 9pm and saw two athletic young men
standing at the rear.
"I am certain of the make of vehicle, because my husband had only recently died and he had a Toyota Hi Lux which he
used on our farm," Mrs Barnard said.
"I saw two figures standing at the rear. They were half turned towards each other and they were moving their arms
about in an animated fashion."
Further up the street she saw a young girl walking on the footpath carrying a shopping bag.
"I was drawn to her because she was so attractive," Mrs Barnard said. "She had a shopping bag and she was walking
with that spring in her step like the world was wonderful."
Mrs Barnard was not contacted by police at the time and she did not believe the information she had was sufficient
to contact them. It was not until officers from Strike Force Fenwick contacted her in January 1998 that she gave
her account. "I was aware a young lady had disappeared from the area, it was on the television and in the
newspapers ... I really didn't think that my information was significant," Mrs Barnard said.
Gordana's sister, Karolina Jagurinoski, told the inquest of a phone call she received from Gordana about two
weeks before she disappeared about a youth the family called "The Spook".
"Gordana said there was this fellow bothering her at work, hanging around and bugging her and she didn't like
him," Mrs Jagurinoski said. She revealed that Gordana quit her part-time job at a delicatessen because of
the youth's stalking. "She didn't know him. I think he just saw her at the deli once and got carried
away with her," she said.
Mrs Jagurinoski said she believed in her heart that the person stalking her sister had something to do with
her disappearance: "Gordana would never have gone with them willingly. She would have put up a fight."
The inquest continues today.
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