Kath BERGAMIN

                  

                                                                                  Kath's mother, Margaret Russell, and brother Roger leave the Coroner's Court

                                                                                                    Picture: Bill McAuley

Kath BERGAMIN 

Age - 37 years

Occupation - Disability Worker

Caucasian, 175cm (five foot nine inches), 65kg, short fair hair and green eyes.

She was last seen wearing three-quarter length, red Adidas gym pants with white stripes, a white Tommy Girl t-shirt with a red and blue logo and a red-colored, hooded windcheater-type jacket.

Last seen Sunday August 18th 2002 at her home in Brien Crescent, Wangaratta, 7:15pm (near Wangaratta West Primary School)

Murder Search Expands
8 November 2002 - 2AY Albury

The search for the body of murdered Wangaratta woman, Kath Bergamin, is being expanded in the Cheshunt area, south of Wang, today.

Police believe Ms Bergamin was killed shortly after being taken from her Brien Crescent home on August 18.

Parts of the Cheshunt farm, where she lived before moving to Wang, were dug up a week ago, and two men were subsequently interviewed and released. Now the search is being expanded, using the Dog Squad, the Air Wing, the Mounted Patrol, and the S.E.S..

Murder Search continues

12 November 2002 - 2AY Albury

The search for the body of murdered Wangaratta woman, Kath Bergamin, has moved closer to the Rural City.

Police have searched the Cheshunt area, near Whitfield, on two occasions, and now they're concentrating on an area at Docker, near Moyhu.

Ms Bergamin formerly lived at Cheshunt, before moving to Wangaratta, from where she disappeared in mid-August.

Police search for missing woman, believed murdered
November 8 2002
By Liz Gooch - The Age

A search will begin this morning in bushland near Wangaratta for a woman who police believe was murdered when she disappeared nearly three months ago.

Wangaratta resident Kath Bergamin, 37, went missing from her home in Brien Crescent on August 18. She has not contacted friends or relatives, including her three children. She has not taken any personal items and her bank accounts have not been accessed.

Police said the case is now being treated as a murder inquiry.

Homicide Squad detectives will combine with local police, State Emergency Services, the police dog squad, air wing, mounted branch and search and rescue units in their hunt for the missing woman.

The search is expected to begin at about 10am and will focus on rugged bushland in Cheshunt South, south east of Wangaratta.

Search for Kath Bergamin becomes a Murder Investigation
Acting on information supplied to police, a line search was conducted last Friday covering the last 3.5 kilometres of Christophers Track, Cheshunt South. At 9.00 am, a massive turnout including the SES; the CFA; NRE; police air wing; the dog squad; search and rescue; the homicide squad; the mounted police and the catering section assembled at the Whitfield Picnic Park. It was going to be a long day.

After a briefing from the Homicidse Squad in the Rotunda, the convoy moved out to assemble in the State forest south of Cheshunt. As everyone geared up, the dog squad returned after being out for about four hours. Satelite communications were established and the search parties moved out to the very end of Christopher's Track. The mission was to search about 100 metres either side of the track over a 3.5 kilometre distance. The troops spread out and marched their way back towards the base camp. They did not veer off course - they went through blackberries and swamps - they checked hollow logs and tree forks - searching all the way. They were supported by the mounted police and the helicopter.

About a kilometre into the trek, there was the unmistakeable stench of a decaying carcase coming downwind. Everybody's heartbeat quickened with the dreaded thought of finding what they were looking for, the remains of Kath Bergamin. The search intensified until the source of the odour was found. It was not Kath ... it was the remains of a dingo or a wallaby. There were mixed emotions of relief and frustration with the realisation of the reality of the situation if her body was found. After a hearty lunch, the search continued with the target area completely covered by late afternoon. Nothing of significance was discovered. No doubt, the NRE Dog Man, David Klippel, will be keeping a keen eye out as he works his way through the wilderness.
  • Woman Missing Border Mail - 29 Aug 2002
  • Missing woman treated as murder by David Byrnes - Border Mail - 21 Oct 2002
  • New leads in murder case by David Byrnes - Border Mail - 04 Nov 2002
  • Search begins for mum's body by Mark Butler - Herald Sun - 8 Nov 2002
  • Police search for missing woman, believed murdered by Liz Gooch - The Age - 8 Nov 2002
  • Searching for a body by Jacki Schwind - The Chronicle - 8 Nov 2002
  • Vital links to murder found by Kristi Grant - Border Mail - 09 Nov 2002
  • Hunt for murder victim to continue - Border Mail - 11 Nov 2002
  • River Search by Jacki Schwind - The Chronicle - 13 Nov 2002
  •  - King Valley Community Profile, 31 October 2002



    Wangaratta women missing
    Wednesday, 28 August 2002 - Wangaratta Chronicle

    CONCERNS are held for a 37 year old Wangaratta woman, missing since Sunday, August 18.

    Police are concerned for the welfare of disability carer, Kath Bergamin, last spoken to by a friend at about 7.15pm on that day.

    Ms Bergamin has not contacted friends or relatives or returned home which is considered to be out of character.

    On Saturday, August 24, police and State Emergency Service volunteers searched a Cheshunt farm but the search did not reveal any information which may locate Ms Bergamin.

    Police are seeking public assistance in tracing Ms Bergamin's movements.

    They are also interested in speaking to anybody who may have seen any activity in the Brien Crescent area, near the Wangaratta West Primary School, between 6pm and midnight on Sunday, August 18.

    Ms Bergamin is described as Caucasian, 175cm (five foot nine inches), 65kg, short fair hair and green eyes.

    She was last seen wearing three-quarter length, red Adidas gym pants with white stripes, a white Tommy Girl t-shirt with a red and blue logo and a red-colored, hooded windcheater-type jacket.

    Anyone who may have sighted Ms Bergamin, know of her whereabouts or have information which may assist police should contact Wangaratta police station on 03 57230888 or Crime Stoppers, 1800 333000

    Reward may be next in mystery - The Border Mail


    INVESTIGATORS from the Victorian police homicide squad missing person unit are considering making an application for a reward for information about the disappearance of Wangaratta woman Kath Bergamin.

    It could take some time for the approval of a reward.

    A report on the case has to be prepared and submitted for consideration by the appropriate authorities.

    But investigators are hopeful that a reward would prompt someone sitting on information or reluctant to contact police to come forward.

    Mrs Bergamin, 37, disappeared on August 18, 2002.

    Police believe she was forcibly taken from her Brien Crescent home in Wangaratta.

    Her disappearance was treated as suspicious immediately because she took no personal belongings and has not accessed her bank account or contacted family or friends since.

    Since her disappearance, homicide squad detectives have searched a Cheshunt farm and bushland at Cheshunt South for her body.

    Divers have also searched the King River near Docker but have not found her body.

    Victoria police were successful in an application for compulsory DNA testing on two people thought to be connected to her disappearance.

    The application was granted after tests on duct tape taken from the home of Mrs Bergamin soon after her August 18 disappearance returned positive results for human DNA.

    Detectives have not found anything conclusive.


    Fate of sister ‘will be solved’
    BY MARK MULCAHY - The Border Mail

    THE brother of missing Wangaratta woman Kath Bergamin is optimistic that police will eventually discover what happened to his sister.

    Roger Russell yesterday described the disappearance of Kath Bergamin in 2002 as “a complete disaster” and a tragedy for the family.

    Mr Russell, 43, said he was aware that it could be considerable time before full details of what happened to his sister could be revealed.

    John Bergamin, 45, of Cheshunt, was arrested by police from Melbourne’s homicide squad on Friday and charged with his wife’s murder.

    He made a brief appearance in Myrtleford Court about 2.30pm.

    He was flanked by two uniformed police and three detectives when escorted to court from the Myrtleford police station.

    There was no application for bail and the case was adjourned to Wangaratta Court on August 3.

    Mrs Bergamin, 37, disappeared on August 18, 2002.

    Police believe she was forcibly taken from her Brien Crescent home at Wangaratta.

    Her disappearance was immediately treated as suspicious because she took no personal belongings and has not accessed her bank account or contacted family or friends since.

    Since her disappearance, homicide squad detectives have searched a Cheshunt farm and bushland at Cheshunt South for her body.

    Divers have also searched the King River near Docker, but have not found her body.

    Police from the homicide squad missing persons unit said recently they were considering making an application for a reward relating to Mrs Bergamin’s disappearance.

    “The whole thing has been a terrible tragedy,” Mr Russell said.

    “We will be happy to see it resolved.

    “We have been waiting for something to happen.”

    Mr Russell said he believed it was going to take ages for the matter to be finalised.

    “Hopefully the court process will reveal what has happened,” he said.

    Mr Russell said his sister was two years younger than him.

    Since the disappearance, Mrs Bergamin’s mother has left the Wangaratta area.

    Missing woman's brother pleas for more information
    Posted Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:23pm AEST - ABC

    The brother of a woman from Wangaratta, in north-east Victoria, who has been missing for five years, says there are people who are withholding information about her disappearance.

    Police are investigating an anonymous tip-off about Kath Bergamin's disappearance from her home in August 2001.

    They say they need the person to contact them again to help the investigation.

    Ms Bergamin's brother, Roger Russell, says his family is very grateful to the person who came forward.

    "Everybody knows how important a helping hand is during your darkest hour and that is how we regard the call with information, as giving my sister a real ... hand up," he said.

    "It does take courage to come forward, but we're hoping that they'll realise it's the right thing to do and come forward with some information that may help solve the case."

    New lead on missing Wangaratta woman
    Posted Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:24am AEST - ABC

    Police are investigating new information about the disappearance of Wangaratta woman, Kath Bergamin.

    The mother of three disappeared from her Brien Crescent home five years ago.

    Detective Senior Constable, Damian Jackson, says an anonymous person recently contacted police with details about her disappearance.

    He says the coronial inquest that is underway has been adjourned until later next month while homicide detectives investigate the new lead.

    "I can say that we have received anonymous information and we're wishing to follow up inquiries in relation to it," he said.

    "At this stage, it has to be further investigated before we can make a decision as to its value," Detective Jackson said.

    Inquest won't hear evidence from missing woman's husband, son
    Posted Thu Aug 2, 2007 2:30pm AEST - ABC

    The husband and son of missing woman Kath Bergamin, from Wangaratta in north-east Victoria, will not give evidence to the coroners court.

    Counsel for John Bergamin and his eldest son Steven had requested that they be excused from testifying at the coronial inquest into Kath Bergamin's disappearance.

    Ms Bergamin went missing from her Wangaratta home five years ago.

    Coroner Peter White said John and Steven Bergamin would risk incriminating themselves if they gave evidence to the inquiry.

    Both are persons of interest in a homicide investigation.

    John Bergamin has previously been charged with his wife's murder, but the charged was dropped earlier this year.

    Bergamin inquest hears harassment claims
    Posted Tue Aug 7, 2007 2:10pm AEST - ABC

    The former boyfriend of a missing woman from Wangaratta, in north-east Victoria, has told the coroners court he was being harassed by her estranged husband.

    John Houghton says he became very good friends with Kath Bergamin when she separated from her husband John Bergamin in mid-2002.

    They saw each other casually, but Mr Houghton says Ms Bergamin wanted more than he did.

    Mr Houghton told the court Mr Bergamin called him about five times a day asking where his wife was.

    He says it was common knowledge that John Bergamin had threatened to "take care" of anyone who started going out with his wife.

    Mr Houghton says the calls stopped on the weekend Ms Bergamin went missing in August 2002.

    His testimony will continue this afternoon.

    Open verdict in case of missing woman

    June 4, 2008 - 1:20PM - SMH

    An open verdict has been delivered in the inquest into missing Victorian woman Kath Bergamin.

    A mother of three, Ms Bergamin, 37, disappeared from her Wangaratta home on the evening of August 18, 2002.

    In the Victorian Coroner's Court on Wednesday, coroner Peter White found Ms Bergamin was killed by an unknown person or persons.

    He said after considering evidence from family and friends, much of it unreliable, he found Ms Bergamin was taken from her home on the night of her disappearance and killed soon after.

    Her remains have never been found.

    Mystery disappearance declared murder

    June 04, 2008 05:09pm

    Article from: AAP

     

    A CORONER has found Victorian mother of three Kath Bergamin was murdered, but her killer is unknown and her remains have never been found.

    Ms Bergamin, 37, disappeared from her Wangaratta home on the evening of August 18, 2002.

    In the Victorian Coroner's Court today Coroner Peter White found Ms Bergamin was killed by an unknown person or persons.

    Delivering his findings at the conclusion of the inquest today, Mr White said Ms Bergamin had split from her husband, John Bergamin, in the year before her death and moved off their farm.

    Mr White said evidence showed Ms Bergamin had suffered depression during the last few years of her life and had told various friends she wanted to leave her husband.

    She told people her husband had told her "she would never make it off the farm alive".

    Mr White said evidence showed Ms Bergamin disappeared from her Wangaratta home some time between 7.26pm and 11.15pm on August 18, 2002.

    "Thereafter, at an unknown time and at an unknown place, she was unlawfully killed following which a person or persons who were seeking by their acts to avoid detection, secretly deposited her remains in a still unknown location," Mr White said in his findings.

    "There is insufficient evidence before this inquest to establish which person or persons were responsible for the unlawful killing of Kath Bergamin."

    Mr White said a fire on the Bergamin family farm the morning after Ms Bergamin's disappearance, was suspicious.

    The fire was started in a farm shed, and the shed and a car owned by Ms Bergamin's son Stephen, was destroyed.

    Mr White said he was "satisfied that John Bergamin was a party to the starting of that fire and that he left the scene ... intending to distance himself from that action".

    He also found Stephen Bergamin was aware someone intended to destroy the vehicle and that he condoned the act.

    In his conclusion, Mr White praised the police investigation into Ms Bergamin's disappearance and encouraged them to continue trying to find her killer.

    Speaking to reporters after the decision, Mr Bergamin's lawyer Philip Dunne, QC, said: "He believes strongly that he's innocent and he believes there are other people who know exactly what happened and they haven't come forward for a very good reason and he hopes the police keep on digging."

    Ms Bergamin's brother Roger Russell said the coroner delivered the best verdict he could, considering the evidence in front of him.

    "We listened to the case for ten days in Wangaratta, and the credibility of some of the witnesses was so dubious I think several weren't very forthright with the truth," Mr Russell said.

    "We have our own theories on the matter and it all seems pretty obvious what's happened, there's been a lack of evidence but that evidence is missing because it's been deliberately destroyed or obscured."

    Mr Russell said the family was still pleading with anyone who had information about his sister's death to come forward.

    Victorian Police offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Ms Bergamin's killer.

     

    Family hopeful mystery disappearance will be solved

    Posted Wed Jun 4, 2008 2:14pm AEST - ABC
     

    A Victorian Coroner has delivered an open finding in the case of a Wangaratta woman who disappeared six years ago.

    Kath Bergamin was last seen at her Wangaratta home in August 2002 and her body has never been found.

    A Coroner's Inquest heard she left her husband John Bergamin that year, and that he had been making threats against her.

    The Court heard he was charged with her murder in 2006, but the charges were dropped.

    Today the Coroner, Peter White, found that it was likely the mother of three had been abducted and murdered, but said he could not name her killer.

    The Coroner also said that while John Bergamin had deliberately set his car on fire the day after his estranged wife's disappearance, there was not enough evidence to link the two events.

    Outside court Kath Bergamin's brother Roger Russell appealed for more information.

    "I would like to say to anyone who knows anything that hasn't come forward yet, we'd greatly appreciate them coming forward with anything that could help the case," he said.

    The Coroner has suggested a reward be offered for any information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

    Philip Dunn QC, representing John Bergamin, says his client is hoping someone will come forward.

    "John Bergamin believes that there are people in Wangaratta who know a lot more about the disappearance of Kath than they've told police," he said.

    "He wishes they'd come forward. He hopes the police keeps on digging."

    Mr Russell says he is hopeful the case will one day be solved.

    "We believe our sister is deceased and there was foul play," he said.

    "There's a complete lack of evidence and she just disappeared. I believe there will be a resolution, it could take a long time.

    "These cases, you often see them pop up again after ten years or so, so we believe people know what's happened, and consciousness eventually will come to the forefront, and we believe the case will be solved."

    Police say a $100,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to a conviction.

    Mother abducted and murdered, says coroner

    A Victorian coroner today ruled that a Wangaratta mother-of-three who has been missing for five years was abducted and murdered, but said he could not name her killer.

    Kath Bergamin disappeared from her Brien Crescent home on the evening of August 18, 2002. There has been no trace of her since.

    Her estranged husband, John Bergamin, was charged with her murder in 2006 but the case against him was dropped due to lack of evidence.

    Coroner Peter White today found Mrs Bergamin had been forced from her rented home, killed and her body dumped in a secret location.

    But he said there was insufficient evidence to conclude who was responsible.

    Mr White said a number of witnesses who gave evidence during the inquest into Mrs Bergamin's  fate had been unreliable, including her two youngest children.

    Her eldest son, Steven Bergamin, and his father successfully applied not to give evidence on the grounds that it could incriminate them.

    Mr White described the couple's marriage as "deeply troubled" and said Mr Bergamin had intimidated his wife into remaining in the relationship, which led to her suffering depression and attempting suicide.

    The court heard Mr Bergamin had threatened his wife with guns and said she would never walk away from the family farm alive.

    Mr White said Mrs Bergamin had left the relationship in "extremely difficult circumstances" and her estranged husband had embarked on a campaign to "put further pressure upon her," which intensified when he discovered she had been seeing other men.

    The court heard that Mrs Bergamin had instructed a solicitor two days before her disappearance to pursue a property settlement and maintenance payments from Mr Bergamin.

    Mr White found that Mrs Bergamin had "no desire to leave Wangaratta or (any) intention to end her own life".

    Mr White today said he believed the day after Mrs Bergamin's disappearance, her estranged husband had deliberately started a fire that damaged a shed and a car owned by her, which she had given to her son Steven.

    He found Steven Bergamin had known his car would be destroyed and the same day went to a car showroom to purchase a new vehicle.

    Outside court, Mrs Bergamin's brother, Roger Russell, who attended the inquest with family members including his mother, said he believed his sister had been murdered.

    "The fact there is no direct evidence clarifies that in our mind, that there was foul play because there's a complete lack of evidence and she just totally disappeared," he said.

    Mr Russell said it was "pretty obvious" what had happened but because evidence had been destroyed the coroner's finding was the only one available to him.

    "The finding was consistent with the evidence the coroner had put before him ... the credibility of some of the witnesses was very dubious ... and people weren't t very forthright with the truth," Mr Russell said.

    Mr Russell said he believed the case would one day be solved when people who knew the truth came forward.

    Philip Dunn, QC, who represented John Bergamin at the inquest, said outside court his client maintained his innocence.

    "John Bergamin believes that there are people in Wangaratta who know a lot more about the disappearance of Kath then they've told the police and he wishes they'd come forward," Mr Dunn said.

    "He believes strongly that he's innocent and he believes there are other people who know exactly what happened and they haven't come forward for very good reason and he hopes the police keep digging."

    A reward of up to $100,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and subsequent conviction of anyone responsible for Mrs Bergamin's  death.

    "Anyone who knows anything that hasn't come forward yet we'd greatly appreciate them coming forward with anything that could help the case," Mr Russell said.

    Any person with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.