New information in disappearance of Pennington mum, Karen Morton, and “Harry” Houston, of Whyalla
POLICE are steadily unravelling the mystery disappearance and possible murder of two people after linking them to a Whyalla man who is a suspect in at least one of the cold cases.
Operation Persist investigators say they have connected one suspect to the 2009 disappearance of Henry “Harry” Houston, of Whyalla, and that of Pennington mother-of-two, Karen Morton, 35, who vanished seven years earlier.
Police have established that the suspect in the Houston case once lived at a Pennington address with Ms Morton, who was reported missing in April 2002.
Neither missing person knew the other but both were closely associated with the Whyalla man, police say.
“While Ms Morton’s link with her former housemate is of interest to police, we have an open mind about who was involved in her disappearance and presumed murder,” Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.
The Major Crime Investigation Branch is leading the operation.
Ms Morton was last seen by her father on February 9, 2002, but the last confirmed sighting of her was on April 5, 2002, when she visited her doctor.
An insulin-dependent diabetic who was addicted to heroin, Ms Morton frequented Adelaide’s western suburbs and sometimes engaged in sex work to fund her drug habit.
Mr Houston also had a history with illegal drugs and would make a daily visit at Whyalla’s Westlands Shopping Centre to collect methadone from the Monarch Pharmacy, which he did at 9am on October, 30, 2009.
At midday the same day, he visited a female friend in Whyalla and after
leaving her home about 12.30pm he vanished.
His distinctive red Toyota 4Runner was seen 30 minutes later parked in the driveway of the suspect’s home.
Det-Supt Bray said that man later told police Mr Houston had sold him the vehicle but the mystery continues.
“We never close unsolved major crime cases in South Australia and since renewed police and media attention regarding these cases last year, there have been 11 reports to Crime Stoppers,” Det-Supt Bray said.
“We know that one simple piece of information can be all it takes to put a killer in jail and bring some justice to the families of those who are missing.’’
Some people are withholding information that could give police critical facts needed to solve both cold cases and ease the pain for the grieving families involved, Det-Supt Bray said
“These families deserve some answers and I would urge those holding on to that information to examine their consciences,’’ he said.
“Information, such as where we can find Harry and Karen, can be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers.
“Rewards of $200,000 are available for anyone with information leading to either a conviction or recovery of the remains in both of these cases.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or on the Crime Stoppers website.