Witness hypnosis called for in lost girl case
By Greg Wendt -
November 6 2002
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 relevant.
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.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/05/1036308311821.html
Thursday, March 6, 2003. Posted: 08:40:15 (AEDT) - SMH
Police search for man named at Kotevski inquest
Police are trying to locate a man named as a
person of interest during the inquest into the
abduction and presumed murder of 16-year-old Gordana
Kotevski at Charlestown, near Newcastle, in 1994.
NSW family wants cold case re-opened
Posted- December 1st 2008 - ABC
The sister of a missing Newcastle woman is calling on the New South Wales Unsolved Homicide Unit to examine the case of 16-year-old Gordana Kotevski.
Ms Kotevski vanished while walking to her aunt's house at Charlestown, in the state's Hunter region, in November 1994.
Her aunt said she heard a scream and saw a white Toyota Hilux speeding from the scene.
That information is still the only lead for police from Strikeforce Fenwick who worked on the case at the time.
A $100,000 reward was posted but the case remains one of the Hunter Valley's most baffling missing persons cases.
Ms Kotevski's sister Karol Jag is now calling for the Unsolved Homicide Unit to get involved.
She says the case might need a fresh look from another perspective.
"As a family you want to have tried everything," she said.
"The years go by and when things like this are available you want the best to have had a chance to give you some answers and closure."
But Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey says his team cannot intervene without new evidence or a directive from the State Crime Command.
"All active avenues of investigation have been followed so now it's up to the public," he said.
Anyone with new information is being urged to contact police on 1800 333 000.
Fresh lead in Kotevski abduction
February 26, 2009 06:32am
POLICE have reactivated an investigation into the 1994 abduction and murder of Newcastle teenager Gordana Kotevski, with the unsolved homicide team receiving fresh information about the case.
The 16-year-old Cardiff girl was forced into a car on Powell St, Charlestown, on the night of November 24, 1994, while walking home from the local shopping centre with her aunt.
While her body has never been found, a 2003 coronial inquest declared the teenager was dead.
Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Russell Oxford, said police had reactivated the investigation after being given fresh information about the abduction.
"Investigations such as this are never closed and information relating to unsolved homicides is regularly forthcoming from members of the public and other sources," he said.
"Obviously, we cannot comment on the precise nature or source of the new information for operational reasons.
"However, last year's formation of specialised Unsolved Homicide Teams has increased the capacity of the NSW Police Force to provide an effective ongoing response to such matters."
Det Super Oxford said the scene of Gordana's abduction has been forensically re-examined, while new forensic and fingerprint identification technology will be used in the new investigation.
Police believe at least two people were involved in Gordana's abduction, and hope someone in the Newcastle community knows who they are.
Police have urged anyone with information about the abduction to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, they said.
Police re-open case after fingerprint find
Updated - ABC
New South Wales Police say the detection of new evidence in the case of a missing Newcastle teenager has strengthened their resolve to solve the case.
Gordana Kotevski, 16, vanished at Charlestown in 1994.
A partial finger print was recently detected on a shopping bag found at the scene, prompting police to reactivate the case.
Inspector Graeme Parker says detectives are determined to put the matter to rest.
"We would like nothing more than to give the family closure. We really would," he said.
"This is something that... has affected the investigators very deeply.
"I'm not trying to down-play the family, there couldn't be any more misery than the family goes through after an event like this, but as I said the investigators themselves that get tied up in long protracted investigations hold a vested interest."
Detective Senior Sergeant George Radmore has been attached to the Kotevski case since 1998 and says Gordana may have been targeted by two people she knew.
"The abduction itself would have been premeditated, whether or not Gordana was the intended target or just at the wrong place at the wrong time is still under investigation," he said.
Gordana's mother Peggy Kotevski says she has nothing but praise for the detectives who have worked tirelessly on her daughter's case.
"The guys that I have been involved with and have been part of the investigation, they become part of the family and they were quite supportive," she said.
"In the beginning there was a bit of a rough trot but once we established what we established, what we were all about and what, [our] goal was to find Gordana which ever way."
Police close missing schoolgirl cold case
Eight months after reopening the investigation into a missing Newcastle schoolgirl, the Unsolved Homicide Squad has conceded it does not have enough evidence to take the matter further.
It is nearly 15 years since Gordana Kotevski vanished while walking home from a Charlestown shopping centre.
Her disappearance has baffled police, with the only solid lead being a four-wheel drive seen leaving the area.
In February this year, cold case detectives said there was a breakthrough, with a partial fingerprint found on a shopping bag sent away for more advanced forensic testing.
Police also said they had identified possible suspects after receiving new leads.
But the new information has lead nowhere and police are now winding up the investigation.
Some of the detectives have been attached to the case since Gordana vanished and say even though the trail has gone cold, the case will be reopened if there is new information