1998 Flashback: Teenage dreams cut short in K Rd

By Naomi Larkin, Tony Wall

In 1998, the Herald published a look back at the case of Jayne Furlong, who disappeared from Karangahape Rd in 1993. This week, a body found at Port Waikato was identified as Furlong. Here is how Herald writers saw the case then:

In bold blue lettering on the inside of her 1992 diary, 17-year-old Jayne Furlong wrote a saying typical of the type teenagers cling to in moments of despair.

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams lie, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly."

Sadly the diary - one of several she diligently kept during her teens - reveals a life of unrealised dreams.

It is five years since the prostitute disappeared outside Rendells department store in Karangahape Rd, Auckland.

While she is still officially listed as a missing person, police have accepted that Jayne Furlong was the victim of foul play. Her body has never been found.

The diaries tell of a teenager - caught up in a world of alcohol, drugs, prescription pills and petty crime - who desperately wanted to be loved.

A diary entry just days before she vanished said: "I've tried to be good and nice to everyone.

I've never screwed anyone around, yet everyone dumps on me. Why can't I be loved?"

Detective Inspector Steve Shortland says the police still have no firm leads on what happened.

"We have followed what we thought were a number of promising leads, but so far they have come to nothing."

"We have looked at a large number of sexual deviants attacking prostitutes in K Rd. We believe most of these people aren't involved, but we can't categorically exclude them from the inquiry.

"Over time, relationships and loyalties change. Hopefully when they do, people will come forward and talk to us."

At the time of her disappearance, Jayne Furlong was involved in three serious court cases, he said.

She was a witness to a vicious assault in K Rd; a witness and a complainant in an incident where a cross-bow had been fired; and she was involved in the trial of Stephen Collie.

Stephen Collie, an Auckland businessman, was jailed for 16 years in 1993 following a string of violent sexual attacks on eight women, most of them prostitutes. Jayne Furlong was to testify at the trial.

Mr Shortland says she was involved in a "risky occupation" and the circumstances under which she disappeared indicate foul play.

Jayne Furlong was born on September 23, 1975 to Judith and Michael Furlong. Her brother Mark was born less than a year later.

Her parents separated and Jayne Furlong lived with her mother until she was 6. Unable to care for her, her mother placed her in the care of the Dingwall Family Home in Papatoetoe.

At the age of 9 she moved to foster parents arranged by the Dingwall Trust Child and Family Support Service, which oversaw her care until she left school.

The organisation's reports detail a troubled girlhood - abusive behaviour, difficulties with authority figures, running away and shoplifting. But they also praise her independence, determination and intelligence.

While a boarder at Whangarei Girls' High School, she was placed in the top stream of a class which staff said was one of he best in the school's history.

In 1990, Jayne Furlong moved back with her mother in Auckland and attended Penrose High School.

Amanda (who does not want her last name used) first met Jayne when both were in the fifth form at Penrose.

"I didn't like Jayne at first, to tell you the truth. I thought she was too intelligent for our group."

But the pair became best friends. Both were aged 15 when they first got involved in prostitution. Amanda says Jayne excitedly came up to her one day with $50 in her hand, saying she had been offered it for a sexual act on the way home.

Unused to having so much cash, they went to K Rd "to have a look" and ended up staying.

Amanda says that while Jane was bright, she was also staunch and would not let anyone give her aggravation. She was often involved in fights.

"Me and her had a few good ones ourselves - I've worn a few black eyes from her."

They became close friends with another young prostitute, Natacha Hogan, known as Twiggy.

Twiggy was raped and murdered in October 1996 in the cemetery on the corner of Symonds St and K Rd. Last September, Mangere labourer Hayden Poulter, aged 36, pleaded guilty to her killing and the deaths a week later of two other sex workers.

Jayne Furlong worked the streets most days in the two years before her disappearance.

She diaried each day's earnings, which ranged from $50 to $250.

During this period she began a relationship with Daniel (Dani) Norsworthy.

The couple had a child, Aiden, who was just 5 months old when Jayne Furlong disappeared. He now lives with Dani's parents.

The relationship was tumultous. She wrote of regular fist fights and arguments.

The couple's days would consist of sleeping in late, meeting friends, buying alcohol, smoking marijuana or popping pills (a pill originally designed to help epileptics was Jayne's favourite, along with bourbon and whiskey).

There were regular court appearances involved disorderly behaviour, traffic offence and soliciting.

In the evening Jayne and Amanda would go to work and Mr Norsworthy would hang around with friends while loosely keeping an eye on the pair to make sure they were safe.

May 26, 1993, was no different. The trio shared a taxi from their homes in Onehunga, arriving at their regular Rendells spot around 8pm.

Mr Norsworthy left the two women and Amanda went with a client. When she returned, about 30 minutes later, her tiny 1.5m, red-haired friend had disappeared for good.

Amanda says that even after five years she is not ready for Jayne's body to be found.

"I still have hope that she's alive."

- NZ Herald

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