Mystery surrounds missing woman's death

By Rebecca Malcolm of the Daily Post -
June Sowerby. Photo / supplied
June Sowerby. Photo / supplied

A coroner has concluded a woman missing in Turangi for more than nine years is dead and probably died either the day she went missing or the day after.

But the cause of her death remains a mystery.

Palmerston North woman June Marion Sowerby has not been seen for more than nine years after she left a relative's Turangi home on Christmas Eve.

She never returned to the timeshare unit where she was staying and extensive searches have failed to find any sign of her either on land or in the nearby Tongariro River.

In his written findings, Coroner Dr Wallace Bain said having considered all the evidence relating to her disappearance, he concluded that Miss Sowerby was dead and died on either December 24 or December 25, 2003.

She was last seen on Christmas Eve when she left a relative's home and went to borrow an alarm clock so she would wake up in time to walk the Tongariro Crossing on Christmas Day 2003.

It was the last time she was seen. Her bank accounts and phone cards were never used again.

Despite a major search at the time of her disappearance and again in 2010, police have found no sign of her. Her family had not heard from her and despite a history of depression and anxiety there was nothing to indicate she had taken her own life.

At the inquest her nephew Mark Sowerby said he agreed with the court that there had either been foul play or she had simply gone missing.

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