Murder mystery goes on after anonymous tip

By Corey Charlton of Hawkes Bay Today -
Phillip Cowan. File photo / Hawkes Bay Today
Phillip Cowan. File photo / Hawkes Bay Today

An anonymous phone call to the parents of a man thought to have been murdered in 2001 gave new information, but his body has still not been found.

But Philip Cowan of Napier is still missing after disappearing more than a decade ago on a trip to Wellington.

He had been a promising student at Victoria University's design school, but dropped out as he became involved in the drugs scene.

While his body was never found, three men were charged with being involved in his murder, but they were freed after their trial was aborted part-heard because of legal issues.

After Mr Cowan's family's hunt for the truth regarding Philip's disappearance featured in an episode of 60 Minutes in late 2011, his father Simon Cowan received an anonymous phone call.

"As a result of that we did get a phone call from an anonymous person which basically confirmed that the story, or the police scenario for lack of a better term, was accurate, and for us to find the body we needed to keep pursuing along the lines we were going."

The anonymous caller had also passed on a name that had not previously been linked to the investigation.

It was passed to police but that had so far not resulted in any major development in the case.

"We filed those with the police and there hasn't been any real change since then," he said.

Since the disappearance of his son, Mr Cowan believed more emphasis needed to be placed on victims throughout the judicial process. He is the founding chairman of the White Heart Victim's Remembrance Trust, an organisation dedicated to showing the effects of tragic events and crime on victims and their families, and how that loss could build a better future.

for more articles from this region, go to

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 21 Apr 2014 10:04:26 Processing Time: 797ms