Can you help bring Amber-Lee home?

Police investigating the 25-year-old disappearance of toddler Amber-Lee Cruickshank are pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

They believe one or more people out there know what happened to the 2-and-a-half-year-old who was last seen at Kingston in October 1992, and have kept it secret for a quarter of a century.

But now, they say, it's time to put an end to one of the country's most enduring cold cases.

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The renewed push for information about Amber-Lee comes after the Herald launched Chasing Ghosts, a six-part podcast series, news feature and mini-documentary about her disappearance and the aftermath.

Amber-Lee vanished on October 17, 1992 at Kingston, a small town at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu.

She was there with her mother Nicola Cruickshank, stepfather James Gill and baby brother Danny.

Despite exhaustive searches of the lake, town and surrounding bush, there has never been any sign of Amber-Lee.

Amber-Lee Cruickshank went missing at Lake Wakatipu in 1992. There has been no sign of her since. Photograph supplied
Amber-Lee Cruickshank went missing at Lake Wakatipu in 1992. There has been no sign of her since. Photograph supplied

Detective Sergeant John Kean said he had received a number of calls from the public after Chasing Ghosts was launched.

The calls had given him information to follow up but there was still no firm answer as to what happened to Amber-Lee.

"We've got bits and pieces, but I haven't had the magical call yet," he said.

"We're just working through what we've got, calling people back."

Kean encouraged anyone with information to come forward, either to police or through the anonymous crime reporting line Crimestoppers.

"The public hold the key," he said.

"Someone out there must know. I know they know, I just don't know who.

"They have to come forward to the police.

"I'm not sure how anybody could live with that for 25 years and know what they know."

Detective Sergeant John Kean is the current head of Operation Oliver, the search for Amber-Lee Cruickshank. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott
Detective Sergeant John Kean is the current head of Operation Oliver, the search for Amber-Lee Cruickshank. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott

Chasing Ghosts was researched and written by senior crime reporter Anna Leask.
Visual journalist Mike Scott did the field recording and produced the mini-documentary.

It traverses what likely happened to Amber-Lee at Kingston, and who could be responsible as well as her mother's tumultuous life and the impact the toddler's disappearance has had on her wider family.

Leask and Scott had unprecedented access to Amber-Lee's mother, Nicola Cruickshank, and others closely connected to the case, including both police officers who have led the investigation.

They also spoke, for the first time, to the people considered of interest to police.

Lake Wakatipu in the morning gloom as seen from Kingston. Amber-Lee Cruickshank, 2, disappeared near this exact spot in October 1992. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott
Lake Wakatipu in the morning gloom as seen from Kingston. Amber-Lee Cruickshank, 2, disappeared near this exact spot in October 1992. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott

Chasing Ghosts tells Amber-Lee's story in unflinching and enormous detail.

You can listen to the six-part podcast on nzherald.co.nz, newstalkzb.co.nz, iHeartRadio, or iTunes.

Chasing Ghosts is the Herald's first serialised podcast.

Can you help bring Amber-Lee home?

If you know what happened to Amber-Lee, or have information you have never shared with police that could help the investigation - please come forward.

Contact Detective Sergeant John Kean at the Invercargill police on 021 191 5321 or email
john.kean@police.govt.nz.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or fill out their online form here.

This service is completely confidential and you do not have to reveal your identity. Police have no way of tracing who passes on tips to Crimestoppers.

You can also email anna.leask@nzherald.co.nz.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE:
• iHeart Radio https://www.iheart.com/podcast/211-Chasing-Ghosts-28579572/
• iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/chasing-ghosts/id1299949050?mt=2