• No one has been ruled out of Amber-Lee's disappearance
• But one person at top of suspect list
• He was 14 when the toddler vanished
• We tracked him down and asked him if he killed her

The day Amber-Lee Cruickshank went missing she was at Kingston with her family.

They were on their way to the West Coast to start a new life - away from the drugs, gangs and trouble they had been involved in until then.

They stopped in at the small town on the southern edge of Lake Wakatipu to see friends.


Hours later, Amber-Lee was gone.

No one has been arrested for Amber-Lee's disappearance.

But there is one person at the top of the suspect list, sources have confirmed.

He was 14 when Amber-Lee vanished, and police say he cannot be ruled out.

In episode five of Chasing Ghosts, a new podcast released by the Herald this week, we tracked him down and for the first time, he spoke about that day.

Damian Angus is now in his 40s, a father of three and living in Southland.


Chasing Ghosts


is a six-part podcast series examining the 25-year-old cold case.

Amber-Lee vanished on October 17, 1992 at Kingston.

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.

Chasing Ghosts is the first serialised podcast produced by NZME and was released this week.

Comprising of six episodes, it tells the story of Amber-Lee, what happened to her that day at Kingston and how her disappearance impacted on her family.

In episode five we explain why Angus is a suspect, why he cannot be ruled out - and what he has to say for himself about Amber-Lee.

Damian Angus has not been ruled out of the investigation into Amber-Lee's disappearance. Photograph / Facebook
Damian Angus has not been ruled out of the investigation into Amber-Lee's disappearance. Photograph / Facebook

He has been interviewed three times by police.

Each time he gave a different version of events as to his whereabouts at the time Amber-Lee disappeared.

When we spoke to him, he told an entirely different story.

You can listen to more of our encounter with Angus is episode five of the podcast.

You can listen the six-part series by clicking on the embedded audio files below. Alternatively you can listen on newstalkzb.co.nz,

iHeartRadio or download the episodes via iTunes.

Detective Sergeant John Kean said Angus was one of a few people of interest - but there was no evidence to support any theory that he had taken or harmed Amber-Lee at this stage.

"The difficulty is, he's been interviewed three times," he said.

"He's given explanations of his movements of that day and that have been checked or clarified as best can be.

"Yes they are different to some degree but that's where it sits.

"I just don't know if Damian's responsible or not."

Kean said until Amber-Lee was found, no one could be ruled out.

But some people, like Angus, were more under the spotlight than others.

Chasing Ghosts tells Amber-Lee's story in unflinching and enormous detail. It was researched and written by senior crime reporter Anna Leask.

Visual journalist Mike Scott did the field recording and produced the mini-documentary.

Leask said the project aims to bring fresh attention to case in the hope that someone comes forward with information that could help bring Amber-Lee home.

"At the very least, I wanted to make sure everyone knew about Amber-Lee and what happened to her, dispel some of the myths around the case and hopefully encourage the people with answers to come forward."

Amber-Lee Cruickshank as a baby. Photograph / Mike Scott
Amber-Lee Cruickshank as a baby. Photograph / Mike Scott

Leask And Scott had unprecedented access to Amber-Lee's mother, Nicola Cruickshank, and others closely connected to the case.

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.


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