Thirteen years on

Thirteen years ago today Amber Haigh disappeared and this week her mother was told all avenues of investigation had been exhausted.

This isn’t news to most people - except Rosalind Wright (right) - who still clung to hope.

Strike that. Still clings to hope.

She thinks she’s the only one who cares about what happened to her daughter.

“What do I do now? Do they get away with it? Is that what happens? They just walk away when everywhere I go I’m wondering where her body is?” she sobbed.

Detective Inspector Paul Huxtable of Cootamundra Local Area Command broke the news to Rosalind.

He said not a single lead or shred of evidence remains on the case that has baffled and frustrated police since June 5, 2002 when the 19-year-old mother-of-one was dropped off at Campbelltown Railway Station and never heard from again.

“It is still an active case - it hasn’t been boxed up and sealed and put away,” he said, “we just cannot identify any avenue that hasn’t been driven down,” he told The Witness.

“I told Rosalind the only hope is that someone has a pang of consciousness - who maybe saw something - but, failing that I don’t know what we can do,” he said.

He said if there is one case he would dearly like to see come to a resolution - it is this one.

The case that first came to light in June 2002 was subject to an intense police investigation and returned an open finding at a coronial inquest in 2011.

It is now in the hands of the State Crime Command’s unsolved homicide squad headed up by Detective Inspector John Leaman who told The Witness this week it sits among a file of many unsolved cases.

“Normally we give the case time to settle - in theory when it first comes to us it is completely exhausted - everything that needs to be done has been done,” he said.

At certain points it time, he added, the case will come up for review to determine if there is any new information or evidence not previously available which might have trickled through from Crime Stoppers or police.

“This is an important case but I cannot tell you where it is at the moment,” he said, “it’s important for the family to know what happened - this case certainly isn’t closed - we need to let them know.”

The dedicated unit has managed to solve 16 cases since it was first established in 2008.

“The figures are constant - we’re solving an average of two cases each year and people have to remember this process we go through is typically protracted involving a huge amount of effort and resource.”

But this offers little solace to Rosalind.

“Everyone who was on the case has retired or taken off somewhere else,” Rosalind said, “there’s only me left.”

“I just feel so sad and helpless - I can’t do anything, not a thing.

“And what makes it worse is that people say to me, “it’s been a while get over it,” but how can I do that - how does a mother get over something like that?”

“The feeling of losing someone never leaves. There is this constant feeling of helplessness, the sleepless nights not knowing what happened, wondering where she ended up, what the last minutes of her life were… it takes a part of you away.”

“I thank and always will appreciate everything the police have done and all the support that was given to me by them - particularly the officers I dealt with - Gai Crea and David Cockram - they have been there with me the whole way,” she said.

Rosalind said that while she knows they have done everything in their power to find Amber she hopes one day someone will come forward with information.

“It doesn’t matter how little it is - it might just be the key to finding her - that’s all I want,” she said.


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