Real Life

Where are they now: the lost ones

From health battles to missing persons, we update our biggest real-life stories of the year

Three distraught families hoped to find answers to the loss of their loved ones this year, making pleas for information through the Weekly.

When great-grandmother Audrey Gibson (82), known fondly as Nana G, went missing from her Hamilton flat, her four children, 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren searched for weeks. Sadly, her body was found in the Waikato River four months later.

Her daughter Susan oanga and granddaughter Anjula spoke out in the Weekly. “It was earth-shattering. No-one wants their loved ones to go like this,” says daughter Susan. “At least we got her back to give her a proper funeral with the dignity she deserved.”

In another missing case, grieving mum Tanya Lowry, of Christchurch, asked for information about her daughter Tisha (28). Unknown to Tanya, at that time, Tisha had already been murdered and her mutilated body was hidden under floorboards of neighbour Jason Somerville’s home, later dubbed The House of Horrors.

When her daughter’s body was found, Tanya bravely told us about her grief and how she’d put off her wedding because maid of honour, Tisha, couldn’t be there. Since then, Tanya has unveiled a headstone on Tisha’s grave, and finally married partner Dave Roberts. “It was a very special day for all of us,” she says.

“Tisha was certainly there in spirit.”

While Tisha’s killer has been brought to justice, teenager Tracey Ann Patient’s brutal murder remains unsolved, but far from forgotten.

Tracey was 13 when she was strangled and her body dumped in bush near West Auckland in 1976.

This year, her sister Debbie Patient, who moved to the UK with her parents after the murder, told the Weekly she’d been emailed by a woman claiming to know Tracey’s killer. Police are currently investigating the new lead and Debbie says she’s determined to not give up until her sister’s killer is found.

“on 29 January it will be 35 years since Tracey was murdered. I’m scared that if her murderer’s not caught, people won’t remember her,” she says. “I’ll do all I can to stop that happening.”

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