‘We never give up on missing’

THE families and friends of Helen Karipidis, James Howe, Kevin McCurry and Qing Chen continue to live with the uncertainty and unresolved grief of not knowing the fate of their loved ones.

National Missing Persons Week kicked off on Monday and while most people reported missing are found within the first 24-hours, the whereabouts of all four remain a mystery, including Helen who was nine-years-old when she vanished after playing handball with friends in a Marrickville playground on December 22, 1988.
Mr McCurry was 34 and living in Petersham when he disappeared after running through the Park Inn Hotel (now Centennial) in Woollahra on January 23, 1969; Mr Howe was last seen at a bus stop in Ashfield on March 27, 1987, after being dropped off by a workmate to catch a bus home to Leichhardt; while Mr Chen left his Dulwich Hill unit at 11am on October 24, 2000, and made a call to a friend at 1pm from Chinatown but hasn’t been heard from since, with his car found in the Star City Casino car park three days later.
Police Minister David Elliott said that with every person reported missing, there were family and friends that “need to know that police will never cease in their attempt to locate their loved ones”.
The State’s Missing Persons Registry, which is part of the NSW Police Force’s State Crime Command and includes seven detectives and four analysts, has spent the past year digitising 57 years of missing persons’ records.
State Crime Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, describe the digitisation process, which comprised 769 physical files and data related to 275 unidentified human remains, as “a huge – and urgent -task”.
“But the hard work paid off with the Registry’s subsequent case reviews leading to the location of 57 long-term missing people,” he said.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has also launched the country’s first National DNA Program to allow the advanced DNA profiling for the first time.