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Teen hitched a ride, never came home

Kerry Turner, 18, was murdered after hitching a ride on June 30, 1991 after a night socialising in Perth. Source: Community Newspapers/Eastern Reporter

KERRY Turner was going to come home for dinner that Saturday night but changed her plans at the last minute go clubbing with her best mate Kylie.

It was a spur of the moment decision, made 25 years ago to the day today that would result in one of the nation’s most baffling unsolved murders.

On that June 30 night in 1991, the teenagers ended up at Perth CBD nightspot Pinocchio’s but were separated once inside.

Kerry, 18, didn’t have enough money to take a taxi all the way home to Bickley so the cabbie dropped her outside an all-night cafe in East Victoria Park.

She was stranded and alone with no way to get home. Minutes later, she was walking across Shepperton Road when a car sped up and stopped behind her.

“The person in the car called out and Kerry turned around and walked back to the car, spoke to the person, and then got in the car and left and that was the last time she was seen alive that we know of,” John Turner, Kerry’s father, told Radio 6PR.

Police hunted for the vehicle, described by witnesses as a dark blue car, similar to a Datsun 260C, which had spoked wheels, but came up empty-handed.

It was one of the few leads they had into Kerry’s disappearance.

Double tragedy: Sue and John Turner, the parents of murdered Kerry Turner, had an 18-year-old son who was killed six years earlier. Source: Community Newspapers/Eastern Reporter

Double tragedy: Sue and John Turner, the parents of murdered Kerry Turner, had an 18-year-old son who was killed six years earlier. Source: Community Newspapers/Eastern ReporterSource:Supplied

“It’s just mystifying that she would be so positively walking around the back of the car and getting in (unless she knew the person),” Mr Turner said.

“She never came home, you can imagine how that was for us. We think about this every single day, in some way or another we remember our daughter, so it’s always fresh.

“We miss Kerry so much, her tragic loss has left a gaping hole in our family of missing grandchildren, possibly even great-grandchildren.”

Four weeks after she disappeared, Kerry’s body was found in bushland near Canning Dam, some 40km away. She had been murdered.

It was not the first time the John and his wife Sue, who emigrated to Australia from the UK in 1970 in search of a better life, had been visited by tragedy.

Six years earlier their son Jamie, 18, died after being injected with drugs by a man who was later convicted of his manslaughter.

Mrs Turner remembered her daughter as a “bubbling, outgoing girl who enjoyed life”.

“This particular Saturday, she called me and said she was coming home,” she told Perth’s Eastern Reporter of her final conversation with her daughter.

“Then she called me back a couple of hours later to say they’d changed the arrangements and that her and her friend were going into the city, to the nightclub.”

Perth nightclub on Murray Rd, circa 1988

Perth nightclub on Murray Rd, circa 1988Source:Twitter

Mr and Mrs Turner are pleading with anyone with information about what happened to Kerry to come forward.

They say they are confident advancements in technology and cold case investigation mean that there is a greater likelihood their daughter’s case will be solved — a quarter of a century on.

“Whatever it is, no matter how small it might be … if they’ve got any information that might be relevant, please bring it forward,” Mr Turner told Radio 6PR.

“There is definitely a good chance I think of something coming from the continued and renewed vigour of investigation. We remain hopeful and we know that there are people that know something.”

Perth Acting Superintendent Peter Branchi said police believed there were people who knew what happened to Kerry and urged them to call Crime Stoppers.

“Over time allegiances change, people change and circumstances change, and someone who may have felt intimidated or uncomfortable sharing information with police back in the 1990s may now be in a position to do so,” he said.

In July 2000, Sara Payne and her husband hear the news they have been dreading: the body of their 8 year old daughter, Sarah, has been found in a shallow grave.