IF only she didn’t go to Melbourne. If only someone saw what happened.
For the family of missing teenager Kim Teer, the ‘if onlys’ are almost as painful as the mystery surrounding her disappearance.
But 34 years on, Ms Teer’s disappearance is the subject of a cold case investigation by Victoria Police, who this week announced a $100,000 reward in a bid to find out exactly what happened to the 17-year-old beauty.
Her mum, Bathurst woman Colleen Holding, said she was praying someone comes forward with information about Ms Teer, who disappeared from East Melbourne some time between September and October 1979.
Ms Holding said her greatest wish is for her daughter’s remains to be found, so she can be buried with dignity.
Ms Holding said the pain of losing her only child never goes away.
“It’s a feeling of despair. I just want it resolved one way or another.”
She described her daughter as a smart and independent girl, who had just finished school and was setting off on an adventure before settling down to start a career. Ms Teer left Port Macquarie in 1978 with a friend and her beloved dog, Crosby, a black and white border collie.
“She wanted to see the world. It was 1979, and I thought it was quite a reasonable thing,” Ms Holding said.
“I certainly didn’t hold fears for her safety; she was a sensible girl and she was looking for some excitement before she settled down to work.”
Ms Holding said her daughter was very close to her family and, despite travelling around Australia, constantly kept in touch, writing to her mother on a weekly basis, phoning when she could and sending telegrams.
One of the last pieces of correspondence Ms Holding received from her daughter was a letter saying she was living with a couple and helping them clean out a relative’s house in Darling Street, East Melbourne.
However, after not hearing from her daughter for two weeks after her 18th birthday on October 15, Ms Holding knew something was wrong.
She sent a telegram to the post office asking Ms Teer to ring her urgently. Later, when Ms Holding went to Melbourne to search for her daughter, she was told the man Ms Teer was living with had collected the telegram.
“There are so many questions unanswered about what happened,” Ms Holding said.
“The last two people who saw her alive [the couple she lived with, who went on to have a child and then separated] gave conflicting statements to the police.
“He said there was an argument and Kim packed her gear and was heading to South Australia.
“The woman said Kim was coming home.
“They said the argument was over a piece of clothing, which just doesn’t make sense.”
At the time of Ms Teer’s disappearance, there was no such thing as a missing persons unit, so Ms Holding searched for her daughter.
“We went as far as Perth looking for her; we did everything we could,” she said.
Ms Holding is hoping the $100,000 reward will convince someone with information to come forward to police.
“If anyone knows anything please ring the police. Even if they noticed Crosby [Ms Teer’s dog] it could give the police a location to work with,” she said.
Crime Stoppers can be contacted on 1800 333 000.