AFTER 17 years, the mother of missing Bathurst teenager Jessica Small says she feels she has achieved a sense of justice for her daughter.
Ricki Small fought tirelessly for years on behalf of her daughter, saying early on that police had bungled the case and calling for the investigation to be finalised.
Her requests fell on deaf ears for many years, but Mrs Small never gave up, and her persistence paid off in September 2007 when NSW Police announced a second strike force, Carcia II, would reinvestigate the abduction.
Seven years after Carica II took carriage of the investigation, the matter moved to inquest, giving the Small family a glimmer of hope some of their questions might be answered.
Sadly, this was not the case.
The time in between Jessica’s abduction and the second investigation hampered the ability of police to properly investigate the matter, or form any conclusion as to who was responsible for Jessica’s death.
Mrs Small, speaking at the inquest, said 17 years had passed since Jessica’s abduction.
She said she wanted to ask a few questions that she thought Jessica may have asked, “could she be with us today”.
She also thanked Peter Smith for his diligence, commending his work in the past seven years in bringing the investigation to a point where she and her family were as close as they had ever been to finding out what happened in the early hours of October 26, 1997.
She described Jessica as “a wonderful girl who was missed dearly”, and said her ultimate wish was to bring her daughter home.
The case has since been handed back to the Unsolved Homicide Squad.