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Real Life

Missing Person: ACT schoolgirl Megan Mulquiney missing for 30 years

As a mum, I really really need to know what happened to Megan.

By Jessica Vander Leahy
It’s likely Megan Mulquiney wouldn’t look like this anymore. After 31 years missing even her own mother might struggle to recognise her but that hasn’t stopped her from looking.
In 1984 Dorothy Mulquiney experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. Like so many teenagers with a part-time job her 17-year-old daughter Megan clocked off her Saturday shift at Big W in the
Woden Shopping Centre in Canberra on July 28 but never came home.
The schoolgirl had started work that day at 8:30am and was seen leaving her workplace at 12.05pm. The last confirmed sighting of Megan was about 10 minutes later in the western car park of the mall where she was due to catch the bus home but instead she vanished.
By all accounts Megan was responsible and would have let her family know if her plans were changed but nobody has ever heard from her again and her case remains a mystery.
In 2011 – almost three decades after Megan disappeared – the ACT coroner went looking for answers and found that it was likely the teenager had been murdered.
Coroner Peter Dingwall said it was ''extremely likely that Megan met with foul play and was murdered by a person, or persons, unknown''.
But in handing down his findings Mr Dingwall said he couldn’t take the investigation further without sufficient evidence.
At the time of the coroner’s findings Megan’s mother Dorothy once again pleaded for any information from the public.
"Just really and truly somebody out there did know something. If they could just come forward no matter what it is, anything that could throw some light onto the situation would be wonderful,"
Ms Mulquiney told the ABC, "As a mum, I really really need to know what happened to Megan.”
While it has been many years since new evidence came to light regarding the schoolgirl’s puzzling disappearance the AFP is shining a spotlight on the case in the hopes that someone, somewhere knows something.
According to the AFP more than 35,000 people are reported missing every year in Australia – one person every 15 minutes.
During this year’s National Missing Person’s Week, which will run from 1 – 8 August, police are out to dispel five main myths surrounding these types of cases:
  • You don't have to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing,
  • It is not a crime to go missing,
  • People don’t “choose” to go missing,
  • A missing person’s address is not released to the person who reported them as missing, and;
  • Adults can be reported as missing.
ACT Policing Criminal Investigations Detective Sergeant Donna Parsons hoped the week of advertising could assist the sustained investigation into her disappearance 31 years ago.
“Police will always maintain hope that this case could come to a resolution if someone were to come forward with more information. Over 30 years ago, when Megan disappeared, someone could have seen something or heard something. Someone could still know something about it that hasn’t yet come to light,” Detective Sergeant Parsons said.
“The lack of resolution or closure is one of the hardest aspects of a long-term missing persons case and it’s something we know Megan’s family have lived with since the day of her disappearance.”
“We’re urging anyone who has any information about Megan’s disappearance to come forward and contact police.”
Facts in the case of missing woman Megan Mulquiney
Missing since: 28 July 1984
Missing from: Woden, ACT
Information from police: Megan MULQUINEY commenced work at 8.30am on 28 July 1984 at Big W, Woden Shopping Centre in Canberra. She concluded her shift and was seen leaving her workplace at 12.05pm.
Megan was last seen at about 12.15pm, standing outside the western entrance of the Woden Plaza adjacent to Big W and the western car park.
She was due to catch a bus home from the Plaza, however never arrived home. Megan was a responsible person and would always contact her family if her plans changed. Extensive searches have failed to locate Megan.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Further information on NMPW can be found at Missing Persons

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