Kirsa Jensen was born on 15th December 1968 in New Zealand.
On the 1st of September 1983, Kirsa, who was 14 at the time, was living in Napier, New Zealand. At around 3pm, Kirsa collected her horse to go for an afternoon ride at the beach. The last confirmed sighting of Kirsa was near a World War Two gun emplacement at the mouth of the Tutaekuri River. She had a bloodied face and was seen talking to a man in a white utility vehicle.
Once it had reached 5:30pm, and Kirsa had failed to return home, her family started to search for her. The family alerted the police, and over the following days, police and volunteers led a huge search including rivers and waterways. They did locate Kirsa’s horse, but they failed to locate any sign of Kirsa.
On the 6th of September, a $5000 reward was issued by a Napier newspaper for any information that would lead to the recovery of Kirsa. A lot of psychics and mediums offered to help, but they were later described by the led investigator as “unhelpful.”
One vital piece of information was from a witness who noticed a girl who matched Kirsa’s description by the gun emplacement, being held at arm’s length by a white man who was approx. 1.8 metres (5″9′) and 45-50 years old. The same witness also noticed a white utility vehicle with brown sides which was parked close by. A different witness stopped and talked to Kirsa, noticing her bloodied face. Kirsa said that she had fallen off her horse and that someone had gone to collect her parents, and she was expecting them to arrive shortly.
Another witness saw the white utility vehicle coming off the bridge at approx. 4:30pm. The driver of the white utility vehicle is described as being a brown-haired white male, approx. 20-30 years old. He had his arm around the female passenger’s shoulders and was driving with one hand. Kirsa’s horse, the Commodore, was seen several times after time tied to the gun emplacement.
The primary suspect in the case was John Russell, who had a previous conviction for rape. He admitted to the police that he was the man seen with Jensen at the gun emplacement. The police investigated Russell’s house and truck, but there was no evidence that Kirsa had ever been there. John Russell did admit to killing Kirsa in 1985, but he then redacted the statement and no charges were made.
In 1992, John Russell killed himself after receiving treatment at Lake Alice Hospital psychiatric facility. It is unknown why he killed himself, and in 2009 the officer in charge of Kirsa’s case said that “there was probably more evidence to suggest John Russell was not involved, rather than that he was.”
In 1999, an Australian man from Melbourne confessed to the murder of Kirsa. This also led to a false confession.
In 2012, workmen found human bones that initially were thought to belong to Kirsa Jensen. After being examined, they were determined to not belong to Kirsa as they were too old.
Whilst this case is still open, and still ongoing, no further arrests have been made and as far as I am aware there are no other suspects at this time. Did the man in the white utility vehicle have anything to do with Kirsa Jensen’s disappearance? Was anyone going to get Kirsa’s parents about her head injury, or was that just a lie as well?
Hopefully, with time and new advances in forensic science, we will be able to know what happened to Kirsa Jensen, and her family will be able to have some form of closure.
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