PERHAPS only grief induces more stress than uncertainty. For the family of missing Hunter woman Gordana Kotevski, they have lived with an unshakeable combination of the two, laced with glimmers of hope, for 24 years.
That is how long it has been since Kotevski was last seen at Charlestown Square, a disappearance that has spiralled into one of the region’s most baffling cold cases.
Gordana’s aunt Julie Talevski and other family members spoke out earlier this week as a billboard on Turton Road began to carry an image of the teenager last seen in 1994. Ms Kotevski is believed murdered, but her family say they need answers.
“I wouldn’t wish this pain upon anyone, which is why I’m appealing to the public to come forward,” her brother Damien, who was 10 when she disappeared, said.
While the family’s fresh appeal to find their missing relative was taking shape, another cold case was offering another long-suffering family new hope that they would find some finality.
Lynette Dawson’s name was thrust back into the headlines this year as her Sydney disappearance almost 40 years ago became the subject of podcast The Teacher’s Pet. That investigation received Australian journalism’s top honour.
But the real prize for those invested in the case of Ms Dawson’s disappearance arrived on Thursday morning, when detectives in Queensland arrested former Newtown Jets rugby league player and Ms Dawson’s husband, Chris Dawson.
Mr Dawson, who had long been the only suspect in the 1982 disappearance, was on Thursday extradited to NSW. Now 70, he was formally charged with his wife’s murder and refused police bail in Sydney.
Lynette’s niece Renee Sims said the family felt “absolutely massive relief” at the arrest despite their disappointment it had taken so long. Ms Dawson’s body has never been found despite a dig in September. It is a search NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller swore this week would continue.
While the solace is likely limited for Ms Dawson’s family, including Hunter-based brother Greg Simms, the developments offer those who have mourned Ms Kotevski for so long assurance that time does not preclude new developments.
For the sake of all involved and for justice, let us hope the hard work of police can deliver both families they answers they need.