Tatiara murder cold case: new clues emerge

New clues have emerged in the cold case murder of two teenagers between Bordertown and Kaniva in 1990.

Since the Chronicle published a story on the case in July, two Tatiara women have come forward to share what could be important new information.

Their recollections of the events of that time have been included in a new podcast, “Life and Crimes with Andrew Rule”. Interest in the cold case was originally revived by another podcast this year, “Australian True Crime”, which led to the Chronicle’s story explaining that a $1 million reward still existed for information leading to solving the case.

Read that story, including a plea from Fiona’s sister Barbie McCarthy for information from the public, by clicking here 

Teenagers Fiona Burns and John Lee were found murdered on October 18, 1990. They had last been seen at a truck stop in Bordertown eight days earlier on October 10, and their bodies were discovered in bushland near Kaniva.

In the latest podcast, Mr Rule revealed he had been in contact with two Tatiara women who had information not widely known about the case.

One woman said she was dining at a Bordertown hotel on the evening when the two teenagers were last seen, and approached them because they seemed agitated. She said they appeared to be fearful of something or someone outside, and noticed a group of young men walking on the street nearby in a somewhat threatening manner.

After suggesting that the teens make themselves scarce, the woman approached the men, some of whom she knew, and asked what they were doing. They said they were planning on going “bunny bashing”.

The woman felt a sense of unease, but left for home and didn’t hear any more about the two teenagers.

Another woman, from Kaniva, said she was driving from Bordertown to Kaniva on the day the teens were last seen, and strongly believes she saw the pair walking on the side of the road towards Kaniva.

Interestingly, she saw a third person with them, leading a dog. The information throws new light on the case in that a third hitchhiker could have been with the young pair either before or when they met their deaths.

Police are still appealing for more information helpful to the case.

When Victoria Police launched a fresh appeal for information on the case in 2011, the then-Homicide Squad Detective Inspector John Potter said: “There is someone out there who knows exactly what happened to Fiona and John and it is to those people and their closest confidants that we are appealing to.”

Because the murders occurred in a small rural community, police said they believed at least someone else, besides the killer, knows what happened. However because Fiona and John were found at a truck stop, with vehicle traffic coming and going constantly, the killer could have come from anywhere in Australia.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

More information about the case is available on the Facebook page “Fiona’s Page”, at https://m.facebook.com/Fionas-Page-179027202178625/.