Mona Blades case
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Mona Elizabeth Blades was an 18-year-old New Zealand woman who disappeared in 1975 while hitchhiking. Her body and belongings have never been found and no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance and presumed murder. It is one of New Zealand's longest unsolved murder cases.
Blades was hitchhiking from Hamilton to Hastings on Saturday May 31, 1975, the first day of the Queen's Birthday long weekend, and was last seen on the road between Napier and Taupo in an orange Datsun 120Y station wagon. A truck driver saw Blades getting into the Datsun and witnesses reported seeing a matching vehicle veering off the highway and stopping on rural Matea Rd.
There have been about five suspects in the case.Auckland police investigated John Freeman who had rented an orange Datsun the weekend that Blades disappeared. On the day two weeks later that police announced they were searching for an orange Datsun, Freeman shot and wounded a student at St Cuthbert's College in Auckland before killing himself.
An elderly New Zealand man and Charlie Hughes, a Hamilton man now living in Australia, have remained "persons of interest" for police. Hughes has gone public in newspapers and on television about his frustrations at being on the suspects list and has denied he had anything to do with the murder.
In 2004, there was a glimmer of hope when police came across a shallow grave bearing Blades's name in a Huntly garage. The name had been inscribed on concrete as a joke six years earlier and the former owner of the property apologised to her family.
Blades's brother, Tony Blades, told the Daily Post his family had not talked to the media over the past 30 years about their feelings because it was too hard on them, especially their mother, who is now in her 80s. Her father has since died not knowing his daughter's whereabouts.
While the case has baffled everyone for three decades, the officers tasked with getting to know the case better are determined to find new leads. The hotline number 0800 MONA BLADES is still running today. The case has never been officially closed.
- "Mona Blades vanishes". New Zealand History Online. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- "Mona Blades suspect again quizzed". New Zealand Herald. 7 December 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- "Decades old murder re-investigated". One News. TVNZ. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Morton, Jamie (27 January 2012). "Cop v Cop in cold-case murder". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2012.