Queensland woman Nicole Morris runs the excellent australianmissingpersonsregister.com. Nicole had a chat with True Crime Reader about the site and her work helping get information out about missing people.
1. What inspired you to do this website?
It started out as purely a vessel for information, at the time I found the available info about missing persons online to be incomplete and disjointed with no central place for people to go to see all missing persons profiles Australia-wide. After a short time I found the families were contacting me to thank me for getting the word out there and I discovered they often just wanted to talk about how they were feeling and I could help them by just listening. To be able to give them some comfort inspires me every day and when the website or the Facebook groups (which have around 10,000 members) are responsible for missing persons being located that is a truly wonderful feeling.
2. What are some of the cases that have affected you most?
Through the website I was contacted by the family of 14-year-old Tanya Farrington, missing since 1979. Tanya’s sister-in-law Lianne never got to meet her but was determined to get her case reopened, she’s an amazing woman. Over the last few years Lianne and I have become best friends and that’s been a great joy to come out of a tragedy. The Farringtons visited me a few weeks ago and gave me a brooch that had belonged to Tanya’s Mum, who passed away not long after Tanya went missing and I feel like I am doing this for her too, never giving up the search for Tanya. It affected me deeply, I cry all the time over cases but that’s a good thing, to hold it in or become cold and detached is ultimately damaging.
Another case that affects me is Steve Goldsmith, missing since 2000. He lived in Toowoomba, close to where I live and we share a birthday. I have become really close to his parents and other family and I feel like I’ve become like a daughter to them, that gives them comfort and in turn I have these wonderful people in my life. I never got to meet these missing people that I feel I know so well but I care about them, it matters to me that they’re never forgotten and hopefully one day found.
3. What kind of feedback to you get from your website from family, friends,
I have been doing this for more than seven years now so it’s become quite well known, and most police are very supportive, recognising the value of using the internet to locate the missing. I’m not trying to do their jobs for them and they understand that the website isn’t some sort of sensationalist true crime blog or a place to play detective. It’s about getting the information out there to the public and helping people with information to come forward to police with that info, and also to provide ongoing assistance and support to the families and friends no matter how many years it may take to find their loved ones.
It’s sometimes hard to talk about what I do with family and friends as the conversations I have during my day can often be confronting, if I’m talking about human remains or victims who have suffered terrible violence. But they do think what I do is very valuable and important for the families of the missing and they’re all very supportive.