'The Door Is Always Open’: The Plea This Missing Persons Week
Families plea with their loved ones to come home during Missing Persons Week.
What you need to know
- Tanya Nicholls has been missing for 30 years.
- Her family says ‘the door is always open’.
- Missing Persons Week marks three decades with 30 faces.
It’s an argument with her teenage daughter that Dianne Parker constantly replays in her head, especially at this time of year.
Her 16-year-old left their family home in Bellambi 30 years ago and is now one of many faces featured as part of Missing Persons Week.
"There's no closure, when someone dies... You have a ceremony, you get to say goodbye and you have a place to go to remember... When you have a loved one who's missing, you have nothing," she said.
Tanya had stormed out of their home in September 1988 claiming to stay with her grandparents.
They now know she went to visit her boyfriend, who was in Parklea Jail, under an allias; Marie Ann Owen.
But that's about as close as they've ever got to finding her in three decades and the pain of not-knowing has become torturous.
"Call somebody, let us know you're safe and well, we'd love to see you and we want you to come home," her little sister, Vanessa said.
They're among thousands of families making that plea this Missing Persons Week.
"This week people are focusing on missing people, we're offering hope to families that their missing loved one isn't forgotten and that the community are thinking of them at this time," Team Leader for the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, Trish Halligan said.
Not unlike other families of missing persons, Dianne still lives in the same family home - unable to leave in case Tanya returns.
"No one is going to close the door on you, the door is always open," she pleads to her missing daughter.
"I want you to know that you have always been loved and you will always be loved."
Each year, 38,000 people are reported missing and while most of them are found within the first few days, there's still two thousand people that have been missing long term.
Wollongong Detectives say there's nothing to suggest Tanya committed suicide or that she'd been murdered.
"If anyone has any information regarding her disappearance, albeit so many years ago, come forward," Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth said.
"If there's anyone out there that does know of Tanya's whereabouts, or even by a miracle, she happens to be watching she can contact her mother.
"Even just to let them know 'I'm not coming home, but I'm alright'," he said.