Advertiser Friday February 6 1998

It's a hangout for hoons and a dumping ground for stolen cars. Peter Hackett visits the area where the body of teenager Heather Turner was found.

Road to nowhere

The dusty dirt road disappears into the distance. It's the road to nowhere, a dead end. Just a few kilometres from one of the country's busiest highways, it could well be the end of the earth. Beyond the market gardens, open paddocks and tidy redbrick houses of Port Gawler, the road slices into mangroves. Car bodies, old washing machines and tyres litter the roadside. The mangroves crawl right up to the road's edge. Mosquitoes buzz around, even in the searing midday sun. This is there territory. This is not a friendly place. It was never meant to be a place for human habitation. It is a god-forsaken place and a person would have to have a very good reason to seek it out. Quite simply, this is not the sort of place a fresh-faced young girl would choose to go. Towards the end of the road, there is a gap in the mangroves. A burnt-out car body lies by the road. Another lies upside down in the waterway. the water is stagnant and filthy. The smell is foul. There are no sinister markings on the road-side or in the thick mud. It is a place known to police as a dumping ground for stolen cars.
But it is not known as a dumping ground for human bodies. A small piece of blue and white tape tied to a branch over the water marks the spot where the body of 16-year-old Heather Turner was discovered. Police believe the body could have been lying in the remote waterway for two weeks, since Heather disappeared from suburban Semaphore. It is also thought Heather may have been trying to hitch a ride home on the night she disappeared. The exuberant teenager could never have imagined that she was hitch-hiking to tragedy

© The Advertiser written by Peter Hackett

Killer probably knew Heather

Police believe it is "more probable" that 16 year old Heather Turner was murdered by someone she knew. Major Crime Detectives so far have spoken out to about 12 of Heather's friends and associates and will continue interviews in coming days. Superintendent Paul Schramm, officer in charge of the Major Task Force, said investigators would continue to "build information" on people known to Heather. "It is more probable that it (the murderer) is someone she has come across before." he said. But Superintendent Schramm stressed that it was important investigators kept "all options open." Police have not yet ruled out the possibility that Heather was picked up while hitching a ride or walking to her Largs Bay home after her last confirmed sighting - where she met a girlfriend near the Semaphore jetty on January 16. At the time, Heather was wearing a white crocheted beret, lace floral top, jeans and black lace up boots. She was carrying a large black shoulder bag with a cartoon character emblem -Tweetie bird - on its front flap. Two weeks later - Last Saturday night - Her body was discovered in a creek at a remote Port Gawler location by a routine police patrol. Heather had been working at Welland's Franklins Supermarket at the time she disappeared. The 16 year old was a former Largs Bay Primary School, Taperoo High School and Findon High School student. She had also been a talented dancer and student at the western suburbs Desalyne Dancers school. Instructor Mr Des Wyatt described her as a "terrific young lady," "She was a talented dancer in jazz (ballet) and tap and just got on well with everybody," Mr Wyatt said. "It was just a hell of a shock to hear the news." Anyone with information about the murder should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

© The Advertiser written by Jeremy Pudney

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