On August 31, 1998, Jennifer Kerwin dropped her daughter, 14-year-old Natasha Ryan, off at Rockhampton High School. When Natasha failed to return home later that evening, Jennifer called the police and reported her missing.
Natasha was classified as a “troubled teen” with a history of school suspensions, drug use and self-harm. Combined with the fact she had run away from home just a month earlier, the police didn’t take her disappearance seriously, at first.
In July, Natasha took off and was found just two days later hiding out at a motel with her 22-year-old boyfriend Scott Black, a milk delivery man. The police assumed Natasha had run off with Scott once again, but when they knocked on his door he insisted she was not with him and that he had no idea where she was.