Friday, February 17, 2012

Longing for Lateesha

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Longing for Lateesha

18 Feb, 2012 04:00 AM
MICK Peet is facing his toughest heartache since his beloved daughter went missing at Dubbo seven years ago.He has come to walk the places where Lateesha Nolan was last seen alive.
Police are still hunting Malcolm Naden in connection to the 24-year-old’s disappearance in January 2005 and the murder of Kristy Scholes six months later.
Mr Peet has held memories of Lateesha close to his heart in the long years since she went missing. Not so easy was it to confront the scenes that feature in his imagination of what may have been her last day.
"I’ve got butterflies like you wouldn’t believe," he said. "It is emotional returning, memories of Lateesha keep flashing back."
Mr Peet flew into Dubbo yesterday after a 1000km-long journey made in three stages from his home at Bundaberg, Queensland.
It is a city he knows well despite an absence of the past 12 years.
He recalled yesterday driving then-partner Joan Nolan from Port Macquarie to Dubbo to give birth to Lateesha at Dubbo Base Hospital in May 1980.
He counted himself as "not a real believer in psychics" but hoped he would get a certain "feeling" on his return to the city.
He planned to go to the last place Lateesha was seen alive, the Bunglegumbie Road home of her grandmother, where she told relatives she would be "back in a sec".
He also wanted to see Lateesha’s nearby home in Spears Drive.
"I don’t know who lives there now but I’ll maybe ask if I can sit out the front for a while," he said.
Yesterday he traced the solemn route along Tamworth Street to the Macquarie River near where Lateesha’s car was found abandoned one day after her disappearance.
"Sometimes I blame myself for leaving her behind," he said of his move to Queensland.
Mr Peet has devoted himself to finding leads on the whereabouts of Naden, who has a $250,000 bounty on his head. The emotional father’s hopes were raised and then dashed when police stumbled on but did not capture the wanted man in December at Nowendoc in the remote Barrington Tops.
Mr Peet regards Naden as the one person with "all the answers" to Lateesha’s disappearance.
Even if that happens - Mr Peet is desperate for Naden to be brought in alive - he will still be in the midst of tragedy.
"The hardest thing will be burying her if she is found," he said.
Each day it is the father-daughter bond that keeps Mr Peet going. He brought with him a tangible representation of that connection - an engraved glass that was a gift from his daughter.
"It says ‘To Dad, happy 40th, love Lateesha’," he said.
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