New Zealand Police Offering $100,000 In Cold Case Murder Of Teen

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

News & Politics
Jessica Powers

Kirsty Bentley, a 15-year-old girl, had been out walking her dog in Ashburton in New Zealand on New Year's Eve in 1998. It seemed like a completely normal day, but then Kirsty never came home.

Now, as the case remains unsolved, police are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information about the 1998 murder.

“Police have gone to great lengths to explore all possible scenarios and investigative leads and, even after more than 20 years, we remain committed to holding the offender or offenders to account,” Detective Inspector Greg Murton said.

15-Year-Old Kirsty Bentley Was Last Seen Walking Her Dog, Which Turned Up The Following Day

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

The dog and her underwear were discovered the next day but Bentley's body wasn't found for another 18 days, partially buried a distance from where she was last seen.

Police Still Have Not Given Up Hope To Find The Person Who Killed Kirsty

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

But police still haven't given up hope they will someday crack the case.

Detective Inspector Greg Murton recently said someone knew the truth and they should come forward.

"Police have gone to great lengths to explore all possible scenarios and investigative leads and, even after more than 20 years, we remain committed to holding the offender or offenders to account," he said. "That's why today we're offering up to $100,000 for material information or evidence leading to the identify and conviction of the person or people responsible for her death."

Kirsty's Family Members Were Once Suspects, But Police Now Say The Killer Was Likely A Stranger

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

Detective Inspector Greg Murton said the focus of the investigation has shifted away from her family, who were the main focus for some time after Kirsty was killed.

"My personal view is that it was probably a stranger ... someone who most likely is very familiar with the area ... she lived in the in the Riverbank area, rather than a person passing through that. They're also very familiar with the Rakaia Gorge area and probably a very good chance that they were involved with cannabis growing or cannabis usage."

A Local Journalist Agrees That The Family Was Likely Not Involved In The Murder

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

Journalist Chris Cooke has also followed the case closely and recently said there was no evidence to support that Bentley's father and brother were involved in her disappearance and murder.

He said police believed it was "more likely that it was a stranger abduction, more likely a sexual assault and murder committed by someone who was a cannabis user or a local familiar to the area."

Cooke said police would not divulge details, but the areas where the dog and underwear were found are places frequented by cannabis users.

Another new finding was that the father was spotted in Lyttelton on the afternoon of the incident, and he could not have gotten back in time to be involved in the disappearance of his daughter.

Finally, the focus of the investigation is largely focused on the family, and instead, police are focusing on other people from the community who may have been involved in the gruesome murder.

Police Hope Large Rewards Given Incentive For People To Come Forward With New Information

Kirsty Bentley
youtube | Dark Curiosities

The reward is available for six months. Anyone with information was asked to contact Police and reference Operation Kirsty or call Crime Stoppers anonymously.

Detective Inspector Greg Murton urged another with information to come forward.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide answers and a sense of closure for Kirsty’s family," he said. "We urge them to do the right thing and finally come forward — if not for themselves, then for Kirsty and all those who loved her.”

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