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Parents in murder plea 21 years on

The parents of a schoolgirl who was killed at Christmas have pleaded for her murderer to come forward.

Johanna Young was 14 when she went missing from her family home in Watton, Norfolk, on a foggy night on December 23 1992.

She was found dead, partially clothed and lying face down in water, on Boxing Day. Her killer has never been found.

Her parents, Carol and Robert Young, have rarely spoken of their ordeal but decided to make an appeal on the 21st anniversary of her disappearance.

The couple, who have two other children and are now grandparents, said that it was impossible to stop their thoughts turning to the daughter they lost as the festive season approaches.

Mrs Young, 58, said: "We do celebrate Christmas but it's never quite the same.

"We tried to carry on for the sake of our other children and as a family we just continue the best we can but Johanna is in our thoughts all the time.

"You put it to the back of your mind. You get through the days then months then years, but it's always with you."

Mr Young, 60, described Johanna a "full of fun and always up to tricks".

He added: "She loved music and dancing and her music was always too loud.

"She was a typical teenager who could make friends with anybody."

The family first noticed Johanna was missing when her alarm clock went off at 6am on Christmas Eve.

She was due to do a paper round but her bag was still in her bedroom.

They searched the town and surrounding countryside in the hope of finding her alive.

"You don't want to believe it and tell yourself it will be okay," Mrs Young said.

"But there's a real pain in the pit of your stomach. As a parent you just know it's not right."

Appealing for the killer or anyone with information to come forward, she added: "How can they keep quiet? I just don't know how you can.

"Whoever it is probably has children of their own now - how would they feel?

"We need closure and we need justice for our daughter.

"We don't want any other parents to have to go through the hell we've experienced."

The last known sightings of Johanna were on the evening of December 23 between 7.30pm and 8.45pm when she headed towards Watton town centre.

A major search was launched and three days later a dog walker found one of her trainers in the undergrowth near Griston Road in the town.

Police searched the area and found her body nearby.

She was covered in scratches and a post-mortem examination found that she died from drowning and a fractured skull.

There was no evidence of a sexual motive.

Detective Inspector Marie James, from Norfolk Police's major investigation team, said: "Twenty-one years have gone by since Johanna's death and we hope that people, who may not have not been prepared to come forward on the original investigation, may now feel strong enough to do so.

"Johanna's parents still grieve for her loss and often wonder who was responsible for her murder, thinking it was someone who knew her.

"They have asked me to specifically appeal to the people who live in the Watton area, asking them to search their consciences and offer them some form of closure."


From Belfast Telegraph