They’d received a call from the hospital when Nina didn’t turn up to her shift.
Spike and Nina’s brother, Andrew, went to her house and discovered the scene. While Andrew called police and an ambulance, Spike rushed to get his wife and take her to their daughter’s side.
Ann was holding Nina as she took her last breath.
She remembers looking up and spotting a tall figure of a man hovering at the side of the house.
The dark night meant she couldn’t clearly see his face.
Although I hadn’t seen Spike and Ann in years, I imagined they were still battling an enormous amount of pain and grief.
How could her murderer still be loose? I wondered.
I felt like the clippings at the bottom of the box could be a representation of how Nina’s case was treated by police and the media.
What if it was just sitting there at the bottom of a pile?
‘I need to make her seen again,’ I said to my partner, Rhys.
My past job as a private investigator meant I had the skills to help.
A few weeks later, I reached out to some locals in Clunes, and while some had theories, they had all been discounted by police.
My heart sank. It was so disappointing.
Police were even offering a $1 million reward for information that led to the killer being convicted, but no-one had come forward.
Over the years, there had been other theories about Nina’s death.
A year before she’d been killed, she’d phoned her parents terrified that she could hear an intruder outside the house.
Underwear had also regularly disappeared from her washing line.
Detectives looked into the possibility of a Peeping Tom, but were unable to find anything.
In September, five months after my box discovery, it was Nina’s birthday.
She would have been 51.
I shared a photo of my cousin on Facebook, writing, Time is UP. 28 years is too long to sit without answers.
Hundreds of locals messaged me, outraged that her killer was still out there.
Around the same time, my dear nan, Eleanor, passed away. At the funeral, I saw Ann and struck up a conversation about Nina.
She retold Nina’s story and explained how she hardly mixed with the Clunes community.
‘I can’t bear to think I’m near Nina’s killer,’ she said.
A week later, I went to visit Spike and Ann again.
‘I want to take the reins,’ I said.
‘I can contact people and post on social media. People can’t forget her.’
‘We’re happy for you to take control,’ Spike said.
‘All we want is justice for Nina. It’s insulting that someone is walking around thinking they’ve got away with it,’ Ann said.
I recorded a three-part podcast, Clunes Cluedo, looking into Nina’s death and appealing for information
‘Clunes is a small country town where everyone knows each other. Someone
must know something,’ I said.
Back in 1993, a coronial inquest couldn’t determine a motive or killer.
Since then, there have been various reports stating police have new information.
But they say it’s not enough to prove in court.
So I’ve requested another inquest.
For Spike and Ann, they’re terrified that time is getting on and Nina’s killer remains at large.
Nina was a much-loved young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.
She was incredible with kids and dreamed of becoming a mum.
Her killer has been able to live their life, while Nina’s was cruelly snatched away.
I urge anyone with information about Nina to come forward. I’ll keep fighting until we get the justice she deserves. ●
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (Aus) or head here.