Crime

Police confident of justice for homicide victim Jess Boyce

The chair she used sits empty, laughter from celebrations past hang in the air.

Two Christmases have past, two birthdays she wasn’t there for and countless special moments missed.

As the second anniversary of her disappearance draws closer, the Blenheim detective in charge of the case says there is more than one suspect.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan says they know the people who are responsible for her disappearance.

“A small number of people still need to be spoken to and plans are in place to do this soon. We are in negotiation to get parties to the table.

“Fairly early on after Jess disappeared a group of people were identified as persons of interest.

‘We had enough information to know that there were other people involved and it became a homicide investigation.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan believes there will ultimately be justice for Jessica Boyce. Main photo: Paula Hulburt.

Jessica, known as Jess, was last seen on 19 March 2019, her disappearance sparking nationwide search for those responsible.

For the experienced detective, Jess’s case is one that’s always on his mind.

At one point the investigating team was one of the largest pulled together in Marlborough. A key core remains dedicated to the case.

Detective Senior Sergeant Sloan is determined to find closure for Jess’s family and a chance for them to say goodbye properly.
People will talk, he says.

“I believe that at some stage in the future, somebody, somewhere will be sitting in a police cell on a completely unrelated matter and want to talk to us.

“They will be looking to save their own skin.

“We are making progress and we do believe we know who was involved in her disappearance.

“The investigation team has travelled from Northland to Canterbury interviewing witnesses and people of interest to the inquiry.
“Many of these people were living in Marlborough at the time Jessica went missing but have now moved out of the area for a number of reasons.

Jess’s uncle and family spokesman, Brent Boyce hopes police will find justice for Jess.

Jessica Boyce was 27 years old when she disappeared. Photo: File

“It will bring no real comfort to those who were close to Jess, but perhaps some closure. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and kindness over these very trying last two years.

“Jess’s family and friends will need this support more than ever as the details of the investigation are exposed in the coming months,” he says.

Jess was last seen near Renwick, Marlborough, in a red ute.

The vehicle was found three days later in the Mount Richmond Forest Park, seemingly abandoned. Jess’ purse and mobile phone minus its sim card were found inside.

Police believe the ute was deliberately dumped in a bid to mislead police.

Jess’s disappearance officially became a homicide case in October 2019.

Last week, Brent paid tribute to investigating officers. The police maintain a regular line of communication with the family, he says.

“We are beholden to the police for the diligence of their ongoing efforts, and for their empathy with helping us understand – they have our utmost respect.”

Several overseas enquiries have also been made in relation to forensic evidence, and investigators are awaiting final results.

Brent says the family continue to suffer and spending time together remembering her helps bring some comfort. Her disappearance has been a rollercoaster of emotions for them all.

“In this time, we have experienced all the highs and lows of hope and despair.

“From what was initially considered a harmless wandering off, to become an unexplained disappearance, to finally a homicide.

Not only have the perpetrators of this harmed Jess, they have also harmed her family and her friends by their misdeeds.

“As a family, we gather regularly, and Jess is never far from our thoughts and hearts.

Jessica Boyce was a bubbly and devoted friend. Photo: File

“In our Jess’s memory – we would ask that you also look after yourselves and your families; and be caring and resolute as the investigation unfolds.”

Police encourage anyone who has any information at all which may assist to contact Police on 105 and quote file number 190322/7217.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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