I'm so glad to have told my story, says Jessica Small's mum about 60 Minutes

PAIN: Ricki Small leaves Bathurst Court House following the inquest into her daughter’s death. She says she is relieved that the truth about how police handled the case has been told. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 	060614zsmall2a

PAIN: Ricki Small leaves Bathurst Court House following the inquest into her daughter’s death. She says she is relieved that the truth about how police handled the case has been told. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 060614zsmall2a

RICKI Small says she knew early on that the police investigation into her missing daughter Jessica was flawed, because no one seemed interested in finding out what happened.

Jessica Small’s story was televised nationally on Sunday night by 60 Minutes, which spoke to Mrs Small, as well as Jessica’s friend Vanessa Conlan, who was with Jessica when she was abducted in 1997.

An inquest into Jessica’s death last week found the Bathurst teen died on or after October 26, 1997, in suspicious circumstances, at the hands of a person unknown.

Mrs Small said yesterday she thought 60 Minutes did a good job telling Jessica’s story.

“I got to say a couple of things that I really wanted out there. But I think they did a really good job, and I’m happy her story has been told nationally,” she said.

“After all this time, there is relief [it’s been told] because it’s such a hard story to tell.

“It was thwarted by the [initial] police investigation, and I never knew when it was the right time to speak out.

“When [Detective Sergeant] Peter Smith came on the scene I hung on and didn’t say anything, in the hope something would come out of it, but it’s been so long.”

Mrs Small said she realised there were big problems with Jessica’s case early on.

“It was about six months [into it]. No one was telling me anything, no one was interested. 

“After the six-month mark I was told absolutely nothing.”

Mrs Small said at the inquest she was floored when State Forests employee Glen Christie Johnson gave evidence about the items of clothing he found in an isolated area outside Oberon, which were covered in blood.

The first she’d heard about the discovery was when Detec-tive Sergeant Smith, the officer in charge of the second strike force into Jessica’s disappearance, told her about it in the lead-up to the inquest.

“They [police in 1998] should have come to me with that information. I should have been part of it,” she said.

“When I heard that in the inquest it knocked me for six. I wasn’t expecting it and it re-opened the trauma that I was going through at the time Jessica was taken.

“If I had only known about it then I would have had something to grasp on to or some direction to go towards, if indeed it relates to Jessica.

“It was a whole new scope on things ... but that’s again something else I’ve got to live with.”

Mrs Small said she had been approached yesterday by friends who spoke of her bravery after watching the 60 Minutes special.

“A couple of local ladies patted me on the back, saying they thought I was very brave, but I don’t think that at all, I think of Jessica as the brave one,” she said.

She said while she was upset during the television interview, the tears she shed during filming didn’t even scratch the surface of what she has suffered as a result of how she and Jessica have been treated.

“I’m disgusted at what happ-ened – how they treated Jessica and how they treated me. It’s a big part of the pain.”

She also said what went on after her daughter was abducted in Hereford Street on October 26, 1997 will never be known.

“As a parent the hardest road is never knowing what happ-ened or who was responsible.

“It’s a horrible way to live.”