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Police appeal for help to find Tegan Lane -

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Police appeal for help to find Tegan Lane

Reporter: Tracy Bowden

KERRY O'BRIEN: Thousands of people are reported missing across Australia every year, but this is
the story of a child whose disappearance went unnoticed for years. Tegan Lane has not been seen
since two days after her birth almost nine years ago, when her mother Keli Lane says she gave the
child away. As part of their investigations, police have launched a nationwide search for the man
who may be able to solve this puzzle, the man the child's mother claims took the baby. In an effort
to gather more information in the lead-up to the coronial inquiry into the child's disappearance
and suspected death, police agreed to speak to The 7:30 Report about what has been a baffling and
frustrating case. Tracy Bowden reports.

TRACY BOWDEN: It's hard to believe that a newborn baby could go missing without a trace, and that
the event would go undetected for years. But that's what happened in this case. The only evidence
of the child's existence - a few documents at the hospital where she was born.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT, NSW POLICE: Basically, that's all we know. We know that
Tegan was born on a particular date, we know she left hospital with Keli in good health on the 14th
September 1996. From that time on, we don't have any solid information as to Tegan's whereabouts.

TRACY BOWDEN: On September 12th, 1996, a young woman named Keli Lane gave birth to a baby girl at
Auburn Hospital in Sydney's western suburbs. She named her Tegan. Two days later, the 21-year-old
mother picked up her newborn and left the hospital. She then carried on with her life as though
nothing had happened. The child has not been seen since.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: Fundamentally, it's a missing person inquiry, so my main
aim is to find Tegan Lane.

TRACY BOWDEN: Detective Senior Constable Richard Gaut, based at Sydney's beachside suburb of Manly,
is charged with investigating the disappearance of Tegan Lane. He has uncovered an intriguing tale
of secrets and lies.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: The more public this is, at this stage, the more
likelihood, if there's someone out there who knows something, that we'll be contacted by that
person.

TRACY BOWDEN: The disappearance of this child who would now be eight years old, might have gone
undetected, if not for an observant Department of Community Services worker. It turns out Tegan
Lane was the second of three children born to Keli Lane between 1995 and 1999. The young woman had
kept all three pregnancies a secret, not even telling family or friends.

LES KAY, WATER POLO COACH: That was her life. And it didn't occur to me that this sort of thing had
happened. So I was shocked with the rest of them.

TRACY BOWDEN: Keli Lane grew up in Manly. She was the daughter of a local police sergeant, who's
now retired. An outgoing and athletic young woman, she played junior water polo for Australia. Les
Kay was her coach.

LES KAY: Well, I've known Keli since she was 12. I've watched her grow up in and out of the pool.
In the pool she was a very fierce competitor, really sort of played like a man, didn't like to
lose. She was always a character, very gregarious sort of girl. Loved a joke. And, as I said, I
always found her good company.

TRACY BOWDEN: Keli Lane's first child, a girl, was born in March 1995 at Sydney's Royal Prince
Alfred Hospital and was lawfully given up for adoption. Keli Lane, then 20, told no-one about the
pregnancy and was soon back in the pool, training for the Junior Water Polo Championships in
Canada.

LES KAY: She was at every training session I called, came to every game.

TRACY BOWDEN: Now, the girls are in swimsuits. Was there ever a point when you thought, gee, Keli
is looking like she has put on a bit of weight?

LES KAY: Keli was always a little bit generous, shall we say, in size, but that was just...she was
always like that. From the age 12 onwards, she was always a fairly solid, robust sort of girl.

TRACY BOWDEN: The following year, 1996, Keli Lane took a break from her physical education studies
to give birth to Tegan Lane. Again, the pregnancy was kept a secret, even from her then boyfriend.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: At this stage, we've had a lot of difficulties finding
Tegan. The matter's before the coroners, obviously, because it's a suspected death.

TRACY BOWDEN: In late Autumn in 1999, Keli Lane, now a qualified physical education teacher, gave
birth to a third child, a boy, at Ryde Hospital. It was during the adoption process for this child
that a Department of Community Services worker started to ask questions.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: During the second pregnancy, Tegan, prior to going to
Auburn Hospital, she went to Ryde Hospital for a check, and those records were later discovered
during the adoption process for the third child, from Ryde Hospital, by DOCS. As a result, DOCS
forwarded on the information to police.

TRACY BOWDEN: Initially, Keli Lane denied the birth of the child. Then, in a statement to adoption
authorities in 1999, she said: "There were three children. Obviously I can't lie anymore as the
paperwork is there. The middle child lives with a family in Perth, although I've not had contact
with them for a long time. They befriended me just before I had her and supported us. I'm not able
to give you many details as I'm not sure of them, myself. If my story isn't unusual enough as it
already is - I know you probably can't believe it, but I know that somehow you know I am now being
honest with you." But her story changed again. Next, Keli Lane claimed she'd given Tegan Lane to
the baby's father, a man named Andrew Morris.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: Keli initially told me Andrew Norris, which is a different
name to the name place originally had, which was Andrew Morris. There'd already been some inquiries
made for Andrew Morrises, so that was, I suppose, key information we had to start looking at
another track of inquiry to looking for Andrew Norris now.

TRACY BOWDEN: When Keli Lane refused to provide the Coroner's Court with further information at a
hearing last year, Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich lift add suppression order on the case in
an effort to solve the mystery. He also ordered that every man in Australia called Andrew Norris
born between 1960 and 1975 be interviewed by police. What else has Keli told you about this man?

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: Ah, Keli told us that he worked in the finance industry,
that he at some stage went to Sydney University. The general description of him was around 5ft 10,
solid build...sorry, well built. Tan complexion, either mousey or blond hair, and Caucasian.

ANDREW NORRIS, BUSINESSMAN: The bottom line was that there's a child missing, so, you know,
anything I could do to help with that, I was only too happy 20 do that.

TRACY BOWDEN: Over in Perth, businessman Andrew Norris found himself, or at least his name, in the
'West Australian' newspaper. He immediately contacted the police.

ANDREW NORRIS: They basically wanted to know date of birth, country of birth, where I'd lived,
different addresses, and he basically said to me that I wasn't within the age group for whoever
they're looking for, which I assumed ruled me out.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: If we can find an Andrew Norris who is the same Andrew
Norris who Keli gave the child to, we can clear this matter up very quickly. From the information
we have, he has done absolutely nothing. If he is the biological father of the child, then he's got
every right to take the child. All we need to do is verify she is alive and well and that's the end
of the inquiry.

TRACY BOWDEN: As the quest for Andrew Norris continued, Detective Constable Amber Shelley joined
the investigation, to try to find an 8-year-old girl who may or may not exist at a primary school
somewhere in Australia.

DETECTIVE CONSTABLE AMBER SHELLEY, NSW POLICE: If there's a child listed with those schools with
the date of birth 12th September 1996 - obviously a female child - and if there is a father listed
as Andrew Norris, or no father listed at all, we're also interested in that.

TRACY BOWDEN: To deny a pregnancy not once or twice but three times is clearly unusual. Forensic
psychiatrist Dr Stephen Allnutt says denial of pregnancy is a recognised condition, possibly caused
by anxiety.

DR STEPHEN ALLNUTT, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Pregnancy is a significant event in any woman's life,
and it may threaten the interpersonal relationship that they're currently engaged in, threaten
their career and threaten their social standing. This would create anxiety in the person, and could
lead the person then to conceal the pregnancy.

TRACY BOWDEN: So it is feasible that close family or friends might not be aware of the pregnancy?

DR STEPHEN ALLNUTT: Yes, it is feasible. In fact there have been a number of cases described where
even intimate partners have been unaware of the pregnancy throughout the entire pregnancy.

TRACY BOWDEN: It's also believed that the day Keli Lane left hospital, shortly after she says she
gave her new bay baby to Andrew Norris, she went home, changed then attended a wedding. Does that
strike you as unusual?

DR STEPHEN ALLNUTT: In the case of a denied pregnancy, it would be consistent with that.

TRACY BOWDEN: Because?

DR STEPHEN ALLNUTT: Because by the time the person gave birth to the child, there wouldn't be that
emotional connection and so it's easier to let it go.

TRACY BOWDEN: If this case highlights anything, it's the relative ease with which a child could
disappear. Under Australia's system of births, deaths and marriages, the onus is on the parents to
register a birth. Keli Lane did not do so and it's only now that New South Wales has begun
cross-matching birth records with registrations, contacting parents who haven't registered a birth
within 60 days. This case is a maze of unanswered questions. Who was Tegan Lane given to after her
birth? Is the child still alive? And what drove Keli Lane to conceal three pregnancies?

LES KAY: I think she'd be devastated by the whole thing and I feel very sorry for her and the
family. I just hope everything works out the right way for her in the end.

TRACY BOWDEN: Keli Lane was initially interviewed by police, but now refuses to give any further
information. Nor is she compelled to give evidence at this month's inquest. Keli Lane has since
married and in 2001 had a fourth child, a girl. She kept this child.

DETECTIVE CONSTABLE AMBER SHELLEY: I think most people would just like to, like us, just would like
to find Tegan Lane alive, safe and well, but we all just want to know where she is and what's
happened to her.

DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE RICHARD GAUT: We're hoping that if there's a family out there with
Tegan, that they would know the background and they would know that Keli was the mother, and as
this gets more publicity, we're hoping that they'll come forward and give us the information we
need so that this matter can be finalised.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That disturbing report from Tracy Bowden. The Tegan Lane Inquest is due to begin on
the 20th June. Anyone who may be able to assist police with their inquiries should call Detective
Senior Constable Richard Gaut on (02) 9977 9468.