I cannot begin to imagine the utter frustration and anguish Britt Lapthorne’s parents must be feeling at the lack of effort and compassion shown by authorities both here and in Croatia in regards to their missing daughter.
Since witnessing Britt’s mother on Channel Nine’s Today Show early Monday morning I have felt a huge amount of frustration myself. My heart went out to her as I watched her on the verge of collapse – she clearly feels hopeless and desperate. How could this be happening? I could not help but draw parallels to the feeling of devastation my own mother would be experiencing if she were living through this same nightmare. And, perhaps somewhat naively, I would expect that she would be supported in every way, by everyone.
As I listened to, and researched, the small amount of information relating to Britt’s disappearance the detective inside me was switched on immediately. I was unable to concentrate on anything else other than how I would go about investigating the case if I suddenly found myself in Croatia. I even found myself checking and double-checking my available funds in order to get to Croatia to assist the family by discovering what may have happened to their beautiful daughter.
Having a solid background as a Police detective and covert operative I immediately began contacting media outlets that may fund my expenses in return for breaking news stories, and possible leads into Britt’s disappearance. At no time did I want or expect any fees or payments for myself.
I found the lack of interest amongst major media circles to be extremely disappointing to say the least.
I still have true concerns however about Australia’s commitment to the investigation. It does not surprise me in the least the lack of effort shown by the Croatian authorities - they have never had a high standing in the professional ranks of Police forces around the world. But us Aussie’s – shouldn’t we be moving heaven and earth to find one of our own?
Further to this, the deployment of one, yes one, Australian Federal officer from the United Kingdom, I believe, is simply an attempt by the Government to be seen to be taking action - but I say too little, too late. Basically, he will take no further role other than to liase with the Croatian authorities and our own. It should also be stated that Federal Officers have about as much street smarts as the family located in the Austrian basement earlier this year.
And need I make mention of the comments outlined in a recent article that Foreign Minister Stephen Smith needed to ‘take the day off’ due to jet lag upon his arrival in Croatia. I suggest he may have worked through the jet lag had it been his own daughter missing.
I hope for the sake of Britt’s family and Britt herself (should she still be alive) that some real criminal street investigators are utilised sooner rather than later if there is any hope of discovering the truth behind her disappearance. Some good old fashioned policing without worrying about whose toes are being stepped on is the only way we are going to find Britt. We are obviously not dealing with a major criminal organisation, and that means there are ways and means to get some good information from those in the know.
I also do not believe that the reported figure of $200,000 is needed as a reward incentive. In these circumstances people are going to sell out friends and associates for a lot less. Croatia’s public are not exactly at the high end of the financial security spectrum just yet.
So, let’s all hope that PM Kevin Rudd is seriously committed to our Aussie backpacker in trouble, and not just paying lip service to a family already seemingly abandoned by him and his Government.