Genette Tate
19th August 1978

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Genette Tate disappeared while on her paper round in 1978, leaving nothing behind but her bicycle and a handful of undelivered newspapers - abandoned on a quite Devonshire country lane near her home in Aylesbeare, Devon. Just minutes beforehand she had spoken to friends but has never been seen since. Her parents now believe her to be dead, and it is assumed she was murdered shortly after her disappearance.

Police began a search immediately, but despite the issuance of a photofit of a man "between eighteen and twenty-five with thick blackish eyebrows and a pale complexion" and sightings of a maroon car in the lane at the time, no one has ever been arrested in connection with her disappearance. Some believe that she was a victim of convicted child killer Robert Black, but he too has never been charged.

In 2014, Devon and Cornwall police asked the Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit to look again at Black's potential involvement, but admitted that without Black's co-operation there was little chance of securing a conviction, as no physical evidence exists to tie him (or, indeed, anyone to the case) beyond petrol receipts which place him in nearby Exeter at the time.

Further corroboration came in 1996 when one witness also testified to having seen Black at Exeter airport on that day. She described him leaning back against a red Ford Transit van, watching her children as they played. Whatever their merits evidently these pieces of proof have on their own been regarded as insufficient evidence to formally charge Black.

Some local investigators are heartily sceptical of the suggestion of Black's involvement. He has been questioned on several occasions in the past, and there is nothing to prove that he had any connection with Devon. They also point to contemporary reports of a maroon car - possibly a Triumph - seen in the immediate area around the time of Genette's disappearance. They also hint darkly about an alleged abuse ring - potentially involving family members - in the village at that time. As with the police suspicions about Black, there is little corroborating evidence beyond reminiscences and allusions taken from contemporary accounts.

As with many such cases, a slew of self-proclaimed psychics have involved themselves in the case, further muddying the waters with their visions of the day's events and drawings of the suspects they claim to have "seen."

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 25th November 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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