6:00pm Saturday 19th May 2012
By Ben Parsons, Crime Reporter
The mother of an art student who went missing 32 years ago this week says she believes the mystery will one day be solved.
Valerie Earl’s daughter Jessie disappeared from her Eastbourne bedsit in May 1980. Her remains were found at Beachy Head nine years later.
Despite three police investigations – including into possible links with serial killer Peter Tobin – her killer has never been found.
Mrs Earl, now 79, told The Argus this week that she believes the answers to the mystery will one day be known despite the passage of time.
She said: “I have always felt that we haven’t come to the end of it. “It is such an unfinished story. I have always felt instinctively that we would hear something else.”
In 2010, Sussex Police dug up gardens and basement areas at Tobin’s former addresses in Marine Parade and Station Road, Portslade.
They did not find any link to Tobin, who lived on and off in Sussex between the 1960s and mid-1980s. He is serving life sentences for the murders of two teenagers and a young woman, in 1991 and 2006.
Mrs Earl, who lives in Eltham, London, with Jessie’s father, John, now 84, said: “I’m torn between thinking it could be him, and thinking it might not be.
“I can alternate between thinking, if he was in the area at that time and had a propensity for that sort of thing, it must be him. Then I think, that is absolute rot.”
Jessie was 22 when she went missing from her bedsit in Upperton Gardens, Eastbourne.
She vanished without trace. Her window was left open and food was left out.
Mrs Earl said: “I felt that a big hand had come down and literally picked her up. It was as though she had literally disappeared.
“I have had the feeling that at some time something will come out.
If it does, it’ll come from a little mention some- where in a paper such as The Argus, or somebody saying something or hearing something.
“At the end of the day, something happened, and somebody did something somewhere.”
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "The case is recorded as a suspicious death. After a detailed investigation there was no evidence to confirm that it was murder. There are no current or recent lines of enquiry."
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