The search for two teenage girls missing for a week ended tragically yesterday afternoon with the discovery of their bodies in rugged bushland east of Melbourne.
And in an eerie twist, one of the girls may have posted a final goodbye to her boyfriend on the MySpace website the day before she and her friend vanished.
A resident of Walbundry Avenue, Ferntree Gully, found the bodies of Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier, both 16, near his house. It is believed they had been dead for a number of days. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.
“One of the local property owners on Walbundry Drive saw a couple of people who he thought were getting quite close and comfortable,” Sergeant Andrew Herdman of Belgrave police said.
“He had a second glance about half-an-hour later and realised that they were still in the same spot, went to investigate and found the two females.”
The spot where the bodies were located is in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and commands views of Melbourne’s east, including the city skyline.
The Upwey High School students left their homes in Belgrave, in the Dandenong Ranges, at 9.30am on Sunday to meet friends. Last week, while pleading for information about his daughter, Robert Gater said she “seemed all very happy” as she left to go shopping with Stephanie at Ringwood’s Eastland Shopping Centre.
The two girls were part of the “emo” subculture, named after a type of music characterised by an emotional and confessional tone. Emo fans are classified as introverted, sensitive, moody and alienated, and are derided by other subcultures for self-pitying poetry commonly posted on the MySpace website.
Jodie had a MySpace profile titled “let Steph and me b free”. An image of a glass full of absinthe and the words “let us blow your mind” were among simple decorations on the page.
The last message she posted on the site was dedicated to her boyfriend, Allan.
“I luv you sooo soo much Allan, Miss u heaps and heaps xoxoxo I will always remember u,” the teenager wrote. A picture of Jodie and Allan kissing was posted next to the message.
Jodie last updated her page on April 14, a day before she and Stephanie went missing.
In an online message to her boyfriend last Christmas Eve, Jodie wrote: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.”
Her own web page featured a flashing message that said “f— this world/everything that you stand for/don’t accept/don’t give a s—/don’t ever judge me”.
On her website, Jodie describes her friends as her “heroes”.
“Also got to love my crazy friends for being there for me even when I’m being really annoying, a c— or a complete stupid f— that u would just wanna punch out. Thank you all so much guys, luv yas.”
After their disappearance, several friends posted messages urging the girls to contact them via MySpace.
Yesterday, a simple message on one website read: “R.I.P. Jodie and Steph”.
For help or information visit beyond blue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline on 131 114.