Family sure Dunedin woman murdered

Vivien McKenzie and her daughter Kylie Maloney, both of Dunedin,  hold a picture of their late...
Vivien McKenzie and her daughter Kylie Maloney, both of Dunedin, hold a picture of their late niece and cousin Nadine Haag, who they believed was murdered three years ago. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The close-knit family of a former Dunedin woman found dead in her Sydney apartment three years ago remain convinced she was murdered.

Nadine Haag (33) was found dead on December 3, 2009, but while police viewed a note, pills and a razor left at the scene as evidence of suicide, the family disagreed.

That sparked a three-year investigation by her siblings, who recovered evidence including a concealed message with the suicide note, and the same message later found etched into a tile of Nadine's bathroom - "He did it".

That and other evidence has been reviewed by the New South Wales coroner.

Nadine's sister Tasia Haag told the Otago Daily Times from her New South Wales home earlier this week that the family was now awaiting the coroner's findings.

A five-day inquest was held in Sydney in August and was attended by family members from both sides of the Tasman.

Ms Haag said the coroner's findings would determine whether the case would be reinvestigated or not.

"If it goes to an open finding that means the coroner does not know if it was murder or suicide. If it is a referral then that means there is enough to reopen the case and investigate further."

That decision could be made by the end by the year, she said.

Ms Haag said while she could not talk about aspects of the case, she acknowledged the enormous interest on both sides of the Tasman.

She said she and her sisters discovered the "He did it" note when they were giving statements at the Castle Hill Police Station weeks after Nadine's death.

"This 'He did it' note was sealed in a police evidence bag in police custody, which shared the same evidence bag as the supposed suicide note.

"The 'He did it' note was taken by the investigating officers on the day that Nadine was found, it was bagged as evidence and was not opened until [the sisters] attended the police station on December 24, 2009," Ms Haag said.

Her siblings and other family members, which included her Dunedin-based aunt Vivien McKen-zie and cousin Kylie Malon-ey, had worked tirelessly to uncover "whatever inform-ation we can get, whatever information we can find".

Mrs McKenzie, like the rest of the family, did not believe Nadine would have taken her own life.

"She had a lot going for her. She had so much to look forward to and she adored her daughter. She was the most caring, loving girl. Any situation she would brighten you up. Every dream she had she achieved," Mrs McKenzie said.

The former Brockville-based family regularly returned to Dunedin, where Nadine had attended Kaikorai Valley High School and trained as a chef.

The Haag family moved to Australia in the 1990s, with Nadine working as a dance instructor at the time of her death. She was also a marriage celebrant and enjoyed success at body sculpting.

But most of all she loved being a mother and a loved member of a close family.

"She would never ever leave her daughter, she would never leave her family, never. She was in such a good frame of mind because she was going to be moving."

Ms Maloney sports a tattoo on her arm of her late cousin's philosophy - "never stop loving, never stop living, never stop".

Nadine's brother Eden and cousins Tasia, Chantal and Cherie all have the same tattoo.

Ms Maloney said the Dunedin-based family had attended the coroner's inquest and would travel to Sydney to hear the coroner's findings.

Nadine's Sydney-based uncle, Steve Harris, said he spent a day with her in the week before she died.

"She was full of optimism and hope for the future for her and her daughter."

Nadine had been in an allegedly volatile relationship, which she had ended months before her death.

Other evidence includes a missing brown dress she was wearing on the day she died, missing knives, the size of the wound, lack of blood, and toxicology reports indicating she took less than a therapeutic dose of pills. A wound on her left wrist was cut down to the bone.

Police carried out no forensics work at the scene.


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