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CCTV may hold
clue to missing girl
Selma Milovanovic and Simon Mann
October 1, 2008 .
CROATIAN police last night were finally expected to view
security camera images taken on the night that Melbourne
backpacker Britt Lapthorne went missing from outside a Dubrovnik
night club two weeks ago, after a bungle in which they initially
received wrong footage.
As the hunt for the whereabouts of the RMIT business student
intensified, the Lapthorne family said they were posting a
€100,000 ($A176,000) reward for information leading to the safe
return of their daughter, who police fear may have been
Other Australian officials also rallied support, with Senator
Steve Fielding contacting the Lapthornes from Croatia, where he
is on a parliamentary trip.
Ms Lapthorne, 21, was last seen leaving Club Fuego in Dubrovnik
on September 18. Her older brother, champion cyclist Darren
Lapthorne, is searching for her in the popular tourist town. Her
father, Dale, and boyfriend Simon Ingberger, also intend
travelling to Croatia.
A bouncer working at Club Fuego has told Darren Lapthorne that
he saw Britt leaving the club with five other young women and
two men. He said there were two cars and the women were
unwilling to go with the men. But he did not see Britt get into
Darren Lapthorne said the delay in viewing the CCTV footage was
frustrating. "It's taking a long time and it's time that Britt
doesn't have," he said. "She's paying for this time right now.
We are desperate … it's not looking good."
Croatian police have admitted they have no leads in the case,
which they were treating as a disappearance, not a murder. "This
is not a crime movie where you quickly arrive at an answer,"
county police spokesman Ivan Kukrika said.
"The police are doing everything they can. These sort of
problems cannot be solved in a day or two — as people may expect
— but systematically."
Police would not comment on a Croatian TV report that a member
of the public had seen Ms Lapthorne on the island of Sipan four
Police would not reveal whether they had checked two local phone
numbers Ms Lapthorne is believed to have called from her mobile
on the night she disappeared. But they confirmed that with
Interpol's help, they were checking the mobile records of other
backpackers who travelled with her.
An Australian Federal Police officer has travelled to Dubrovnik
from London to assist in the search and a homicide detective
from Croatia's capital, Zagreb, has also joined the