Natasha ran four times
NATASHA Ryan was a troubled teenager who ran away from home no less than three times before she disappeared on August 31, 1998.
The police officer who first investigated Ryan's disappearance yesterday testified at the trial of 22-year-old Ryan and boyfriend Scott Black in Rockhampton.
Magistrate Annette Hennessy had earlier rejected a submission by defence counsel John McInnes that Ryan had no case to answer on the charge of causing a false police investigation.
Jacqui Gardam, who has since resigned from the police force, revealed Ryan was already known to members of the Juvenile Aid Bureau before the disappearance.
One one occasion, in 1997, her mother Jenny reported her missing after Natasha left home upset that Mrs Ryan would not pick up a friend and take them to a disco.
But her reasons weren't always so trivial ? she disappeared briefly with Black in July 1998 because of concerns over the upcoming release of a prisoner.
Ms Gardam said she had suspicions Black was hiding Ryan, because of his history with the then 14-year-old, but had been unable to find any evidence.
When probed by Mr McInnes about Natasha's history, Ms Gardam replied simply: "I knew she had some issues.''
Ryan sat quietly in Rockhampton Magistrates Court throughout much of yesterday's proceedings, occasionally glancing and mouthing words at Black, who appeared in the courtroom dock.
Black is serving a 12-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to perjury last year.