IT was a heartfelt plea from Down Under to help find a trace of her vanished father.
Now, after Gina Harris, 61, made an appeal to Olive Press readers a month ago, she made the 10,700-mile journey from Australia to start to piece together the clues.
All she knew was her dad Geoffrey Cameron Harris, lived on the Costa del Sol in the 1960s and apparently died in 1962.
It came after he had declared he was gay and left the family for his boyfriend ‘Pepe’.
From a series of charming black and white photos, she hoped to find her old home in Torremolinos and ultimately discover how her father – a mink breeder – had died.
While that still eludes her, she does at least know that the home was in fact in Benalmadena… and it still stands today and is owned by a foreigner with the surname Jura.
The Olive Press has discovered that the home in question ‘Villa Monterey’ was sold by her father to a Bertha Clausen Stuart on December 12, 1961.
It was sold six months after Gina and her mother and sister sadly bade their father farewell and left Andalucia for Australia for a new life.
It emerged he moved to an apartment in the celebrated gay area of Torremolinos La Nogalera the same year, but there is no official trace of him buying or selling it.
“I’ve kind of hit a brick wall,” she told the Olive Press, now back in Australia. “I am still no closer to finding what happened to dad but I am beginning to build a story.”
She has now employed a lawyer to try and trace the Clausen family and search death notices, although the Olive Press was unable to find any trace at the celebrated English Cemetery in Malaga, which would have been the likely place of burial for an expat in the 1960s.
What is however, an incredible coincidence is that an employee at Torremolinos tourist office, who had read our original story and agreed to help Gina, turned out to be linked to her family home.
“Inka was fantastic. I was there for over an hour as she made phone call after phone call,” said Gina. “Then two days after I got home to Melbourne I got a call telling me that Inka’s own stepfather had actually owned the house.
“It was such a shock to her. Apparently he had been trying to sell it for 10 years – last year he gave it to his daughter and oversaw some renovations. Then it sold.
“She also told me her neighbour had visited my father’s apartment in La Nogalera, so I guessed he moved there after selling the house.
“What I need to know is what happened next? But thank you so much for publishing the article. Memories that have been dormant for years are now surfacing.
“I am sure we will finally piece together the puzzle.”
Can you help Gina find out how her father died? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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