Woman holidaying in Asia '100% sure' she saw missing man and stepson

A missing persons poster for John and Mike Beckenridge

A New Zealand woman has told a Coroner’s court she was "100 percent sure" she saw John Beckenridge and his stepson Mike Zhao Beckenridge while holidaying on Indonesia's Gili Air Island in June 2015.

The woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, told the court in Christchurch she was taking a walk on the island when she observed an older European man and young Asian-looking boy.

She said it wasn't a common site there, and the boy was much taller than the local children.

As she got closer to the pair, she recognised them as people she’d seen as reported missing.

"At the time I was 100 percent sure it was them, they were in my view for a good five to six seconds, we weren’t in a hurry and I was very confident it was them," she said.

John Beckenridge, 64, disappeared with 11-year-old Mike Zhao-Beckenridge in March 2015.

He had picked his stepson up from his Invercargill school, breaching a recently imposed Family Court order.

A Coronial hearing is being held in Christchurch to investigate what happened and whether the pair are likely to be dead.

The duo were seen in various places in the Catlins in Beckenridge’s car, before it went off a 90-metre-high cliff near Curio Bay a week after the abduction. Their bodies have never been found.

The woman, who claims to have seen them overseas eight years ago, rang her father back in New Zealand and he notified NZ police about her sighting.

She was advised to contact local police.

The court heard how surprised she was that police didn’t want to interview her about the sighting, considering she was "very positive" it was the Beckenridges.

However, she was contacted by a private investigator for Mike’s mother, who worked with her to create a poster with images of the pair based on what she’d seen that day.

John Beckenridge was shown with facial hair, wearing a hat.

She told the court "to this day I have not had a policeman come and see me".

"I was amazed at the time that passed before police approached me for a statement. I have felt throughout the police have not taken my sighting seriously. I was 100 percent sure it was John and Mike Beckenridge that I saw."

The hearing continues.


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