Missing teen’s troubled life laid bare
MARRED by drug addiction, an inquest has laid bare the troubled life of missing teenager Jasmine Morris - who police believe may have been murdered.
The inquest which is underway in Coffs Harbour heard how, according to some witnesses, the 19-year-old would be injected with hard drugs by a relative before her disappearance.
Some witnesses also claimed this person, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was getting Ms Morris to sleep with men in order to pay for drugs.
Ms Morris' intravenous drug addiction was said to have begun in the year leading up to her disappearance on October 6, 2009, and she has not been seen or heard from since.
Investigations have ascertained that she has not accessed her bank accounts, used her mobile or changed her name since that date.
Counsel assisting Maria Gerace told the inquest in her opening address on Monday that the details surrounding Ms Morris' life were distressing, but would help form some understanding as to what may have happened to her.
No body, nor her possessions, have been found.
Ms Morris is believed to have been born on February 18, 1990 in Victoria, however a search of births and deaths records were not able to track down a birth certificate.
She was brought up by her mother and resided in Shepparton, Victoria at a young age before moving to Coffs Harbour and then Grafton.
The inquest heard that Ms Morris, who was exposed to alcohol and marijuana at a young age, was arrested over 12 times since the age of 12, mostly for a range of property offences.
She was sent to juvenile detention centre and it was following her release that her mother told police her hard drug addiction began.
She came to live with her mother in a caravan park, and her mother believed she was introduced to intravenous drugs by a man who lived at the park. Other witnesses claimed it was the relative who introduced her to these drugs - which included morphine, methamphetamine and oxycontin.
In the time before her disappearance, Ms Morris was said to be battling a severe drug addiction which would leave her "unable to move" at times, and desperate for more.
She reportedly told staff at employment company Tursa that she did not like taking drugs and wanted to be free of her addiction.
It is also claimed that she told staff the relative "taught her to inject."
Tursa made attempts to get Ms Morris into rehab, and in September 2009 she was admitted to a rehabilitation centre. However, after a few days, she was asked to leave.
In October, she went missing.
Counsel assisting Maria Gerace told the inquest that Ms Morris was regularly in the presence of drug users before her disappearance, and this factor would make it difficult to determine exactly what took place on October 6, 2009.
She said there were a number of conflicting witness accounts that the inquest will hear over the week.
The inquest will explore possible explanations including that Ms Morris had overdosed and her body was hidden, or that she was murdered.
She was reportedly last seen in the presence of two men and a woman at a riverside location in South Grafton where drug use would take place, known as 'Sunshine Park.'