Parents of killed Watton teenager Johanna Young make heartfelt plea

Johanna Young who was murdered in 1992. Johanna Young who was murdered in 1992.

Monday, December 23, 2013
11:38 AM

While Christmas is a happy time for most, it is the season Carol and Robert Young would rather forget.

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Johanna Young's parents Robert and Carol Young. Picture: Ian BurtJohanna Young's parents Robert and Carol Young. Picture: Ian Burt

For 21 years, it has been the stark reminder of when their teenage daughter’s life was tragically cut short. Her killer has never been caught.

Johanna Young had left their Watton home in Merton Road on December 23, 1992, at 7.30pm on what was a cold and foggy evening.

Officers left no stone unturned in the hunt for killer

Johanna's last known movements.Johanna's last known movements.

Press tried to help with the search

Norfolk Police will not give up search for killer

Timeline of events

December 23, 1992

7.30pm Johanna left her home in Merton Road, Watton

7.30pm-8.45pm There were sightings of Johanna in Watton, including outside Mr Chips fish and chip shop in Watton High Street at 8.15pm. It was very cold and foggy.

December 24, 1992

6am Johanna’s alarm goes off and she is not there to switch it off

7am Johanna does not turn up for her paper round and her parents report her missing to the police. The police search is launched.

December 26, 1992

A member of public was walking his dogs in Griston Road, Watton, when he found Johanna’s trainers in the undergrowth.

8.20pm Officers find Johanna’s body in a water-filled pit near the edge of Wayland Wood. A police murder inquiry is launched.


A number of people are questioned in relation to Johanna’s death, including her ex-boyfriend Ryan Firman, but no one is charged.

The EDP receive an anonymous postcard which shows a rough sketch of a motorcycle with stick drawings of a man and girl standing alongside. It carries the words ‘Griston Road, Watton’, the date December 23 and the time 9pm - about 45 minutes after the teenager was seen outside Mr Chips.

June 1993

Johanna’s funeral is held

July 1997

A bench is unveiled in memory of Johanna at a new memorial garden at Wayland Community High School.

May 1998

A new DNA database gives police chiefs fresh hope it would help them with their investigation.

December 2010

A new cold cases section is launched on Norfolk police’s website, including the case of Johanna Young.

December 2013

Johanna’s parents make fresh hearfelt appeal for answers.

When she did not return home that night, her parents had assumed she was with friends or who they thought was still her boyfriend Ryan Firman, with whom she had recently broken up. But they became concerned when she failed to turn up for her paper round on the Christmas Eve of 1992.

Johanna’s body was found on Boxing Day, half-naked in a water-filled pit near the edge of Wayland Wood.

Twenty-one years on from the last time they saw their 14-year-old daughter, Mr and Mrs Young have today made a heartfelt plea for answers.

Mrs Young said: “There must be somebody around who knows what happened. Even if they weren’t there, they may know of something or the person who did it or have been told something.

“It would mean a lot to know who did it and to know what happened. It would put closure to everything and will make it as though she has got justice.

“I just can’t understand why. If it was an accident to start with then why didn’t they come forward straight away? Why didn’t they do something?

“Why did they leave her? It doesn’t make sense. Please come forward. It’s been 21 years. Just please come forward and tell us what you know, no matter how insignificant it may seem. All the details may help find whoever it was.”

The couple, who have two other children, Daniel and Emma, and five grandchildren, said not a day goes past when they do not think about Johanna. They visit her grave at Watton cemetery every Christmas and put flowers on her grave. This year, they have put a Christmas tree.

Mr Young said: “It’s been a long time and we miss her terribly and think of her everyday. She is always there in your mind. You have to push everything to the back of your mind to carry on with normal life.

“She is always there and some days are harder than others. Christmas time is not a very good time of year for us because of that.”

Mrs Young added: “We always try to put off thinking about Christmas until we really have to. Christmas is Johanna being killed. That’s what we think of.”

Fondly remembering Johanna, Mr and Mrs Young said their daughter, who was the middle child, was “bubbly” and “full of life”.

“She could do anything,” said Mrs Young. “Whatever she put her mind to, she would do it and would do a good job.

“We often wonder what she would’ve done. She would’ve been 35 now. She could’ve had a family, we could’ve had extra grandchildren. That’s a slice of our life we will never know.”

The couple, who still live in Merton Road but no longer in the house where Johanna grew up, said they believe the answer still lies within the community of Watton.

Mrs Young, 58, said: “Where she was found, I didn’t even know it was there. It had to be someone local who knew that place. How can you live with yourself? Why have you kept quiet so long?

“I can’t understand it, I really can’t. It doesn’t seem right. I can’t understand how someone can keep quiet all this time when they have known something as big as that, it doesn’t seem possible.”

Mr Young, 60, added: “We want some kind of closure. We hope somebody knows something and that the person gets caught. There is still a possibility.”

1 comment

  • From what I can remember there was a lot of building going on in Watton at the time, which brought workers in from all over the place, which might explain why no one has been caught.

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    Old Long Balls

    Monday, December 23, 2013





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