Coroner sparks hunt for missing child after mother's three secret pregnancies
October 28, 2004
A mother whose child went missing just days after her birth eight years ago had hidden the pregnancy from family and friends, a coroner's court was told yesterday.
Keli Lane had also hidden two other pregnancies after which she had the children legally adopted, Westmead Coroner's Court heard.
The court was convened to determine whether an investigation is warranted into the disappearance of Ms Lane's second child, Tegan.
Deputy state coroner Carl Milovanovich has appealed to the public for any information about the child's whereabouts.
"If anybody has any information in relation to Tegan Lane or any other information that the police can realistically investigate, nothing would give me greater pleasure [than] not to have jurisdiction in this matter, but if that is not forthcoming I must investigate this as a suspect death," he said.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Kathy Newton, told the court Ms Lane had given birth to a daughter in March 1995 and a son in May 1999, both of whom she had had legally adopted. Tegan Lane was born on September 12, 1996.
But Ms Lane had kept the pregnancies from her family and from her friends, Ms Newton said.
Tegan, her second child, was reported missing in 1999, when she tried to adopt out her third child. The court was told Tegan has not been seen since she was taken home by her mother to Fairlight two days after her birth at Auburn Hospital.
Ms Lane had given three different accounts to police and authorities about Tegan's whereabouts, the court was told.
In 1999 Ms Lane sent a letter to Anglicare admitting that she had three children and stating Tegan was living in Perth. "There are three children, obviously I can't lie any more as the paperwork is there," she wrote.
"The middle child [Tegan] lives with a family in Perth although I have not had contact with them for some time.
"I know you probably can't believe it ... if my story isn't unusual enough as it already is, I know you probably can't believe it but I know somehow that you can now know I am being honest with you."
She then told police she had given Tegan to a Sydney man named Andrew Morris, later changing the surname to Norris.
The man, believed to be Tegan's father, has denied any knowledge of the baby, Ms Newton said. In 2001, Ms Lane gave birth to a fourth child who lives with her and her partner.
"Keli Lane has given birth to four children, three of them she did not tell anyone about ... she kept them a total secret from all of her friends and family," Ms Newton said.
Public hearings will begin on March 14.