The disappearance of Quentin Godwin is one of New Zealand’s most notorious missing person’s case, with the case having confused many for over three decades since he vanished.
Originally, all the signs pointed to Quentin tragically taking his own life. However, as time has moved on, doubts have crept in, with the exact nature of what happened to Quentin unknown.
This article reviews this mysterious disappearance. You will also find a poll at the end of the article which we hope you vote on. We will see what the overriding belief is among our readers as to what happened to Quentin.
Quentin Godwin was just 18 at the time of his disappearance in 1992. He resided in Auckland, New Zealand, and attended the local Lynfield College.
Quentin’s parents split up as he grew up. He was brought up by his mother Sarah Godwin and stepfather Steve Edwards. Quentin was very close to his mother.
Quentin had several interests, including the outside and bee-keeping. He also got on well with his siblings.
Quentin had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder during his teenage years. He had received treatment for episodes of Mania – with his moods being up and down.
He had also encountered legal troubles in the year prior to his disappearance, with Quentin being charged with a crime following a drink-driving incident where he was at the wheel. Quentin failed to show up for court.
On 20th May 1992, the day started like any other. Quentin attended college as normal. Later in the day, at around 2.30pm, a family friend later recalled walking past and saying hello to Quentin – who ignored her.
Around an hour and a half later, Quentin’s stepsister saw him writing on paper. Soon enough, Quentin left the Godwin family home to go to work – which was at a local supermarket. However, Quentin never showed up for his shift.
The next morning, Quentin’s sister went to wake him up for school, but Quentin wasn’t there. The only thing that was of interest was a note. The note appeared to be a suicide note.
Following this, there was significant concern for Quentin’s wellbeing. When he failed to return home, his stepfather Steve reported him as missing.
The Police were quick to take action, with a large search taking place. As the note appeared to resemble a suicide note, the Police were quick to search. A search on the Waitakere coastline commenced.
Unfortunately, there was no sign of Quentin. His mother Sarah had been in the United Kingdom at the time of the disappearance – she hurried back to assist in the search.
For most, the note found in Quentin’s bedroom was a clear sign that he had taken his life. This was especially in light of his mental health struggles. The note was very long, but key sections included:
- Quentin saying that “I’ve made up my mind to rid myself of this world” – in a clear indication that he was at least considering taking his own life
- Quentin saying that he’d “failed to be able to fit in with the rest of this society”, with Quentin saying it wasn’t “easy being a misfit”
- In words that screamed of Depression – Quentin said that “after a while you just withdraw into a recluse incapable of functioning normally”. He followed this up by saying “it seems that no matter how hard I try to trust myself and trust others I just don’t cope”
- Quentin also mentioned the negative impact that marijuana and magic mushrooms had on him. He commented that these substances had “sapped” his “brain and body”
The note painted a portrait of someone that was very troubled and seemingly intent on ending their life. His mental health was clearly taking a toll on him.
A woman that knew Quentin said that she saw him hitchhiking. Moreover, this was seemingly later confirmed by a driver who came forward to say he picked up a hitch-hiker that matched Quentin’s appearance on the day he vanished.
There was very little investigation into the disappearance, with all of the signs pointing towards a suicide. However, the lack of body made some question if this was correct.
While many failed to entertain any possibility of anything other than a suicide, the case wasn’t as clear-cut for many, once all of the facts have been taken into account.
Just five days before Quentin vanished, his brother had found a similar note to the one that had been left behind on 20th May. On this day, Quentin had intended to jump from rocks into the ocean, but said that he had “chickened” out – which he told to a truck driver that took him back to Auckland.
An inquest into Quentin’s disappearance took place. At this inquest it came to light that a counsellor that had worked with Quentin had told the Police that Quentin had spoken in the past of taking his own life – but that he had never mentioned doing so at sea, instead focusing on areas where his body couldn’t be found.
Unless Quentin changed his mind, the apparent method he took wouldn’t have been in keeping with his past comments. Of course, this came several years after the counselling sessions – which was certainly enough time for Quentin to change his mind.
The Quentin Godwin case continues to be reported on in New Zealand – where it is a renowned missing person’s case. Owing to its high profile, there has been plenty of interest in the case. There have been some important updates in the years since Quentin went missing.
In October 1993, a phone call was made from Invercargill – a city on the other side of New Zealand to where Quentin had disappeared. The call came from a woman calling herself Marissa. She claimed to be Quentin’s wife and said that her and Quentin had a one year-old child called Jackie. She said Quentin didn’t want to make contact with his family, but was safe. The Police looked into this, but it didn’t provide any leads – with most considering it to be a hoax caller.
In 1995, another call, this time from Wiri, south Auckland, came from a woman that said she was Quentin’s wife. Like “Marissa” before, the woman said Quentin didn’t want to make contract. The call was traced, but there were no further developments. Again, many consider this to be a hoax caller.
Unfortunately, other cruel hoax calls followed. All were looked into, but nothing ever came of the calls. It is unknown if there is any truth behind any of the phone calls. For the Godwin family, it has been incredibly difficult to cope with.
However, in 2014 there was an update which steered the case into a different direction. An anonymous tipster came forward and told the Police that an ex-school friend had confessed to her a few years ago that a car she had been in had struck and killed Quentin.
The tipster said that the four occupants of the car had killed Quentin in this accident and then buried Quentin at Laingholm beach – near where Quentin vanished.
It wasn’t known if this was a hoax or not. But many suggested that whoever it was didn’t have any reason to lie about it. But at the same time, it seemed incredibly coincidental that Quentin would be struck and killed when he had already written what seemed to be a suicide attempt.
Yet in 2015, someone that claimed to have heard the confession made contact with Quentin’s mother Sarah. The woman said she did not want to be identified, but that she had gone to school with Quentin. She said that a school friend had told her that he had a “secret”. To her horror, the friend had told him that he and others had struck and killed Quentin accidentally. They then buried him.
The woman has been in contact with Sarah, but there has been no change in the investigation into Quentin. Therefore, many assume that the information was incorrect, or couldn’t be proven. It isn’t known if the woman who spoke to Sarah was the same person as the anonymous tipster.
As for Quentin’s mother Sarah – she has become a well-known face in the media, and has shone a light on missing people. In 2011, Sarah appeared alongside Kate McCann – mother of the missing Madeleine McCann and Nicki Durbin, whose son Luke Durbin disappeared in 2006. The trio spoke of how the families of missing people needed more support.
She moved to the United Kingdom a few years after Quentin disappeared. She later appeared on TV show Britain’s Got Talent in the “Missing People Choir” – a group that looked to raise awareness of missing people.
In 2014, Quentin Godwin was declared legally dead. The coroner at the time suggested that without further evidence, it would be very challenging to suggest Quentin was still alive.
There are a few different theories that may explain what happened to Quentin. These theories each have their advantages and disadvantages, as will be discussed.
We take a look at the evidence for each of these below:
Theory One: Quentin Godwin took his own life
Most of the evidence points towards Quentin taking his own life. The suicide note left behind clearly showed that Quentin was ready to end his life.
Quentin was suffering from Bipolar Disorder – a condition that is often associated with suicide. With Quentin also having ongoing legal problems, he was clearly in a difficult position.
Most have theorized that Quentin jumped into the water near to where he was last seen. If he did indeed do this and drown, his body may have become lost at sea – which would help to explain the lack of body.
For those that do dispute that this was a case of Quentin taking his own life – the fact that no body was ever found is key. Moreover, Quentin’s family have always disputed this theory.
The Godwin family have all noted that Quentin was not the type of person to take his own life. Moreover, they said that Quentin was afraid of the water – which is not consistent with the belief that Quentin drowned.
Then there is also the part where his brother found a similar note after Quentin had abandoned an earlier possible suicide attempt. While he may well have gone ahead with his plans the second time, it has been argued that Quentin may have been doing all of this in a cry for help. It is possible that he walked away from the rocks again.
Theory Two: Quentin Godwin died through misadventure
If Quentin didn’t take his own life, he may have died through misadventure – most likely through exposure to the elements. The Godwin family had frequently gone hiking in the Waitakere Ranges – a short walk from where Quentin had grown up.
Quentin might have been in a headspace where he felt a walk in nature would help him. The Waitakere Ranges is made up of almost 70,000 acres of woodland. Quentin could easily have got lost. He may have died through starvation, dehydration, a fall, or exposure to the weather.
However, Quentin was used to the ranges and was an experienced hiker. It is unlikely he would have got lost. Moreover, he would have needed to have been in the ranges for a few days to have died from any of the aforementioned causes. It seems unlikely this would happen.
It is also apparent that the ranges are explored and hiked around regularly. The chances of no one coming across Quentin’s body would be very low.
Theory Three: Quentin Godwin was killed in an accident
Prior to 2014, this theory hadn’t really been looked into. However, after the anonymous tipster came forward, the possibility that Quentin had been hit by a car has been treated seriously.
If the story is true, it would explain a lot. It would explain why no body has ever been found, as it was buried by the group. They may have got incredibly fortunate with the suicide note being found.
However, given Quentin’s suicide note, the chances of Quentin dying on his way to taking his life would be miniscule. Then there is also the part where it would be incredibly challenging for the group to all stay quiet.
The chances of four young men keeping quiet about this for decades is low. The guilt would be immense, and surely at least one of them would let slip. While this may feasibly have happened – as seen by the anonymous tipster – it isn’t clear if these accounts are truthful.
Furthermore, the area where Quentin was allegedly buried has witnessed a lot of construction in recent years. This would have involved excavation, which means that if Quentin had been buried there, that this would’ve surely resulted in his body being found. However, there has never been a sign of Quentin.
Theory Four: Quentin Godwin staged his own disappearance
Quentin was in trouble – with a court case looming, ongoing mental health problems and potentially feeling directionless in life. With this in mind, Quentin may have decided to stage his own disappearance.
The lack of body in this case would support this theory. Moreover, if the phone calls discussed earlier were truthful, then this theory may be accurate. Quentin may be living elsewhere, he may even have a daughter, like “Marissa” suggested.
However, staging a disappearance is incredibly complicated. The level of planning that is needed is significant – it would be very difficult for someone as young as Quentin to pull this off, although it is possible.
Given his close relationship with his mother, it does seem unlikely that he would go decades without seeing her. Moreover, Quentin’s face is very well-known in New Zealand, such is the interest in this disappearance. Therefore, it would be very difficult for Quentin to evade anyone spotting him and knowing who he was. The chances are that he would’ve returned at some point – though this has never happened.
With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to cast your vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.
The disappearance of Quentin Godwin rocked his family and the whole of New Zealand – with its impact still felt to this day. While it initially looked like a suicide, as time has gone on, more questions have arisen.
This added doubt has only added to the anguish felt by the Godwin family. They hope that answers will one day arise.