My name is Simone and I live in Regensburg, in the south of Germany, but I was called Simi by my friends. I grew up in Germany by my father, Paul and mother, Erwine. I have no brothers and sisters, and he has no brothers or sisters, either. The grandparents of my mother and father died many years ago, so we are a very small family.
I studied in a top Gymnasium in Munich, which is similar to high school, graduating with honours. My plan was to study law in University abroad, somewhere in France or the UK perhaps, but before I studied, I wanted to travel first and experience the world before I became a poor university student, and to camp with my mother who would come to visit me in Australia.
She had been planning a camping holiday in Australia for many months, mapping out exactly where she wanted to go, so my plan was first fly to Australia to work abroad, make some new friends, and come back to Europe to start enrolling for University. In Germany, Australia is thought of a very large, hot and country full of adventure where the people are very friendly, so it was no issue for me to get to her in Melbourne from Sydney.
I did not have a lot of money, so the plan was to hitchhike to Melbourne from Sydney which was about 900 kilometres away, and catching rides and walking would take me about 3 days. I thought it was doable and was so excited to experience this. My mother would fly to Sydney, and meet me in Melbourne on 22 January once I made it there.
I kissed and said good-bye to my parents, then caught a Qantas flight to Sydney in October, 1990. When I arrived, I stayed at a backpackers lodge not far from the city centre. With connections from the Backpackers lodge, I worked part-time at a bar and at a cafe. In my spare time, I visited the popular attractions such as Luna Park, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Opera House. I spoke to my parents every day and mailed them a postcard each week. I met a friend called Alice, and she showed me some cool things about Australia, and invited me many times to her house for dinner. I appreciated this so much as the money I made was taxed greatly, so I did not have much to spend for food.
Every night, I planned my hitchhiking using a tourist book, and I did this at Alice’s house too. Her mother, Doris, warned me about hitchhiking because it is not safe, but the book showed me the safest places to hitchhike, so I planned my path accordingly and planned to go the next morning. She appeared to be a very paranoid lady in my time of knowing her, so I did not think too much into her concerns. Besides, every Australian I had met were true to their reputation in Germany.
The next morning, I left the backpacker lodge and took the train at the Sydney railway station on 20 January, 1991. Once I arrived to Campbell Town, I was going to hitch a ride from a car and take the M21, M23 and B23 highways to get to Melbourne, hiking in between depending on how far I could get a ride.
After arriving in Campbell town, I walked for many hours out-of-town but I didn’t get many cars driving past. When I put my thumb out, no one was stopping for me. This started to make me feel worried as a bit part of my plan to get to Melbourne and cut down time was to get rides from cars. It was so hot that day, and I was getting so tired. My legs had not walked for that long before and my hair kept getting in my face that I used a scarf to tie it up. My glasses were also getting foggy from my sweat. It was getting dark and not a single car had stopped or even slowed down for me, so I had to consider camping for the night. I was equipped with a sleeping bag and some food, but I wasn’t near any towns so I had to find somewhere safe to sleep.
As the sun fell, some headlights appeared from behind me. I put my thumb out again, this time the red four wheel drive slowed and pulled in front of me. I walked up to the car and talked to a man. He was good-looking with dark hair, blue eyes and a moustache. He said: G’day, looks like you need a ride. I was so thankful that someone had stopped. I got into the front passenger seat. He asked me: Where are you headed? I told him: to Melbourne. He told me some nice things about Melbourne and things to see when I got there and offered to take me the whole way.
I thought to myself that I was very lucky to finally find someone and this someone would take me the whole way. I asked him: Why are you going to Melbourne? He told me: I have some unfinished business there. I thought it was strange but I was distracted by the beautiful Australian landscape. He asked my name, I told him Simone. He replied: Ivan, and we shook hands. What brings you to Australia? he asked. I told him about my plans for travel and that my mother is coming to visit me in a few days. He suddenly laughed and made me feel uncomfortable. Something about that laugh did not feel right, kind of creepy. He then just kept staring.
We passed the town called New Berrima. A few minutes later, he turned into a dirt road from the highway. I asked him where we were going. He told me that we were taking a shortcut, but it was in the wrong direction. We were driving south to go to Melbourne, however he turned right into this dirt road which didn’t seem right.
Atthat point, I started getting very worried. I asked him to pull over. He ignored me. I asked again. He did not acknowledge me. I took my seatbelt off. He looked at me and demanded that I put it back on. I refused. I opened the car door and rolled out of the car with my backpack in hand. Ivan was still driving but slowed down and pulled over. I got to my feet and saw he had stopped, so I grabbed my backpack and started running back towards the highway. He got out of his car and suddenly there was a loud bang in the air, like a gunshot. I looked back and saw him standing there. He had a big shotgun so suddenly I got off the road and ran into the trees.
I was running through a forest and I had no idea where I was going. I ran into a tree branches itchy bushes. My face was saw and itchy, probably cut up from all the branches attacking me and the bushes caused me to become itchy all over. My heart beat so heavily as if it was coming out of my chest.
I was running and scratching but that was nothing compared to the fear I felt as I heard Ivan calling my name in the distance. Simi… Simi… You can’t hide forever, Simi. I kept running, hoping to find a way out to the highway or at least a camper or someone who could help me. Ivan grew fustrated, shouting my name louder and more aggressively. SIMI! YOU CANT FUCKING HIDE HERE. I AM GOING TO FIND YOU AND SHOOT YOU FUCKIBG DEAD!
Finding refuge in a densely vegetated area, I laid low and realised this was my chance to write something down for when someone found this. I know I am going to die by Ivan and I want everyone to know this prick killed me.
So if you’re reading this post, I am dead at the hands of the man who calls himself Ivan. His car is a red four wheel drive with license plate QBY-388 – New South Wales.
Erwine arrived in Melbourne on 22 January as she had agreed with her daughter, but Simone was not there. She alerted police after a few days and stayed in Australia for 6 weeks, hoping her daughter was just late and became lost. Sadly, Simone never made it. Her remains were found by Police Constable Jeff Trichter. There was some torn clothing found near her skeleton but didn’t belong to Simone. There were over 8 stab wounds, two to her spine which may have paralyzed her and others punctured her heart and lungs.
Her final words were found on paper rolled up in a tree in a densely forrested area not far from her skeleton.