She’s not the only woman who spoke out in the TV series. In 2009 Sarah and her friends decided to go to Piha Beach for a bonfire.
“I had to go to the bathroom, so I crossed over the sand dunes and then started walking up the road under the streetlights.
“As I was approaching the toilet, I could hear this really loud car coming down the road towards me. [A man] jumped out of the car and started chasing me. He basically hunted me through the sand dunes.
“I remember running through the sand dunes and falling over. It was dark and I couldn’t see where I was going. He didn’t say a word the whole time and I just ran for my life. I remember him being quite stocky around roughly 30 or 35. He had scruffy hair. The only reason I think he left was because another car was coming down the road.
“I just remember hiding and basically waiting for the noise of his car to go. I told my boyfriend at the time and he sort of laughed about it and didn’t really believe what had happened. I was covered in my own urine from being so scared. It terrified the living shit out of me – it still does to this day.”
Every time someone goes missing Sarah also worries it is because of the man she escaped from.
In early March of 2017, Desislava Stefanova was on her usual run around the Ahuahu/Mercer Bay Loop track. Desislava ran the route every Thursday without issue, but this time she spotted a man staring at her from the side of the path.
“I kept walking and he walked past me and went ahead of me. Then I saw him coming back towards me. Maybe another couple of minutes and he was again catching up with me and walked past me again,” she said.
“At this point, I was thinking, ‘Okay he’s going back and forth to check for people and see if there are people on the track’.
“I was very alert and very aware that I was in danger. When he was reasonably close to me, I heard people’s voices and also a dog barking. I think at this point he gave up.”
At first, she brushed it off as a scary encounter, deciding not to report it to the police. Then a few weeks later Kim Bambus disappeared from the same spot – the spot Cherie Vousden also went missing from in 2012.
“It just hit me that it could have been me and that was when I called the police. Nobody called back for any information. Nobody has contacted me ever since.”
It’s eerily similar to Tia’s experience. Tia and her friend decided to go see the full moon at the Mercer Bay Loop Track one night. They arrived around 6:30pm and started walking towards the lookout – but within five minutes their walk turned into a nightmare.
“We heard a car coming up the hill so fast, like foot to the pedal,” Tia said in Black Coast Vanishings.
“We just knew to hide. We lay down in long grass and this car pulled into the car park, screeched its brakes on and three doors slammed.
“One of them said, ‘Where the f**k are they?’ And they went looking for us. They had a stick and they were going through the bush. Prey basically, that’s how I felt… We were prey. It was just so scary.
“We lay there with our hands on our mouths looking at each other. We basically knew if they found us we were f***ed. We lay there maybe for half an hour and then they went back to the car. I just poked my head up and caught a glance… one of the guys had a mullet and a surfer’s build.”
Tia said they must have seen them from a house along the road because no one was around. A while later she heard about Kim and Cherie.
“That’s when a shiver came over me, that could have been us.”
The missing people
Teenager Quentin ‘Q’ Godwin was the first to vanish in 1992. Godwin left his west Auckland home for his after-school job in Titirangi.
Quentin was a well-liked 18-year-old who people described as lovely and gentle. But before he disappeared his mother Sarah Godwin said he had started to hang out with a new group of people who were known for being trouble.
The last reported sighting of Quentin was him being picked up hitchhiking along Piha Road. He never made it to his after-school job and was never seen again. Over the years there have been numerous suggestions about what might have happened to Quentin.