Police reopen cold case of missing woman 12 years on

Natalia Doherty and her estranged husband Gerald
Natalia Doherty and her estranged husband Gerald

Detectives are appealing for help to unravel the mystery of a missing woman with Luton links, more than 12 years after she was last seen alive.

Natalia Doherty has not been seen since April 2003 and officers from the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit believe she has been murdered.

An investigation was launched in January 2014 and officers have spent the last 20 months piecing together the puzzle of her disappearance.

The last-known sighting of mother-of-three Natalia, who was also known by the surnames Wilkanowska and Logan, was in April 2003. Since then enquiries have failed to show any sign that she is alive.

Natalia, who was 50 at the time she went missing, is presumed murdered and investigators have been exhausting all possible angles to establish what happened to her.

Now police are appealing for the public’s help in narrowing down the timeline of her last activities.

It is known that she went to stay with her former husband Gerald Doherty in the Regents Arms in Hastings Street, Luton – which has since been demolished – near the time of her last confirmed sighting in Eastbourne, West Sussex, where she was living at the time.

The exact date she left Eastbourne for Luton is currently unclear, but police believe she left on or after 15 April. Gerald has since died.

Detective Inspector Jerry Waite said: “We know Natalia had close links with the Luton area around the time of her disappearance, and we understand she was brought to stay with her former husband in a pub in the town in 2003.

“This is an extremely complex case dating back more than a decade. While all avenues for investigation are being pursued, we would appeal for anyone who recognises Natalia or her late estranged husband Gerald Doherty from their time at the Regents Arms at this time, to get in touch. Any information could help us to establish exactly what happened to Natalia and bring some closure to her family.

“We appreciate a lot of time has passed since 2003, but no murder case is ever closed and this case is no different. Natalia’s children have been unable to rest not knowing what happened to their beloved mother and we are committed to bringing anyone who may have been involved in her death to justice.”

Anyone who recognises Natalia or Gerald, pictured, from their time in Luton and the Regents Arms in 2003, or has any information regarding her disappearance, is asked to contact the tri-force Major Crime Unit on 101.