“It is with me always. Always.” Kate heard her daughter's final moments before she was raped and murdered by her stepfather.

Warning: This post deals with murder, suicide and sexual assault. It may be triggering for some readers.

Mother Kate Salinger chose to stay at home in Lake Macquarie in New South Wales when her husband of almost a decade and teenage daughter Sam went to the movies.

Little did Kate know she would never see either of them again.

Instead, she would spend the night awake, waiting for their return, troubled by the fearful voice of 14-year-old Sam over the phone, the teenager unable to tell her mother where she was and worried about the faulty phone connections.

Every time she called her husband’s phone she would only receive voicemail.

That night in 2003, young Sam was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and later murdered by her stepfather.

Instead of her promised trip to the movies, she was driven into bushland and repeatedly raped before being put into a car and driven head-first into a rock wall in what was ultimately a murder-suicide.

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Sam was just 14-years-old when she died. (Image via Facebook: What Kate Did Next)

And now, 13 years on from that horrific night, her loving mum Kate has written about her trauma and about the toxic memories that instantly returned upon a recent network outage which left her unable to contact her loved ones.

On her blog ‘What Kate Did Next‘, Kate has spoken out about fear, the stress that weighs down on her like concrete, and the overwhelming love she has for her beautiful girl.

“On the night my beautiful daughter was murdered I rang the mobile phone of her killer dozens and dozens and dozens of times. It was turned off. I didn’t understand. It was never turned off. They were meant to be at the movies though, so maybe the film hadn’t finished yet? I didn’t understand…

“I rang the mobile phone of her murder again and again and again for hour after hour after hour. It stayed off. I couldn’t work it out. It was night time and there was still no answer and I started to ring hospitals because the only horrible conclusion I could come to was that there must have been an accident. But there was no accident. It was not an accident.”

Watch a snippet of Kate’s tribute video to her daughter Sam below (post continues after clip).


Video via Kate Salinger

After what seemed like an eternity of trying, Sam answered.

“At about twenty past eleven on the night my daughter was murdered, after I had called the police to say my daughter and her murderer were missing I called the mobile phone again. And my daughter answered.

“I asked where she was and she said she could not tell me. I asked her yes and no questions – I heard her say to her murderer “She doesn’t understand”. The phone dropped out at her end. I could still hear my daughter but she could not hear me…

“I heard my beautiful daughter’s voice as she said, not screamed, just said “Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad.” Over and over again. Still calling him Dad. And then I hung up so I could call the police back to let them know Sam was answering the phone. When I tried to call her back there was no answer.”

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A photo of young mum Kate and Sam (Image via Facebook: What Kate Did Next)

To Kate’s horror, those moments on the phone and those unbelievably calm words would be Sam’s last.

“Later, when I got my phone bill and read the witness statements I realised there were probably only seconds between my hanging up the phone and the car my daughter was in hitting the rock face wall on the expressway.

“When I heard her saying “Please Dad” she was begging for her life as she hurtled towards a rock wall. I just missed hearing the impact and I am glad for that. Because for half an hour longer, until the police car pulled silently up in front of my house in the dead of night, I still had hope my daughter was alive.”

You can follow Kate Salinger on Facebook or on her blog What Kate Did Next.

Have you experienced trauma from a phone call?

If you or a loved one is struggling Mamamia urges you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the National Sexual Assault Support Hotline on 1800 RESPECT. Alternatively, visit this website.

You can watch Kate’s full tribute to her daughter below.

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