When Revelle Balmain was four years old, she found her baby brother, Matthew, floating in her family’s backyard swimming pool.
In light of the ‘secret life’ she would go on to lead in her early 20s, Revelle’s mother Jan believes she never fully recovered from the trauma. It’s an event Jan recalled to the Coroners Court in 1999, when she was given the opportunity to speak publicly about the loss of her daughter.
“I don’t believe she is alive,” Jan added. “I believe she has been murdered. Her life has been taken from her, so quickly and so unacceptably.”
“We need an opportunity to say goodbye.”
It was a Saturday morning in November, 1994, when Jan Balmain started to feel something was very wrong. She was waiting at a Newcastle train station for her 22-year-old daughter to arrive from Sydney, to have lunch before Revelle flew to Japan for six weeks. When the train arrived, however, her blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter wasn’t there to meet her.
The previous day had been Revelle’s last day of work before her trip. Her parents, Jan and Ivor, didn’t know that at the time, the model and aspiring dancer was working for two separate escort agencies. It’s also believed Revelle was a frequent cocaine user, and that her plan to go to Japan was an attempt to escape Sydney’s ‘seedy’ world of drugs and underground sex work.
On Friday November 5, 1994, Revelle was working for escort agency Select Companions, and had a 4pm appointment with a man named Gavin Samer. She then had a booking with two associates of Zoran Stanojevic, the co-owner of the agency.
This is where the details get murky.
It appears Revelle never made it to her second assignment. In a statement to police, obtained by The Good Weekend in 1999, for an investigation by Caroline Overington, Gavin Samer said he entered into a private agreement with Revelle after their official appointment ended. Once this was over, he said, he dropped her off at the Red Tomato Inn in Kingsford, before returning home alone.
The last known contact Revelle had with anyone close to her was a phone call to her best friend Kate Brentnall at 7.15pm. She told her she’d call when she got home in an hour and they’d meet up for drinks. Kate, however, never heard from, or saw, her best friend again.