Spotlight on Beckenridge


A documentary about a mysterious disappearance that’s stumped detectives is in the works, as the search for missing former Queenstowner John Beckenridge and his step-son Mike Zhao-Beckenridge enters its fourth year.

Next Wednesday marks the anniversary of the day the pair seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving few clues other than the wreck of a car at the bottom of a cliff.

On March 13, 2015, 11-year-old Mike was picked up from Southland’s James Hargest College by Beckenridge.

Several days later, the wreckage of Beckenridge’s dark-blue Volkswagen Touareg was found near Curio Bay in the Catlins.

There were no bodies inside, and there have been no confirmed sightings of the pair since March 17, 2015.

Police won’t front for an interview with Mountain Scene, but in a statement detective senior sergeant Stuart Harvey says the lengthy investigation remains active.

“As this is an active investigation, police are not in a position to provide details in regard of the lines of inquiry being undertaken.

“During the course of the investigation a variety of information has been received from the public and this information has been thoroughly assessed and investigated by the inquiry team.”

Picking over wreck: Police recover John Beckenridge’s wrecked car near Curio Bay

Beckenridge, Mike, and Mike’s mother Fiona Lu lived at Lake Hayes Estate until 2014, when Lu met her now-partner Peter Russell and moved into his Invercargill home.

Former Queenstown neigh-bours of the family declined to comment when contacted this week.

However, both say they’ve been contacted by a production company making a documentary about the case.

The company, named by one of them as Greenstone TV, didn’t respond to a request for comment.