Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Beaumont Children Disappearance

The last day and last Wednesday Weird of 2014! So let's get to it.

In 1966 in the suburbs of Adelaide, Australia nine-year-old Jane Beaumont and her siblings, seven-year-old Arnna and four-year-old Grant disappeared into seemingly thin air.

The kids took a five-minute bus ride to Glenelg Beach, a place they often visited, including the day before. That evening, they never returned home, turning into one of Australia's biggest mysteries and infamous cold cases even today.

What we know:

  • Witnesses claimed to have seen the siblings on the beach playing with a tall, thin, blond man in his 30s.
  • The children, and especially Jane, were considered shy, so it was out of character for them to be seen with a stranger.
  • Jane Beaumont was spotted buying snacks (including a meat pie, which the children had never purchased before) with money she did not have when she left the house that day. The shopkeeper knew the children well from previous visits. 
  • A mail carrier who knew the family saw the kids walking in the direction of their home a few hours later. They stopped and spoke with him and seemed cheerful, which is strange because by this point they were 3 hours late for their 2pm curfew.
  • Several months after the disappearance a woman would come forward and say that on the night of their disappearance she saw a man with two girls and a boy enter a house that she thought was empty. Later she saw the boy walking alone until he was chased and roughly caught by the man. The next morning the house appeared to be deserted again.
Related Case:
in 1973 11-year-old Joanne Ratcliffe and 4-year-old Kirste Gordon vanished from Adelaide during a football match after Joanne's parents and Kirste's grandmother let the girls to go to the bathroom.
They were seen multiple times in the 90 minutes they were gone, apparently distressed and with an unknown man. The police sketch of the man resembled that of the man last seen with the Beaumont children.
Possible Suspects:
Bevan Spencer von Einem
  • In 1966 von Einem was 21 years old. Between 1975 and 193 the bodies of four young men and teen boys would be found badly mutilated or subjected to "surgery". Von Einem was arrested and charged for one of these murders.
  • Known as the Family Murders, there was evidence to show that in actuality 4 people with up to 8 associates were involved in the murders of the teens.
  • During von Einem's trial, testimony was given that alleged he was involved in both the Beaumont children disappearance as well as the Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearance.
  • One of the witnesses said von Einem boasted of having taken 3 children from a beach to conduct experiments on them. He said he "connected the children together", but that one of the children died during the procedure so he had to kill the other two.
  • von Einem somewhat resembled the sketches
  • He was known to frequent Glenelg beach to watch the changing rooms and was fond of children
  • The witness said that von Einem also told him that he had taken Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon and killed them.
  • The murders he is associated with, though, bears little resemblance to the Beaumont and Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearances
Arthur Stanley Brown
  • In 1998 Arthur Stanley Brown was charged with the murders of 7-year-old Judith and 5-year-old Susan Mackay in Queensland who disappeared in 1970 on their way to school and were found later, strangled.
  • He was never tried due to suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's after he was charged.
  • With von Einem he's considered one of the best suspects in the case because he bears a striking resemblance to both sketches.

Brown in the 60s
  • Brown's appearance barely changed in the 30 years between the Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearance. In fact, one of the witnesses in that case recognized him as the same man just from a picture on TV after the Mackay murders.
  • Additionally, at the time of the Ratcliffe/Mackay disappearance she had reported that the man she'd seen with the girls had been wearing horn-rimmed glasses. Brown was known to have worn horn-rimmed glasses.
  • Mostly, he's considered a suspect in the Beaumont case because he's such a strong suspect in the Ratcliffe/Gordon case, though he would have been in his 50s during the Beaumont disappearance
Thoughts? Theories?


Matthew MacNish said...

God, so sad. I just want a meat pie.

Maria Zannini said...

I don't know who took them but I hope there's a special hell for evil like that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The second one sounds most likely. Some people are just sick.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm going with Goblin King. Isn't that usually what it is when a little brother is taken and an older sister has to go in after him to try to save him?

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