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The mysterious disappearance of the Beaumont children: a 54-year investigation


Source: onliner

This story is rightfully considered the most mysterious in Australia. Traces of the children of the Beaumont family, law enforcement officers have been trying to find for a long 56 years and do not lose hope that the perpetrators will be punished, says onliner.

Photo: Shutterstock

Four-year-old Grant Beaumont and his sisters, nine-year-old Jane and seven-year-old Arnna, went to the beach near their home near the Australian city of Adelaide in January 1966. In the middle of the day, they disappeared without a trace, and the witnesses only remembered that they had seen children similar in description, accompanied by a tall blond. For 56 years, the fate of the guys is not known. The best detectives took on the investigation, a well-known psychic was involved in the case (or rather, a person who called himself that), the police interviewed many people, but nothing brought them closer to the solution. The disappearance of the Beaumont siblings is being called the longest-running child disappearance case in Australian police history.

Under the supervision of an older sister

January 26 is annually celebrated as Australia Day - the main national holiday of the country. The family of Jim and Nancy Beaumont did not have any special plans that day in 1966, except that the head of the family, a clothing seller, was going to negotiate with clients in a neighboring city. There was a bus from their house in Somerton Park to Glenelg Beach. Parents sent three children to the beach before lunch to splash in the water and sunbathe on a hot day.

The children had to drive to the place themselves. Now, given their age (from 4 to 9 years old), this seems like frivolity on the part of their parents. But 56 years ago, times and conditions were very different. No one had ever heard of maniacs and kidnappers in Australia, and besides, the elder Jane was responsible and serious beyond her years - she always watched her younger brother and sister. And the road was very short: five minutes by bus. The mother gave the children six shillings and sixpence for travel. The children left the house in the morning, and from that moment the parents never saw them again.

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The children agreed with their parents that they would return at about two o'clock in the afternoon. Nancy, the mother of the children, went to meet them at the bus stop, but they were not on the bus that arrived. The woman thought that the children played too much and did not have time for this flight, or they spent all the money and went home on foot. But they were not in the other bus either, as in all subsequent ones. Nancy was torn: should she go to the beach herself or wait for the kids at the bus stop near the house? In the first case, she could miss them if they did get on one of the buses. On the other hand, if the guys get lost or in trouble, it's better to go looking for them as soon as possible. Nevertheless, Nancy went to the beach - there were no children there. She returned home and reported everything to her husband. He called the police at about 19:20 p.m.

One pound

In the evening, a search operation began with the participation of police officers, volunteers, and water rescuers; the children's names were announced on the radio. Initially, there was an assumption that they drowned. But there were other people on the beach who would have noticed something unsettling. Another, more weighty detail against the drowning version is that the children disappeared with all their belongings and clothes. At the same time, they definitely reached the right place: the driver of the morning bus remembered that the guys got off at a bus stop near the beach, they were briefly seen by other vacationers.

A large crowd of local residents gathered at the entrance to the small police station - everyone wanted to share their version with the detectives and tell what they saw that day. Station officer Mostyn Matters recalled that the disappearance of the children almost stopped the work of the police: all forces were thrown into the search for the three Beaumonts - other crimes seemed to fade into the background.

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Information from eyewitnesses came in handy: several people reported seeing children matching the description, accompanied by a tall, thin and tanned man with short blond hair. More importantly, the older girl, Jane, was remembered by a saleswoman in a bakery who bought cookies and a meat pie with a one-pound note. The parents of the children were sure that they did not give them such a banknote: Nancy remembered exactly that she had given only a trifle - shillings and pence. Detectives believe that the same man gave the girl a pound.

Mysterious man

Several people saw him on the beach. An elderly woman sat on a park bench by the beach and remembered well three children who first bathed in the beach shower and then played with a young man in blue swimming trunks. It was about eleven o'clock in the afternoon. After a detailed description of the clothes of the children, the police had no doubts: the woman saw exactly the Beaumont. She recalled that from the outside everything looked harmless: children ran around a man who was lying on a towel, jumped over him and played.

Another woman also saw a man in blue swimming trunks, accompanied by three children. The man even approached her and asked if she had seen someone suspicious near the left things: they say, money had disappeared from her pockets. The witness did not notice anything strange: the children felt free in the company of a man, he helped the older girl put on shorts over a bathing suit - from the side it seemed that this was their father. Also, the guys in the company of a man matching the description were seen by a tourist at about two in the afternoon on one of the streets nearby.

There are a lot of weird things about money. First, if a man in blue swimming trunks is a kidnapper, then why ask a random woman if she saw someone near his things? In this case, the witness will accurately remember the potential criminal. Or did the kidnapping plan matured later? Secondly, if the money really disappeared, where did the older girl, Jane, get the pound?

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But even more cryptic information was provided by another witness, a postman named Patterson. He claimed to have seen the children alone, without adults, at about three in the afternoon. According to Patterson, he could not be wrong: it was Arnna, Jane and Grant. The children walked along the road towards their home.

The detectives did not have a puzzle: the man who played with the children on the beach raised many questions and was clearly asking for the status of the main suspect. But what if it was just a kind uncle? According to the postman, the children were alone on their way home. So they were kidnapped after the man left. It is possible that someone else took the children away by car. And again the questions arise: how were the children, especially the circumspect Jane, persuaded to get into the car with a stranger?

The children were seen, but it was too late

With valuable testimony from witnesses, the case did not advance much. Nobody recognized the man from the beach by the composite composite. This again indirectly speaks of his involvement in the abduction: the case was widely covered, and the man must have understood from the newspapers that they were looking for him, and in that case he could have come to the police himself. Or the blond was afraid that, for lack of a better version, the kidnapping would be hanged on him. The police interviewed all local residents, the authorities and the newspaper The Truth appointed awards (6 thousand and 5 thousand dollars, respectively) for information about the missing children.

A month after the disappearance of the children, a woman from a suburb about 8 kilometers from the Beaumont house contacted the police. She said that on the night of the day Arnna, Jane and Grant disappeared, she saw a man with three children in a neighboring house. As she believed, that house was empty. The little boy left the house and walked along the path when the man caught up with him, grabbed him and carried him back to the house. The next day, the woman did not see anyone in the house. This was possibly the most significant police lead. For an unknown reason, the witness reported what she saw only a month later.

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Combing the coastline came to nothing. Experts are sure that if the children drowned or were killed and thrown into the water, then the current would carry the bodies to the shore, or at least some of their things.

Psychic tour

In November 1966, almost a year after the disappearance of the children, Gerard Croise, a well-known parapsychologist and psychic from the Netherlands, joined the case. He was brought into the investigation by a local businessman. Croiset was completely useless: he often changed versions, somehow settled on the theory that the remains of the children were walled up under the concrete floor of a freshly built warehouse. The police had no reason to search there: the testimony of a psychic is not evidence. But the public was so interested in the case that the property owners had to give permission to disassemble the concrete for the payment of $ 7 in compensation for subsequent repairs.

Croiset, meanwhile, basked in fame: he went to television and radio programs, sometimes pretending that he felt ill - this, they say, is a sure sign that he "attacked the trail." The concrete floor of the warehouse was pierced, just in case, they dug up the ground around - not a single trace of children. In the future, Croiset was overshadowed by new visions, but his words were no longer taken so seriously.

Two years after the disappearance of their children, Nancy and Jim Beaumont received a letter without the author. It dealt with a meeting with the kidnapper to hand over the children to their parents. Beaumont contacted the detectives who were investigating, and went with them to the agreed place. But there was no one there. After that, a second letter was sent to the parents: it said that the kidnapper noticed the investigators and fled. This letter was believed to be written by Jane, the eldest daughter. For a long time, parents and the police believed that the letters were genuine, and this said at least one thing: the children are alive. However, later it became known that the letters were fake: someone wrote them just for fun.

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Over the next 10 years in Australia, there were several high-profile crimes, the victims of which were children. The maniacs were mostly found, the police were looking for links between these crimes and the disappearance of the Beaumont children, but there was still no evidence.

In 2013, another version appeared: businessman Harry Phipps was suspected of the crime. His son recalled his father's tendencies towards children, and the description of the man from the beach coincides with Phipps. In addition, it is known that he often swam there. Moreover, there is information that Harry paid local guys to dig a hole the size and depth of a grave in the territory of his factory. It happened three days after the disappearance of the children.

Excavators dug for several hours the territory where, according to the recollections of teenagers, they dug a hole on behalf of Phipps. Again, nothing: the detectives reported that they found only the bones of large animals - presumably cows, horses and sheep. Harry Phipps himself can no longer be interrogated: he is dead.

The disappearance of the Beaumont children has become a local legend. It is getting harder and harder to solve the kidnapping of Grant, Jane and Arnna every year: the only identikit is out of date, there are practically no witnesses, the suspects are dying, and it is impossible to establish new ones, since too much time has passed.

Nancy, the mother of the children, passed away in 2019, she was 92. Jim Beaumont lives in Adelaide. For information on missing children, an Australian $ 700 million (almost $ XNUMX) award is still relevant.

It is important

The general rules of behavior for children with strangers have probably been imposed on everyone's teeth: do not talk to anyone, do not be fooled by gifts and offers to see something interesting. Alas, the recommendations do not always work: children around the world are still victims of crime or find themselves in dangerous situations. The main thing is that the recommendations voiced many times should not only be remembered, but also should not be shy to use if necessary. This “rule of five nots” needs to be conveyed to every child:

  • Don't talk to a stranger.
  • Do not let him into the house.
  • Don't take gifts.
  • Don't get into the car.
  • Do not go with him into the staircase or elevator.

The same applies to any requests: help find the escaped dog, save the kitten, and so on. The child needs to know for sure that only parents or relatives can pick him up from kindergarten or school. If another person (a distant relative, family friend, driver) is to meet, one of the parents must warn the child and the caregiver about this.

The main rule for a child when a stranger sticks to him is to attract as much attention to himself as possible. People around can take children's cries for capriciousness, but the cries of "I don't know him!", "Police!" and attempts to escape (if the person is holding the child) will alert people.

When a child disappears, efficiency plays a vital role: the first step is to report the incident to the police and store guards if the disappearance occurred there.

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