Little Bits of History

Missing Children

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 26, 2014
The three Beaumont

The three Beaumont, Arnna, Grant, and Jane

January 26, 1966: The three Beaumont children go missing. Jane Nartare was 9, Arnna Kathleen was 7, and Grant Ellis was 4 when the children went to Gleneig Beach near Adelaide, South Australia. It was Australia Day and the children were permitted to go and play as they had done many times before. The Beaumont family lived in a suburb of Adelaide and often played at the popular beach-side resort. The day was hot and the children rode the bus, a five minute ride, from their home. Jane was in charge of her siblings, just as many times before and just as many older children were in charge of their younger brothers and sisters. They left home at 10 AM and were expected home by noon.

The children did not return home and by 3 PM, Mrs. Beaumont was worried. Police found many people who had seen the children at the beach. Since they went there often, they were well known. They were seen in the company of a tall blond man in his mid-30s and appeared to be playing with him and enjoying their day. Jane went to a local shop to buy food and used a £1 note for the purchase. Her mother had only given her some coins for the bus fare and a smaller amount of food than what she purchased. The shopkeeper knew the children and testified that the children usually ordered less food when there.

The last the children were seen was around 3 PM when they were seen walking alone along Jetty Road and heading away from the beach. The postman saw the kids and stopped to talk to them since he knew them well. He said they seemed cheerful. Several months later a witness reported seeing a man with two boys and girl entering what she thought was an abandoned house. Later, the man chased the boy who was walking alone and forcibly took him back to the house. The next morning the house was again deserted. She had no explanation about her delay in reporting this. The disappearance of the children caused parents around the nation to think about adult supervision at all times for their offspring. Child care would need to be more careful and was changed according throughout Australia.

The case of the missing children was never solved even though it was one of the largest manhunts on the island. Neither their children or any of their possessions were ever recovered. Mr. and Mrs. Beaumont were never criticized in their care of the children. Kids were simply allowed more freedom at the time. There were several other missing children and teens in the following years. Bevan von Einem was charged with the murder of one of them and is a major suspect in this case as well. However, he was only 21 in 1966. Arthur Brown, James O’Neill, and Derek Percy are also suspected in the case but to this day, it remains unsolved.

As long as we have unsolved problems, unfulfilled desires, and a mustard seed of faith, we have all we need for a vibrant prayer life. – John Ortberg

New York is an exciting town where something is happening all the time, most unsolved.    – Johnny Carson

Anyway, it doesn’t matter how much, how often, or how closely you keep an eye on things because you can’t control it. Sometimes things and people just go. Just like that. – Cecelia Ahern

I’m aware of what’s missing from my life. – Ang Lee

Also on this day: The Hills Are Alive – In 1905, Maria von Trapp was born.
Phantom – In 1988, The Phantom of the Opera opened in New York City.
Bald Eagle or Wild Turkey? – In 1784, Benjamin Franklin debates using the eagle as engraved on the national seal.
Brilliant – In 1905, the Cullinan Diamond was found.

3 Responses

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  1. Sherry said, on February 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

    It must be hideous enough to have one child go missing, but to have ALL of your children disappear – never to be found, no trace of them to ever be found?

    I “lost” my only child for about 45 minutes once when he was 4 years old. We lived in a decent apartment complex at the time, on the 2nd floor. The buildings were set at angles to form semi-enclosed courtyards, where the children could play and be seen by their parents at any time. This was a big part of the reason I’d chosen the place. I called my son in one evening as dusk approached. He came up, then remembered he left a toy on the lawn. I told him, “Go down and get it and come RIGHT BACK. No dawdling! You have 2 minutes. I’m counting . . . GO!” I turned back to the stove, as I’d been making dinner. I lost track of time – my fault. Probably 10 minutes went by before I realized he had not returned. He wasn’t down there when I looked. I called, no answer. I went down, looked and called. Nothing. My stomach was clenched a bit, but more in irritation, I think, at myself. I began walking around, calling his name – each time a little louder. I couldn’t find him. I began expanding my circle beyond our buildings, knocking on doors, calling, going faster and faster. Then I started asking for people to help me look. Everyone I asked did. We lived on a “service road”, which ran parallel to a major highway that formed a loop around our city of 1.5 million people. I suddenly had a vision of my little boy being taken away in some pervert’s car – speeding east down the highway out of the city. A mantra was repeating in my head, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god . . . ” Then panic really set in. We’d been looking for 10, maybe 15 minutes. It was dark by then. I was actually heading – almost running – back to my apartment to call 911 (this was before cell phones), when a small figure came toward me down the sidewalk. There he was. He’d gone into a friend’s apartment, against EVERY rule. He’s almost 27 now, but I will never forget that horrible, horrible 45 minutes.

    • patriciahysell said, on February 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I’m glad your story had a happy ending. I only lost track of the kids for a few minutes every now and then in a crowded store and I would soar into panic mode. Finding them again always had me vacillating between glee at having them and anger at the world for losing them. Parenting is hard work.

      • Sherry said, on February 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        Yes, parenting is hard.

        I had that same mix of emotion you describe when finding your kids after “misplacing” them for a bit. I was so upset after returning to our apartment (the incident above), that I literally couldn’t even look at my son for about a half hour! I kept my attention on the supper preparations until I calmed down.

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