Fam­ily heartache

Pinjarra Murray Times - - NEWS - Jill Burgess

Rae­lene Ea­ton’s daugh­ter has been missing for more than 40 years.

RAE­LENE Ea­ton was just 16 when she dis­ap­peared along with her 17-year-old cousin Yvonne Wa­ters more than 40 years ago.

One day in 1974, the two had gone to watch a band play­ing at the Ox­ford Ho­tel, Leed­erville, and moved on to the White Sands Ho­tel in Scar­bor­ough.

When they failed to re­turn that night or the next day, po­lice were called but took no ac­tion for sev­eral days.

Rae­lene’s mother Jean, who lives at Fur­niss­dale and is al­most 95, will be among those present at Peel Zonta Club’s an­nual cer­e­mony at the Missing Per­sons Me­mo­rial on the east­ern fore­shore next month.

The girls were be­lieved to have left the ho­tel with three uniden­ti­fied young men driv­ing a white panel van, pos­si­bly with Queens­land plates.

Rae­lene had only a few dol­lars in her purse.

Their bank ac­counts were un­touched and Mrs Ea­ton be­lieves the girls had no rea­sons to run away, par­tic­u­larly as her daugh­ter was sav­ing hard for a trip to Canada.

In a des­per­ate at­tempt to find them, the two fam­i­lies searched Ade­laide, Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and Bris­bane and checked rail­way sta­tions to no avail – but were forced home when their money ran out.

Ten days af­ter her dis­ap­pear­ance, Rae­lene’s older brother was in­volved in a road crash and died two weeks later.

In 1976, the fam­ily put up a $5000 re­ward and the then Pre­mier Sir Charles Court asked po­lice min­is­ter Ray O’Con­nor to in­crease the State Gov­ern­ment re­ward from $3000 to $5000, re­liev­ing the fam­ily of any per­sonal obli­ga­tion.

Over the years, Mrs Ea­ton hoped against hope her daugh­ter might sim­ply walk through the door but is now con­vinced she is dead – al­though she would be only about 60.

The three young men would be in their mid-60s.

Sev­eral years ago, Mrs Ea­ton car­ried out some re­search and found the girls were not on any missing per­sons list, which she found ap­palling.

She said it would be won­der­ful to dis­cover what hap­pened to her daugh­ter.

Some­one, some­where must know some­thing.

■ The cer­e­mony is at the Zonta Missing Per­sons Me­mo­rial on Man­durah Ter­race on Fri­day, Au­gust 3, at 10am and marks the 12th year since the me­mo­rial was ded­i­cated.

Peel Zonta Club mem­bers Mar­garet Wy­att and pres­i­dent Deb­o­rah McLeod at the Missing Per­sons Me­mo­rial with Man­durah po­lice of­fi­cer in charge Dar­ren Hart and Jean Ea­ton hold­ing a pho­to­graph of her missing daugh­ter Rae­lene.

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