At Christ­mas 35 years ago

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

her pass­port and, strangely, some sleep­ing pills.

“Back then, $460 was a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money and given that the fam­ily was strug­gling – the fa­ther was out of work – it is un­ex­plained,’’ DetSgt Ward said.

“The in­fer­ence from that is those items would sug­gest to any in­ves­ti­ga­tor she has run away.”

Det-Sgt Ward said a for­mal ap­proach was made to Mr Go­dau to as­sist in the in­quiry which led to him en­gag­ing a lawyer.

“He spoke to po­lice ini­tially but when he was asked about his Land Rover, he sought le­gal ad­vice and that was it,” he said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions have re- vealed he sold the ve­hi­cle to a North­ern Ter­ri­tory tourism op­er­a­tor in the late 1980s and it then dis­ap­peared.

“The op­por­tu­nity to have that ve­hi­cle foren­si­cally ex­am­ined was un­for­tu­nately lost,” Det-Sgt Ward said.

Mr Go­dau, who is now in his 70s, now lives at Sal­is­bury Downs. Some­what strangely, sev­eral busi­nesses he has op­er­ated since Michaela van­ished have fea­tured her name.

The Go­dau case is an his­tor­i­cal ex­am­ple where govern­ment agen­cies did not com­mu­ni­cate as well with one an­other. In all like­li­hood, if wel­fare au­thor­i­ties and po­lice were more co-or­di­nated back then the out­come could have been dif­fer­ent for Michaela.

Child wel­fare au­thor­i­ties were aware con­cerns had been raised about Michaela’s well­be­ing and alarm bells were ring­ing. They had even in­ter­vened, plac­ing her in the care of Angli­care for short pe­ri­ods in or­der to defuse the is­sues at home but po­lice were not ad­vised.

It was over a decade ago that Ma­jor Crime de­tec­tives were able to ob­tain her file which con­tained vi­tal in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

Det-Sgt Ward said ob­tain­ing the file had helped the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, shed­ding light on Michaela’s cir­cum­stances.

“A re­view of the in­for­ma­tion re­veals there were alarm bells raised — a num­ber of is­sues iden­ti­fied in the file raised in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­cerns,’’ he said.

“There is cer­tainly a very dif­fer­ent regime in place now where we have ex­cel­lent co­op­er­a­tion with Fam­i­lies SA.’’

Det-Sgt Ward said other mi­grant friends of the Go­dau fam­ily were re­luc­tant to speak with po­lice at the time and he urged them to now come for­ward if they had in­for­ma­tion that could as­sist the in­quiry.

Mr Go­dau could not be con­tacted for com­ment.

A $1 mil­lion re­ward is avail­able for any­one with in­for­ma­tion that can help solve the case or lo­cate Michaela’s body.

SAD CHRIST­MAS: Her­warth and Emmi Go­dau with sons Axel (left) and Jack just days af­ter Michaela dis­ap­peared.

NO SIGN: Po­lice searched the River Mur­ray, near Moorook for Mar­i­lyn.

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