At Christmas 35 years ago
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.