WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MARILYN?
JUST like with Michaela Godau, Major Crime detectives have little doubt Marilyn Qualmann has been murdered.
Although the two crimes occurred almost seven years apart and are not linked, their circumstances are eerily similar.
Marilyn, 14, disappeared from her Riverland home on Sunday, September 21, 1975. She was last seen by her sister about 9am that day and police were advised by her mother the next day that her daughter had run away from home.
Detective Brevet Sergeant Tanya Mason, the Major Crime case officer, said police now believed she had been murdered and her body disposed of. “She took nothing with her and there have been no confirmed sightings,’’ she said.
Marilyn, who had learning difficulties, attended Glossop special school and often stayed in the Birralee Hostel at Berri. On weekends she would return to the family home at Moorook with her mother, stepfather, an older sister and younger stepsister.
Marilyn had a history of running away from home and would later always be located at a neighbour’s house. On this occasion she simply vanished.
While Riverland police initially conducted missing person’s inquiries, after several weeks the file was passed to major crime when it became apparent Marilyn had not run away.
Police divers conducted searches along a 5km section of the River Murray and extensive land searches were also conducted around her home. Investigations had revealed allegations of abuse. Marilyn’s stepfather – who died in 2004 – was questioned after Marilyn’s disappearance.
“When questioned, he admitted to physically disciplining her, but in his view it was lawful chastisement,’’ Det-Brevet Sgt Mason said.
“She had been seen previously with significant bruising and there was never any proper explanation given for that.
“There is every likelihood the secret of what happened to Marilyn has been taken to his grave,” she said.
A reward of $1 million is available for anyone who provides information that helps solve the case or assists in locating Marilyn’s remains.