Beaumont kids breakthrough
IT’S A COLD CASE THAT HAS REMAINED ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S MOST ENDURING MYSTERIES FOR 52 YEARS
On Australia Day in 1966, three siblings from the Beaumont family – Jane, nine, Arnna, seven, and Grant, four, disappeared during a trip to Adelaide’s Glenelg beach.
The trio caught a bus together at 10am – with the seafront just five minutes away. But this time, the kids never came home.
They were reported missing by their parents, Nancy and Jim, at 7.30pm, five hours after they were due to return.
Their disappearance stunned Australia – triggering a massive missing persons investigation. The children have never been found – they are presumed murdered – but following shock findings from a major new Seven News investigation, a possible gravesite has now been located.
Compelling information from a year-long probe has led police back to part of a factory in Plympton, where it’s believed the children’s bodies may lie in a single grave. With a new search due to get underway, we take a look at the notable revelations in the case that has haunted Australia for over half a century...
THE MYSTERY BATHER
Eyewitnesses on the beach the day the children disappeared pinpoint them playing under a sprinkler on the grass at 11am. Apparently the kids weren’t alone. A slim, blond man in a blue bathing suit was also present.
The man was lying on his front watching the three children play. A short time later, the kids were seen buying snacks using a one pound note. But they hadn’t left home with that much cash – leading to questions about who gave them the money.
WHAT THE POSTMAN SAW
A local postman who knew the Beaumont children well said he spotted them at around 3pm on the day they disappeared.
According to the postman, the trio were walking away from the beach – alone – and seemed happy, even stopping to say hello to him.
Police trusted the postman’s account at the time, but officers believe he may have misjudged the time the event took place, with the encounter, in fact, happening earlier in the day.
A NEW WITNESS
In March 1988, a woman came forward saying she had also seen the children with a man on the day they vanished.
The woman – who was 10 at the time – said she’d played with Jane Beaumont, until a man came to collect her and her siblings.
In an interview with New Idea, she said that Jane had pointed at him and said they had to go with him, before the siblings collected their things.
‘I was watching television at my godmother’s house when their photographs came on the news,’ she recalled.
‘I recognised them straight away as the new friends I’d made at the beach. I knew something had to be very wrong about them going away, but I really didn’t understand it all...’ she said.
THE HOAX LETTERS
Two years after the kids disappeared, Nancy and Jim received three letters. Two were supposedly written by their daughter Jane, and the other was from a man who claimed he had the children.
His letter said he’d appointed himself ‘guardian’ of the kids and was willing to hand them back.
But when Nancy and Jim drove to the designated meeting place, followed by a police officer, no-one arrived. Years later, forensic tests showed the letters were a hoax.
A NEW GRAVESITE
A year-long investigation by Seven News, led by veteran journalist Michael Usher, has used state-of-the art technology to provide a significant breakthrough. The technology pinpointed a possible burial site at a factory in Plympton.
The area had been examined before, but inquiries suggest it was the wrong spot. An area of ‘disturbed earth’ measuring a metre wide, two metres long and two metres deep, was found – a spot as Usher puts it: ‘The size of a grave.’
The site was identified by two men, who revealed a former owner of the factory had asked them to dig a trench there.
That man was Harry Phipps – a wealthy businessman who died in 2004. But they didn’t make the connection until Phipps was named as a suspect.
‘The hairs on the back are standing up,’ one of those men, David Harkin, told Seven News.
EVIDENCE, FROM THE SUSPECT S SON
Phipps is described by Bill Hayes, a former SA detective, as ‘a predatory paedophile and dangerous man’, whose home was located just 250 metres from where the Beaumont children were last seen. In an interview aired by Seven News, Phipps’ estranged son Haydn claimed he saw the Beaumont children in the backyard of that home on the day they vanished.
‘Yeah, I seen them come in. They were lost and on their own and the description matched them identically,’ he said. SA police have confirmed they will conduct a dig that could solve one of Australia’s most baffling cases once and for all.
The Beaumont children Arnna, Grant and Jane (left) disappeared in 1966. New evidence links Harry Phipps (right) to the case.
New footage from a major Seven News investigation reveals a possible gravesite at a factory in Plympton, formerly owned by Phipps.
Nancy and Jim Beaumont’s (inset right) kids went missing at Glenelg beach, sparking a massive search. Now, a Seven News investigation has uncovered new evidence. MICHAEL USHER’S MAJOR INVESTIGATION ON THE BEAUMONT CASE AIRS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 9PM,...