Monday, July 10, 2017

Mystery Monday: Beaumont Children

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



There aren't many mysteries that remain compelling over multiple decades. But the story of the missing Beaumont children is toward the top of the list. In 1966, these three children vanished and were never seen again.


Arnna, Grant, and Jane Beaumont

The quiet city of Adelaide, South Australia was the perfect place to raise children in the 1960s. In 1955, Grant ("Jimmy") Beaumont married Nancy Ellis and their first child, Jane, was born a year later. They had a second child, Arnna, in 1958, and a third, Grant, in 1962.




On Australia Day in 1966, the children wanted to go to Glenelg Beach, which was only a five-minute bus trip from their home. They set out that day in swim clothing, carrying one bag with beach towels. Their mom gave them money for lunch and their bus fares.


Grenelg Beach today

The children boarded the bus just after ten a.m. When they didn't return on the midday or two p.m. bus, their mom began to worry. A little after three p.m., their father headed to the beach to look for them.



An exhaustive search failed to locate the children. With the help of the police, they gathered information on sightings of the children. Several witnesses reported seeing the children playing with a tall, blond man who was described as tanned with a lean face. One witness reported seeing the man dressing one of the girls in a way that seemed "off." Around 12:15, they were spotted leaving the beach together.



A shopkeeper at a cake shop near the beach said the children purchased some pastries, along with a meat pie, with a one pound bank note. There were two odd things about that. One, the children didn't have that type of currency. Their mom had given them only six shillings. The other was that "meat pie" was not something any of the children would have normally ordered or eaten.



Police focused on the man last seen with the kids, whose composite sketch looked like this:



To this day, the mystery of what happened to the Beaumont children has never been solved. The primary suspects include:


  • Bevan Spencer von Einem, a convicted murderer who allegedly bragged that he'd abducted the three children and "conducted experiments" on them. One child died during these experiments and he killed the other two and disposed of the bodies, the informant said.
  • Arthur Stanley Brown, who died in 2002. At the time he was on trial for the murder of two young girls who disappeared in Queensland while walking to school in 1970.
  • James Ryan O'Neill, who told several people he was responsible. O'Neill was jailed in 1975 for the murder of a nine-year-old boy.
  • Derek Ernest Percy, who was jailed for the 1969 murder of Yvonne Tuohy. Authorities believe he may have murdered quite a few other children before being caught.

At this point, it's likely this is one mystery that will never be solved. What do you think happened to the Beaumont children?

27 comments:

  1. Wow, it could have been any of them. How sad to lose all three kids like that.

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    1. Definitely. This is still one of the biggest mysteries in Australia's history.

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  2. I can't imagine what the parents went through and how they tried to cope after this loss. This is a classic case of someone"befriending" the kids and then Taking them somewhere and I am certain, killing them. What is sad is that the children were never found so the parents didn't even have this closure. The Von Enem man peaks my curiosity because it sounds more detailed. Overall, just very, very sad.

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    1. I think the Von Einem guy is the biggest suspect, but the details of what he claimed to have done to the children are pretty graphic. I left all of that out!

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  3. Those poor parents, and, no doubt, poor kids.

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    1. In many of these cases, the most you can hope is that the victims didn't suffer.

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  4. I agree with what others have said above.

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  5. Well, the first thing that happened to those poor kids was a lack of parental superision...kids aged 10/8/and 4 respectively should not be off to the beach on their own or on a bus on their own and expecting a ten year old to look after an 8 and 4 year old is ridiculous. Those parents practically gave their children to anyone who wanted them. Any one of those men or any other man/woman could have taken them...it's also entirely possible they drowned. Poor wee souls.

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    1. I should clarify that it's always stated that in that area in the 60s it was considered VERY safe and the children regularly went to the beach. The mom always watched them get on the bus and waited for them to get back off at the end of their trip. the 1950s-1990s are littered with cases of, "How could parents have let their children walk to the store alone?" but even in the 80s, we had a lot of freedom to play in the neighborhood. Now parents won't even let children out of their sight, but it took quite a few cases like this for parents to lose that trust in their fellow man.

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  6. Oh this is so sad! Those poor parents--I can't even imagine. I wonder what ever happened to them?

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    1. Sadly, I don't think we'll ever know.

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  7. I'm glad that you left out the graphics of the claims of one (or more?) of the suspects. This story is very horrifying.

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    1. I always try to be as considerate as possible...honestly, I don't really want to hear explicit details myself. Some things you can't unhear.

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  8. Kids wandered all over by themselves back then. I sure did. Sometimes with my brother and sister and sometimes alone. My question would be which of the suspects looked the most like the composite sketch and could any of the witnesses identify the man by photos or in a line up? They were obviously lured away and likely killed...just a question of by whom. Very sad.

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    1. Yes, that's what I mentioned above...it was just a different time. And people think things were safer back then. Maybe so, but there were a heck of a lot of missing children in those days...just as there were a lot of car deaths before we realized that we needed seatbelts in cars.

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  9. How heartbreaking. It's also bizarre that multiple people would say they did it -- obviously some of them were lying.

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    1. It's always surprising to me how common it is to have multiple confessions. The yogurt shop murder had a RIDICULOUSLY high number of confessions. 60 or something?

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  10. Losing one child has to be unbearable, but to lose all three at once - unimaginable. Sounds like any of those guys would have been a perfect suspect. A sad case.

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  11. That's certainly a bizarre twist and the family must have gone through so much heartbreak.

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  12. My goodness, just 5 minutes away! People were a lot more trusting back then, and a red flag should have popped up. So sad to lose 3 kids and to not ever catch the horrible person who did this is terrible! Hugs...

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  13. What a sad, sad story. The parents must have been devastated. At first I wondered why the mother let the children go alone. Then I read some of the other posts and remembered it was true. In the 50s I roamed freely with my friends and no one worried about us. If I had children today, I wouldn't want them out of my sight. There have always been bad guys though, and I suppose there always will be.

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  14. OMG so horrible and so sad. No doubt the children were killed. They were all far too young to be sent off on their own for the day. Their bodies may still be found one day.

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  15. The parents were definitely more trusting then I would have been. It makes me so sad. I'm not sure what I'd guess to what had happened, but I can only imagine the horror the children felt or the pain the parents lived with.

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  16. All I can think about is how the mother was able to cope with the overwhelming guilt she must have had (or still has). I was born in 1953 and remember being able to roam at will. My mother did not always know where we were, just that we were outside "playing". We lived across a major highway from the Atlantic ocean. We never tried to go to the beach alone, it was forbidden. We did play in the woods a lot and build forts and such, which is just as dangerous when you think about abductions. I think children were more obedient back then and would not have questioned an adult, as all adults were seen as authority figures. No stranger danger in our vocabulary yet.

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  17. Hi Stephanie - honestly sometimes one can't believe stories like this one exist and that life can be so cruel. They'll never know ... so desperate - so sad ... Hilary

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  18. This is horrible!!! How sad!!

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  19. I think these mysteries are the worst because you know they'll never get solved unless a miracle happens, so all we can do is speculate while the family never gets answers.

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