January 26, 1966. A hot summer day in Australia. Three siblings Jane, Grant, and Arnna Beaumont decided to take a five-minute journey from their home to a beautiful Glenelg beach in Southern Australia. Jane, who was 9-year-old at the time and the eldest of three, was considered mature enough to take care of 7-year-old Arnna and 4-year-old Grant. They had taken a similar trip before. At that time, in Australian society, it was considered to be safe and acceptable by all standards.
The children left home at 10 am, took a bus and made it safely to the seaside and were supposed to return by 2 pm, but never made it back.
The huge attention given by the media for the disappearance of children created one of the largest police investigations in Australian history and remains one of most infamous cold cases to this day. It also changed the way parents supervise their children on a daily basis.
Drowning was quickly ruled out, as several witnesses had seen the children near the beach accompanied by a tall blond, suntanned and thin-faced man in his mid-30s, with whom they were playing with him. The group appeared to be relaxed and enjoying themselves and were later seen walking together away from the beach.
A nearby shopkeeper, who remembered the children well from their previous visits, reporter the eldest of Beaumont children, Jane, buying pasties and a meat pie with a £1 note. Because the children's mother had given them only coins for the bus tickets and snacks, and not a £1 note, investigators believed it had been given to them by somebody else. Possibly by the mysterious tall blond man, who several witnesses had seen with the children.
The last confirmed sighting of Beaumont children was around 3 pm. They were seen walking alone, away from the beach, to their home. A postman, who knew the children well, told the they were happy and had stopped by to say hello. While police believed the postman’s claim, the authorities theorized the encounter happened before the noon, not 3 pm.
Since then, a massive amount of theories and unconfirmed sightings have sprung up. From being abducted and killed by a pedophile gang which included prominent members of society, to theories they are still alive. Even a psychic named Gerard Croiset from the Netherlands was brought to Australia, but his help proved to be unsuccessful.
About two years after the disappearance, the parents of missing children received two letters. Supposedly written by Jane, and a man who was taking care of them. The letter claimed he was the guardian of the children and was willing to send them back home. When a place to hand them over was decided, nobody showed up. 25 years later, forensic examination identified the fingerprints on letters belonging to a 41-year-old man, who had been a teenager at the time and had written the letters as a joke. Because of the time that had elapsed, he was not charged with an offense.
Nearly 50 years later, the investigation remains open. A $1 million reward is offered to anyone with information that can crack the case. You can familiarize with some of the theories and suspects on Robert Lindsay's blog or Wikipedia.