When one child goes missing, it attracts a lot of media attention. When three children go missing, panic ensues. This is exactly what happened in South Australia back in 1966. One moment, three siblings were having a fun day at the beach, and then they were never seen again. The case rattled parents in the country like nothing before it. The sixties were a different time, but when the Beaumont children went missing, everything changed.
How Do Three Children Simply Go Missing?
The Beaumont children were all less than ten years old when they vanished. The oldest, Jane, was already known to look after her two younger siblings at the young age of nine. When they vanished, Arnna, her seven-year-old younger sister and Grant, her four-year-old younger brother were left with her to care for them. In the modern world, people look at this a little differently. Though some parents would likely leave their children at home with a sibling of that age for a short while, few would likely let a nine-year-old girl manage her younger siblings in a public place with no parental supervision.
In January of 1966, the children were in love with the beach. They were known to enjoy spending time there, with their father often dropping them off so that they could soak up the sun all day. On the day that they went missing, their father was out of town, so their mother placed them on the bus and told them when to be back. The three children never returned, much to the dismay of their parents.
The father of the Beaumont children, Jim Beaumont, came home early from his business trip to find his wife increasingly more concerned about the missing children. The three of them had missed their return time by several hours, causing their father to head down and look for them. At this point, the parents simply assumed that the children had lost track of time. When Jim failed to locate his children, the panic really began to build.
The Blonde Man
Police quickly took over the case and began searching the area, talking to individuals who had been at the beach. Since the Beaumont children had often frequented the beach, many people knew them around town. As police collected statements, many seemed to recall a man that had been with the children. Descriptions included stated that he was likely in his thirties and had blonde hair. The Beaumonts did not know anyone by this description and grew even more concerned.
The mention of a blonde man spending time with the children was so constant that police felt confident that they had a suspect description for what was clearly an abduction and potential murder case. Unfortunately, no one knew who the blonde man was. A clue came in the form of something that Arnna had said to her mother. Previously, young Arnna had joked about her sister having a boyfriend. At the time, Nancy Beaumont thought nothing of her youngest daughter teasing her oldest, assuming she was just joking. Unfortunately, it seems that the “boyfriend” Arnna mentioned was likely a child predator that had befriended the children.
Based on the evidence and this statement, police believe that grooming might have been involved in the case. Reports from witnesses said that the man was clearly comfortable with the kids, which is why no one thought anything of it. The man spent time playing with the kids and was assumed to be a trusted adult in their lives. Police now believe that the children met this man on the beach and he spent time making them more comfortable with him until he could successfully abduct them.
Though many suspects were considered for this case, no one was ever formally charged. Many of the suspects involved in the case were criminals who were charged for similar crimes. In some instances, a couple of the criminals bragged that they had killed and tortured the children, but no one was ever taken to court over it. What is most disturbing is that there were so many witnesses to the children with this suspect and the man was never found. One woman even reported seeing a man and three terrified looking children in a house that she believed was abandoned, but they disappeared the next day. The children were never found.