Unwilling to dismiss their concerns any longer, Colleen Adams‘ parents phoned South Australia Police. It was 19 December 1973, and the couple hadn’t heard from their daughter for five weeks.
The 24-year-old mother of two’s husband, Geoffrey, had told them she’d walked out. That, without explanation, she’d packed two suitcases and fled their Maitland home, fled him, fled her beloved young children, then aged just three-and-a-half and 18 months.
But on Thursday afternoon, almost 45 years on, Colleen’s skeletal remains were discovered in the backyard of the Bagnall Ave property. Her husband has been arrested and charged with murder.
The disappearance of Colleen Adams.
According to police, Geoffrey Adams, claimed to have last seen his wife at around 7am on November 22, 1973.
He said he’d woken to find her fully dressed, suitcases ready.
He said she told him leaving and never wanted to see him or their two children again.
He said she’d climbed into a white 1968 model Ford Falcon sedan with an unknown, middle-aged woman, and left.
Her disappearance was a big talking-point among the Yorke Peninsula community. Investigators at the time spoke with her family, friends and neighbours hoping to find answers.
There were snippets. They learned that although her marriage had been happy at first, there had been increasing signs of dysfunction following the birth of her eldest child. She'd also spoken vaguely with people about "having to be out of the house by November" and, a few days before she disappeared, she had closed her bank account, after withdrawing her entire life savings. Just $41.14.
Still, it was another six years before the case was declared a major crime. And another 45 before any major progress was made.