You know the feeling when you’re in a public place and suddenly your child is out of sight, and you frantically look for them holding your breath until you can spot them again?
Imagine living that nightmare for the rest of your life. The pain of not knowing what happened to your child after they go missing is unfathomable.
According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), there were over 53,000 missing persons reports in 2021, with approximately 34,000 of those being under 18 years of age, and 2,600 listed as long-term missing persons.
The good news is that 98% of those missing are found alive and well. But, for those whose loved ones are still missing, the agony and suffering never go away.
Check out a few of the missing children cases in Australia whose mysterious disappearance made headlines worldwide.
Mysterious Missing Children Cases in Australia
1. William Tyrrell, Missing since 2014
One of the most mysterious missing children cases is that of 3-year-old William Tyrrell who went missing from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, New South Wales (NSW) on September 12th, 2014.
According to his foster mum, little William, dressed in a Spiderman outfit, was playing hide and seek with his sister and foster grandmother in the front yard.
The 3-year-old was only out of sight for approximately 5 minutes when the family realised he was missing.
A massive investigation yielded roughly 690 persons of interest. There was an extensive search with hundreds of volunteers and a search for a couple of mysterious vehicles seen in the neighbourhood, yet there was no sign of the tot or leads to follow.
On November 15th, 2021, NSW police obtained new evidence, leading them to renew the search for William in three areas nearby Kendall. However, according to Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett, investigators were “looking for the remains” of the child.
By November 17th, 2021, William’s foster mum and his deceased foster grandmum were considered persons of interest. Authorities believed the tot may have fallen from a balcony.
In April 2022, the child’s foster mum was charged with giving false and misleading information about his disappearance; however, she was found not guilty in November 2022.
The child’s remains have never been found. A $1,000,000 reward is still available for information regarding this case.
2. Siriyakorn “Bung” Siriboom, Missing 2011
Young Bung was last seen on June 2nd, 2011 as she left her home on Elsie Street in Boronia, Victoria around 8:25 am on her 10-minute walk to school.
A neighbour spotted the 14-year-old walking toward Albert Avenue and there were also reports of a young girl matching Siriyakorn’s description peering out of a rear car window.
Bung never made it to school or back home that day. Her vanishing remains a mystery.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Justin Tippett said thousands of pieces of information have been sifted through and every week investigators still receive phone calls. There is still a $1,000,000 reward for any information on her whereabouts.
3. Rahma El-Dennaoui, Missing 2005
Little 18-month-old Rahma went missing from her Lurnea, NSW home where she lived with her parents and 7 siblings on November 10th, 2005.
The night of November 9th, Rahma slept between two of her sisters beneath a sliding window to cool down. She was last seen when her dad checked on her at 2am. She was discovered missing around 8am that morning.
After a quick search around the home, the police were called approximately 30 minutes later. There were reports of the fly screen covering the window above the girls being torn or cut with a hole big enough for the tot to fit through.
Authorities were unsure if it was an abduction case or if the tot may have wandered off from their home through their cluttered, unfenced yard.
There was an extensive search involving a helicopter, dog squad officers, and various other units. Yet the little girl in her pink satin Barbie pyjamas was never found.
There is a $250,00 reward for information that could lead to finding her.
4. Quanne Diec, Missing 1998
In a case that rocked an entire community, twelve-year-old Quanne went missing on her way to catch the train from Slyde to Strathfield around 7am on July 27th, 1998.
Sadly, the young girl never arrived at school. She was not reported missing until 10 hours later when she did not come home from school. Her parents were never notified by school authorities she was missing that day because they assumed she was at home sick.
About a month after her disappearance, a $100,000 reward was offered for information on Quanne’s whereabouts. A year later, that reward increased to $200,000.
In November 2016, a man named Vinzent Tarantino confessed to killing and dumping the child’s body in a bush area in south Sydney. He went to trial in September 2019 but was found not guilty.
An inquest was opened in 2021 and closed that same year which concluded the young girl was deceased, likely by homicide, most likely on the same day she disappeared.
Quanne’s body has never been found.
5. Kirste Gordon and Joanne Ratcliffe, Missing 1973
In a missing children case that has been known as the Adelaide Oval abductions, 11-year-old Joanne and 4-year-old Kirste went missing on August 25th, 1973.
After meeting at a local AFL game at the Adelaide Oval in South Australia, the young girls went to the restroom and never came back to the stands where their parents waited for them. While many parents nowadays wouldn’t let their four-year-old go to the toilets with an 11-year-old supervising, remember, this was the 70s.
When the girls did not return to their families within 15 minutes, they began looking for them. Shortly after the game ended, Joanne’s mum, Kathleen announced they were missing over the Oval’s PA system.
By 5:12pm, the girls were officially reported missing. There were several sightings of them in the 90 minutes following their disappearance, with several people having seen a man in his 40s forcibly removing the girls from the venue.
According to witnesses, the man was holding 4-year-old Kirste while Joanne appeared in distress. The last reported sighting of the girls was on a bridge near the Adelaide Zoo.
Despite widespread searches and massive media attention, the girls and the man were never found.
There is a $1,000,000 reward for any information on the girls.
6. Patrick “Paddy” Hildebrand, Missing 1987
Paddy, a 9-year-old boy from Australia, went missing on a family bushwalking trip in Victoria’s Wilson’s Promontory National Park in 1987. Despite extensive searches by authorities and volunteers, Paddy was never found.
Paddy was hiking with his family when he decided to run ahead. He went round a bend, and that was the last time that they ever saw him. When his family called out for him, there was no answer. They went back to the car and couldn’t find him before a large search ensued.
The official explanation is that Paddy got lost and died in the wilderness but the family and authorities have never found a body. The disappearance of Paddy Hildebrand remains one of Australia’s most mysterious unsolved cases.
7. The Beaumont Children, Missing 1966
As the most significant missing children case, the vanishing of the Beaumont Children changed how parents regarded child safety and supervision.
On Australia Day, 1966, 9-year-old Jane, 7-year-old Arnna, and 4-year-old Grant disappeared after having gone alone, by bus, to Glenelg Beach near Adelaide.
The children headed out around 10 am and never returned to their Somerton Park home. According to witnesses, the children were seen playing all day with a tall, blond, sun-tanned man in his mid-30s with a thin athletic build.
The children were even seen purchasing food, which was strange because their parents did not provide them with any money.
Although this missing children case garnered worldwide media attention, the children were never found, and their disappearance remains a mystery.
A $1,000,000 reward remains for any information regarding the children.
It is nearly impossible to imagine the anguish and sorrow of living with the reality of a child who has disappeared without a trace.
These missing children cases remind us to be vigilant of our kids and of those who are still missing. If you have any information regarding any missing children or notice something amiss with a child when you’re in public, do not hesitate to contact Crime Stoppers Australia at 1800.333.000.