The Beaumont Children

By Nupur Kudapkar 

The Beaumont Children, also known as Jane Nartare Beaumont (9 years old), Arnna Kathleen Beaumont (7 years old), and Grant Ellis Beaumont (4 years old), were three Australian siblings who vanished from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, South Australia, leading to rumors of a kidnapping and murder and becoming a widely popularized case in the country. 

On January 26, 1966, the three Beaumont children were headed to the beach by themselves one morning via the bus. It was Australian day (the official national day of Australia) and this particular year, the citizens got a three-day weekend. In addition, it was 104 degrees Fahrenheit which led many Australians to head to the beach. Grant “Jim” and Nancy Beaumont, the children’s parents, expected them to be back home by around 2 pm after they left the house at around 10 am to play at the beach. After not returning home on the 12 pm bus or the 2 pm bus Nancy sent her husband to go looking for the children and unfortunately after not spotting them they frantically turn to the Glenelg Police Station in hopes of locating the three children before nightfall. Thinking that the children might have lost track of time and returned home at their own leisure, the police did a thorough search of the Beaumont’s home and by 7:20 pm the police reported the children missing. By 9:50 pm after searching the Brighton foreshore, West Beach and Henley Beach police sent out volunteers to search the coastline for children, and boats and divers were sent out into the water. However, as the clock ticked to 10:20 pm Jim had spoken to loved ones and the police continued the search yet neither party could locate the children. The police had three theories at the time, the children either drowned, ran away, or got kidnapped. The theories that the Beaumont children drowned or ran away were quickly thrown out because the sea had been relatively calm the day before and there were plenty of lifeguards on the beach that day due to the overpopulation and if they did drown their belongings would have been somewhere on the beach. In addition, the children were happy and had no past behaviors of running away so the only possibility left was much scarier, the children might have been kidnapped meaning that someone was able to steal three children in broad daylight. Soon the media got a hold of what was happening and witnesses came flooding in.

Many witnesses called in with no helpful information and some even called in false reports however, many witnesses claim to have seen the Beaumont children playing with an unidentifiable man at Colley Reserve (a park) right near the beach. A bus driver recalls seeing them at around 10 am, the local mailman reports talking to Grant and seeing the children around 10:15 am, and one of Grant’s classmates remembers seeing all children at 11:15 am. However, after the morning three witnesses (a man who was in town to see a cricket match, a middle-aged woman, and a 74-year-old woman) say that the children were with his unidentifiable man and they help investigators place together their activities later in the day and create a sketch. All three witnesses claim that this man is in his mid to late thirties tall, tan, had a long, thin face, and neat light brown hair that was parted to one side. Shockingly, the 74-year-old woman talked to him while he was with the children because he asked her if she had seen someone rummaging through their things as the children had money that was gone. Witnesses all reported that the children and this man were all having a good time meaning that the children probably felt safe to leave with him willingly. And just like that, the Beaumont children would disappear forever. 

Now eight months after the children disappear- September 1966- a police officer 200 miles from Adalade is trying to make a phone call when he hears a woman who is talking about bringing the children back from Hobart, Tasmania. The ability of the officer to hear this conservation was through crossed wires and proved to be a painful coincidence because after further investigation, tracking down the woman, and hearing the full story, it proved to have no connection, and since the parents of the children were immediately informed by another police officer (Sergeant Stanley Swaine) it caused a lot of pain. Two months after this incident -November 1966- Gerard Croiset a psychic from the Netherlands got flown in by a wealthy Australian citizen to use his “powers” to help locate the children. This in turn got a lot of media attention and local papers made a huge deal out of it. Croiset claims that the children are buried in a warehouse in Purring Park and that the children were not murdered but died in a horrible accident and that the mystery man had nothing to do with them. Within three days, he leaves due to the fact that the police refuse to excavate the site. However, fourteen months after the children disappeared -in March 1967- locals raised money and the owners of the property succumbed to public pressure and let them dig a particular area with police presence yet, no bodies were found. Then, in February of 1968 two years after the disappearance, a childlike written letter was sent to the Beaumont home from Dandenong Australia (400 miles east of Adelaide) and claims to be from Jane. She says that a man took them but they were well fed and he did not mean to harm them and he was willing to give them back if the parents showed up at the Dandenong post office located in Victoria ten minutes to nine o’clock on February 26. He made it very clear not to get the police involved. Yet as any parent would, Jim Beaumont gives the letter to the police and the handwriting did not match Jane’s school papers, the police concluded that the letter was indeed a hoax to mess with grieving parents. Nevertheless, Sergeant Stanley Swaine encouraged the Beaumonts to take a secret trip and when they arrived at the post office there was a call in a phone booth. The call indicates “the man” (who has the children) is delayed and would be there soon, so the Beaumonts and Swaine wait, but he never arrives. Three days later, the media gets a hold of the operation, and it crashes and burns. Soon, more letters came this time from the man taunting the parents about not being able to get their children. The letters were eventually linked through fingerprints to a man who was a teenager at the time and wrote the letters as a hoax. 

Although many other connections were made through notorious child killers in Australia  nothing ever stuck and the case remains unsolved