52 Years After They Went Missing, The Search For The Beaumont Children Continues With New Leads

A parent's worst nightmare is that their children do not come home. For the Beaumont family, they experienced this pain not for just one child, but for three of their children all at once.

Jane (9), Arnna (7), and Grant (4), all left to go to the beach, but they would never be seen again. While it may sound strange that three young children would go to a beach without supervision, it was common at the time.

This incident happened all the way back in 1966, but it's only now, 52 years later, that the police have uncovered new evidence that may lead to the answers to a family's questions.

The cold case is finally seeing some motion, after decades of stalled investigations. Here's how it all started.

Disappearance

The three children left together to go to the Glenelg beach in Australia on January 26, 1966. They were expected home by 2:00 pm, but they never came back. By 7:20 pm, Jim and Nancy Beaumont called the police and reported their children as missing.

SA Police

They jumped into action immediately, with the father heading to the beach to search for his children with the police. After hours of searching, and the radius growing out to include sea rescue, still no sign of the kids.

SA Police

The community came together to try and help, but even that wasn't enough...

Witnesses Testimonies

Witnesses from the day of the disappearance came forward in huge numbers. The entire community came together to try and help find these kids, so much so that they had people lining up to give statements.

Mostyn Matters worked at the police station when the incident happened and he recalled all the people who came in.  

"At the time we were inundated with people that wanted to come and give information and all we had was a little room at the front of the police station that was used for the witnesses of the court," he said to ABC. "We had one phone for the main police station, that's all we had, and people were queuing up to give statements and what have you, and we only had a sergeant and four men there.

"They were just snowed under and by the time you interviewed people and … [typed] up their reports and everything, it was just one of those things, where you could only do your best," Matters said. "We still had our own work going on, there were still crime being committed in Glenelg."

Many of the witnesses described the same man. A tall, thin-faced, blond-haired man was thought to be a suspect, and they drew up a composite sketch to try to identify him. Others described the last time they saw the children. One store clerk remembered selling the children a treat from a cake shop, and having them pay with a £1 note, even though their mother had only given them coins.

SA Police

Even though there was so much support from the community, months passed and still no sign of the missing Beaumont children.

Unusual methods were used to track down the kids, including psychics...

Clairvoyant Investigator

In November 1966, a Dutch clairvoyant named Gerard Croiset was flown into Adelaide to attempt to locate the children. A local businessman paid for the so-called clairvoyant's trip, but his arrival didn't seem to bring any news.

He believed the children were buried either near a new warehouse or in the brick factory site in Somerton Park. The community raised money to do an excavation, even though the police advised against it, but they tried anyways. Nothing was found in either location.

Letters

Two years after their disappearance, the Beaumonts received two letters that claimed to be written by Jane, their oldest daughter. It said that a man had been taking care of them, and that they should meet them.

Jim and Nancy BeaumontNews Corp Australia

However, when the parents went to rescue their children, no one ever came. The second letter they received alleged that they had seen a cop nearby and left.

No more letters were received, but the authenticity of the letters was brought into question. For years, people believed that they were real, but decades after it was discovered that the fingerprints on the letter were a man's, and they were written as a cruel and unusual joke.

While that didn't turn out to be the real thing, decades later some new leads started to come out...

A New Suspect

It may have been one of Australia's most famous cold cases, but there were so many years between discoveries that it became almost impossible to know what was true.

In 2013, a new suspect was discovered when a man's son came forward and claimed that he remembered his father having contact with the children at their family home.

Haydyn Phipps, who was 15-years-old at the time, says that his violent and abusive father, Harry Phipps, had the children in their backyard, and he was unable to do anything about it.

Shortly after, two men came forward and claimed to have been paid by the businessman to dig a large hole at his factory, but they never knew what for. They now believe that there is a potential that it was for the bodies of the Beaumont children.

The factory's grounds were dug up, but no remains were discovered.

A New Search

On January 22, 2018, a new search was announced. After a geophysical test was done by Flinders University, the investigation revealed an anomaly at the factory that had been checked before and they decided to do a new excavation.

It matched the description of the hole that the two men claimed to have dug, but Detective Superintendent Des Bray wanted people to keep their expectations low.

"We don't know what we will find."

After 52 years, the search for the Beaumont children was hopefully coming to an end, but on February 2, 2018, when the police and forensic experts began their search, they found nothing.

"I can confirm that we have found bones of various animals, possibly cows, horses and sheep," Bray said. "But there is nothing that has been located today that is in any way connected with the disappearance of the Beaumont children."

ABC News: Tony Hill

"Those holes have been used for at least a period of time as a tip or possibly for household refuse," he said.

While nothing has been found yet, the search for the missing Beaumont children is expected to continue.

Sources: WTVR / CNN / ABC