Kirste Gordon and Joanna Ratcliffe: Breakthrough after Adelaide Oval goes missing as police dig up yard and identify suspect
A 50-year-old mystery surrounding the chilling disappearance of two little girls during a soccer game is about to be finally solved.
Four-year-old Kirste Gordon and 11-year-old Joanna Ratcliffe disappeared during an Australian rules football match at Adelaide Oval on August 25, 1973.
They have not been seen since, but detectives are said to have been searching Adelaide’s backyards in recent days after identifying a child sex offender as the prime suspect.
Four-year-old Kirste Gordon (left) and 11-year-old Joanna Ratcliffe (left) went missing during an Australian rules football match at Adelaide Oval on August 25, 1973.
Officers visited convicted pedophile Errol Radan in a Brisbane jail to tell him about the girls’ disappearance, leading them to dig up a backyard in West Adelaide, 7News reported.
Radan, who had a conviction in South Australia and was in prison for indecent assault on a girl under 14 in 1984, has since died.
A Radan victim said cops told her they visited her attacker in jail and that they thought he was their prime suspect – but he refused to speak to detectives before his death.
There were 13,000 people inside Adelaide Oval at the time of the kidnappings, which took place during a SANFL game between Norwood and North Adelaide.
Joanne was taking Kirste to the bathroom when they disappeared.
Witness Tony Kilmartin, who was 13 at the time, was selling ice cream and lollipops at the oval when he claims he saw the girls being taken away.
Mr Kilmartin, now 63, said 9 News that he saw a man pick up Kirste as Joanne tried to stop him.
“(I saw) one go under his arm…and the other just tugging at him shouting the words ‘no’ and ‘let her go,'” he said.
“I just watched them head for the door…and that was the last time I saw them.”
Mr Kilmartin says he did not try to arrest the man as he believed he was the girls’ father.
He described the man to the police in the following days, which led to the publication of a sketch showing what the kidnapper looked like.
A sketch of the man seen pulling the two girls out of the oval
Kirste’s parents, Greg and Christine, are still desperate for answers, but want to know where her body is, rather than what happened to her
Kirste’s parents, Greg and Christine, are still desperate for answers, but want to know where her body is, rather than what happened to her.
“It may seem callous, but I would like to know where she is, I don’t want to know what happened… it’s soul destroying, it’s giving the author time he doesn’t deserve,” Christine said. The advertiser.
“But in a way, what do you do with his remains?” What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t really matter at this point. She is here, she is here with us.
She added that although they were still heartbroken over the disappearance and death of their baby girl, they had to move on.
“We always started from the goal, from the idea that we must continue our life,” Christine said. “From the start, we were determined to be survivors.”
A candlelight vigil will be held at Adelaide Oval on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of the girls’ disappearance.