South Australian police will soon search an area identified by Seven News as a possible gravesite for Adelaide’s missing Beaumont children - Jane, Arnna and Grant, who all went missing on Australia Day, 1966.
The Adelaide Major Crime unit have today confirmed two men dug a hole at a factory once owned by a prime suspect, Harry Phipps, and one of those men has spoken exclusively to Seven.
Three days after the children went missing, David Harkin was asked by Phipps to dig a pit at a nearby factory.
Harkin reveals the pit was ‘seven yards long and one yard wide,’ and was about the height of himself as a young boy.
The two boys reportedly didn’t suspect anything odd about the job, until Phipps was recently named in the media as a possible suspect in the disappearance.
'The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up,' Harkin recalled of the moment he saw the man on TV. 'As kids we dug a hole at the back of that factory.'
The site, rediscovered by a Seven News investigation involving ground-penetrating radar, has been subject to intense scientific examination by archaeologist Dr Ian Moffat.
Dr Moffat tells Seven, ‘We have found a feature that is around the right size and shape.'
The area is now an active crime scene and a controlled dig is expected to begin soon.
Dr Zanthe Mallett, a forensic criminologist, told Seven: ‘You’ve got this one area that stands out and goes, "I need to be looked at", and that’s what the police are going to do.’
Detective Superintendant Des Bray, said at the press conference, ‘There may be an innocent explanation, but in the absence of that we’re committed to searching.’
The location of the supposed burial site is intriguing.
The children left Glenelg beach to buy pies from a nearby store, and then from there it is a four minute walk to Phipps’ home. It is then an eight minute drive to Phipps’ former factory, where the possible burial site is being investigated.
Within the factory, just beyond the fence, there is an area that has previously been searched. The new search is a just 100 metres from that original search site.
Experts say if there are bone fragments, new leaps in DNA investigation will allow police to link back to the Beaumont children. Even trace evidence could finally solve one of Australia’s most infamous cold cases.
Dr Mallett tells Seven, ‘This is the biggest breakthrough in years,’ with David Harkin adding, ‘These children need to be found.’
Police investigators and forensic professionals are due to begin their dig of the new site in the coming weeks.
The 7 News full investigation into the Beaumont disappearance airs Wednesday, January 29 at 9pm.