The daughter of a woman who vanished in 1973, with her husband telling police she had left of her own accord, has spoken of her relief after her mother’s remains were found buried at her father’s property on Thursday.
Colleen Adams disappeared without a trace in November 1973, with husband Geoffrey spinning the tale that he had seen her leaving in a car with a middle aged woman, after telling him she never wanted to see him or their two young daughters again.
However South Australia Police launched a fresh search at the family’s former home this week, which is still owned and rented out by Adams, and on Thursday, with a helping hand from Colleen’s husband, officers discovered the remains of the mum-of-two.
Adams’ remains were found beneath a concrete slab at the home, in Maitland, SA, which she once shared with Geoff, 70, who has now been charged with his wife’s murder and appeared in court on Thursday.
Daughter Kaye, who was just 18-months-old when her mother went missing, released a moving statement following the discovery which was read out by a police family liaison officer.
“Today, I have finally found my mother. After 45 years of hoping, we have found her,” Kaye said.
“I want today to also be one of inspiration to all those who live with cold cases. Lost loved one. Not knowing what has happened. Today we’ve seen there is hope. Even after 45 years. This proves that cold cases can be solved. Don’t ever give up.”
She added: “It’s hard to say in a few words what I’m feeling, but I’m so grateful to South Australian Police and everyone who has worked to help find her.
“I am thankful that the truth has come out and I put my trust in the legal system now.”
Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said it would be “some time” before a formal identification could be made, however police are proceeding on the basis that the remains are those of Colleen Adams.
Just two days before the remains were discovered, Mr Adams spoke to reporters from 9News to deny he had anything to do with his wife’s presumed murder, after police commenced a fresh forensic search at the property.
When asked whether he killed his wife, he told the news outlet: “No, I didn’t.” When asked if he had been told he was a suspect, he added: “All husbands are a suspect, yeah.”
The 24-year-old mother-of-two vanished on November 22, 1973, with her husband Geoff telling police that he woke to find his wife fully-dressed, holding two packed suitcases, claiming she told him she never wanted to see him, or their two young daughters, aged three and 18-months at the time, again.
Adams also said he then watched his wife climb into a car with a middle-aged woman, whom he did not recognise, before driving off. However Colleen was not reported missing for 27 days, when her concerned mother Vera Milbank lodged a missing persons report with police.
Police initially attended the address in 1974, however Colleen was considered a missing person for another five years, until the case was declared a Major Crime in 1979, as no contact or financial activity had been made by the apparently doting mother since she was said to have left.