A crucial witness in the Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Jane Gordon abduction case has decided to share his story after staying silent for decades.
In an interview with 9News, Tony Kilmartin opened up about what happened for the first time since their disappearance in 1973.
Kilmartin revealed that he was selling snacks during an Australian rules game at the stadium when he saw Ratcliffe and Gordon being taken away.
Ratcliffe, 11, and Gordon, 4, went missing while attending a match at the Adelaide Oval in 1973, in a case that was referred to by the media as the Adelaide Oval abductions.
The two girls met during the game and left their respective families to go to use the bathroom at around 3:45 pm. The Ratcliffes began searching for the young missing girls at around 4:00 pm. After being unable to locate them, Kathleen Ratcliffe was able to get an announcement made on the oval’s PA system shortly after the game ended around 5:00 pm. The girls were reported missing to the police at 5:12 pm.
Witnesses claimed they saw Ratcliffe and Gordon several times in the 90 minutes after leaving their families. Once when trying to attract a stray cat, once with other children, and later, allegedly distressed and with an unknown man who was carrying Gordon. Their last reported sighting was on a bridge near the Adelaide Zoo.
Despite extensive searches and widespread media attention alongside multiple cash reward offers for information, the pair have tragically never been found and the disappearance became a cold case.
Now, many years on from that day, Kilmartin has shared that he saw a man picking up Gordon while Ratcliffe attempted to fend him off.
“When the siren had gone, people were buying and grabbing stuff and at that moment is when the screams started,” he told 9News.
“(I saw) one go under the arm … and the other one just pulling on him, screaming the words ‘no’ and ‘let her go’.”
Kilmartin, who was 13 at the time, chose not to get involved as he thought the individual was the girl’s father.
“I just watched them go towards the gate … and that was the last I’d seen,” Kilmartin said.
Friday, August 25 will mark 50 years since the girls disappeared, investigations into their disappearance remain ongoing.