Schoolgirl Michaela Godau was born in Germany on 15 April 1967. She migrated to Australia in November 1981 with her mother, step-father and brother.
The 15-year old lived at Walpole Street, Davoren Park and had been attending Fremont High School.
When Michaela vanished, her mother was in Germany after having left Adelaide in July that year because she struggled to find work as a nurse. Michaela, her step-father and brother remained in Adelaide, but had been reportedly been planning for the family to return to Germany.
Police say it appeared that Mr Godau was not coping well with looking after the three children and he also had difficulty obtaining work.
While Mrs Godau was in Germany a decision had been made to sell the family home and a contract had been signed.
In early December 1982, the prospective buyer had come to the house to negotiate the purchase of some furniture and during a conversation with Michaela they noticed she had an injury to her eye. It remains unclear as to how that injury occurred.
Michaela was last seen going to bed at about 10pm on Sunday, 19 December 1982 and was gone the following morning when the family awoke.
Her step-father reported her missing on December 20, claiming that she had taken $460 in cash, toiletries, her passport and sleeping pills.
During the investigation one of Michaela’s friends had flagged relationship difficulties between her and her stepfather. The Department of Child Welfare were also involved.
As part of the investigation, a formal approach was made to Michael’s stepfather to assist in the inquiry, but after initially cooperating, questions in relation to his Land Rover saw him seek legal advice. Investigations have found that the vehicle was sold to a Northern Territory tourism operator in the late 1980s and it then disappeared, ending hopes of having that vehicle forensically examined.
Police believe she has been murdered and suspect that the circumstances of Michaela’s disappearance may have been created to try and fool the investigation.
A reward of up to $1,000,000 is on offer to anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction for the suspected murder or the recovery of Michaela’s remains.