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More questions than answers in the disappearance of Laula York (nee Ko-Ko)

Posted on 13/11/2019

It is now 44 years since Laula York (nee Ko-Ko) seemingly disappeared without a trace.

The indigenous woman had lived at Yalata Mission (now known as the Yalata Aboriginal Community), located on the far west coast of South Australia, 200km west of Ceduna.

She was first reported missing to Ceduna Police on 21 January 1975.

At the time of her sudden disappearance, the 32-year old was in a defacto relationship with 39-year old Maxwell John White.

She is described as being 170 cm tall, medium build, with brown eyes and black hair.

Investigators believe that Laula left Port Augusta with her two young daughters, Heather and Anne, on 13 November 1974, with the intention of travelling to the tiny settlement of Ooldea on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plan to meet Maxwell White.

A short time after leaving Port Augusta, her daughter Anne is understood to have decided to return to Yalata by herself.

It is possible that at this time Laula and Heather then travelled to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to visit relatives, but whether they actually did has never been confirmed.

It is believed that Heather later returned to Yalata from the remote settlement of Reid in Western Australia, by herself.

Laula was never seen or heard from again and exactly what happened to her remains one of South Australia’s oldest mysteries.

She is suspected to have been murdered.

Unfortunately, no image of Laula is available for public release.

A reward of up to $200,000 is on offer to anyone who either provides information leading to the recovery of her remains or information leading to a conviction in the case.

If anyone has any information about what happened to Laula they can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at


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