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The mysterious disappearance of Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon

Posted on 25/08/2019

It’s one of South Australia’s most notorious crimes, and 46 years later the disappearance of 11-year old Joanne Ratcliffe and 4-year old Kirste Gordon still remains a mystery.

So, what happened to the pair on that fateful day on 25 August 1973, when they had attended a football match at the Adelaide Oval?

What is known is that there was a substantial crowd in attendance on that day when the girls left the Edwin Smith stand to go to the toilet.

A short time later when they had not returned Mr Ratcliffe went looking for them.

Witnesses reported the girls may have been seen later with an unknown man near Port Rd, Thebarton.

The investigation identified that the girls may have been forcibly removed from the Oval by a man thought to be aged in his 40s.

Since that day more than 2000 lines of inquiry have been followed by investigators.

A sketch of a man (below) was produced and is the one that has featured regularly since the disappearance.

Detectives have previously searched Yatina sites – including two wells in the mid-north region on several occasions for clues.

The searches were the result of a call to Crime Stoppers and the culmination of information gathered over time.

A reward of up to $1,000,000 remains on offer to anyone who either provides information leading to the recovery of their remains or information leading to a conviction in the case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at



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