Darren Jason Shannon (aka Jason) was a fair-haired, blue-eyed 11-month-old when he went missing on Saturday the ninth of June, 1973.
During an entrance visit, Jason’s father, John ‘Barry’ Shannon, grabbed his son from the boy’s grandparents’ house in Adelaide’s Northern suburbs.
He kidnapped baby Jason around 6:50 p.m. that night, and he hasn’t been seen since. That night, around 9:15 p.m., John Shannon was killed in a head-on collision with another car on Main North Road, just south of Rose worthy. The scene was thoroughly searched, but there was no sign of Jason on the road, in the surrounding areas, or in the car. They never found another trace of the baby.
Police believe John Shannon killed his son and took his body somewhere that night, only to die in a car accident. John had a number of mental health issues and was said to be acting strangely that day.
Another deterrent was the fact that Adelaide was in the grip of a winter storm on the night baby Jason was kidnapped. John may have thrown his son into a swollen river or storm drain, making finding his body difficult. There were no remains discovered.
Another theory that police do not completely dismiss is that John may have given his son to an unknown person, who then raised baby Jason as their own, unbeknownst to Jason. The likelihood of this is quite low, especially given the extensive media coverage at the time, but it can’t be completely discounted until a body is discovered.
He would be 46 years old today if this were true.
When John ‘Barry’ Shannon snatched Jason from the lounge that night, baby Jason’s grandfather tried but failed to catch up. He even ran back to his car to look for John, but he couldn’t find him. Jason’s mother, Michelle, stated that this stayed with her father for a long time afterward.
Michelle, John’s wife, left Adelaide with her parents in early 1974 and returned to the United Kingdom. She recalls being “very confused” and feeling bad about abandoning Adelaide without her baby son. “I immigrated to Australia to start a new life, and I was sorry, very sad to leave. “I liked the people,” she explained. “People believe you should simply adopt, but you cannot. If that makes sense, you don’t feel whole.
There is a void, a hole that must be filled. “For many years, every morning when I woke up, my first thought was of Jason,” she explained. “I woke up one day, years later, and it was strange because he wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. But I never stop thinking about Jason.”
Jason was last seen wearing a long white nightgown, a blue buttoned-up cardigan, and a diaper.
The Government of South Australia will pay rewards of up to $1,000,000 to anyone who provides information and assistance that leads to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the suspected murder of Darren Jason Shannon (and/or leads to the location and recovery of the victim’s remains), at the discretion of the Commissioner of Police.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 1800333000.