Eloise Worledge was 8 years old when she was taken from her home in Beaumaris, Victoria, Australia, on January 12, 1976. She was last seen on October 8, 1967. Her disappearance is now called a “cold case” because no one has ever been caught.
Disappearance of Eloise Worledge
When Worledge’s 4-year-old brother saw that his sister wasn’t in her room at 7:30 a.m., he called for help. There was no sign that there was a fight. Later, he told the police that he heard “robbers” take her, but he didn’t say anything because he was afraid they would take him too. He said he heard noises that sounded like footsteps on the sea grass floor of Worledge’s bedroom, which the police believe to be true.
Investigation and aftermath
The police thought that Worledge had been coaxed out of bed by someone she knew and trusted, and that she had just left the house through the front door, which had been left unlocked. She could have also been taken by a trespasser who was known to be in the area at the time.
A neighbour told the police that at 2 a.m., a dark green car was going fast down Scott Street. Another neighbour said she saw a green Holden station waggon she didn’t know parked near the Worledges’ house. Around midnight, another neighbour, Ann Same, told the police that she had seen a young man walk along the fence of the Worledge home. This made her feel so uneasy that she crossed the street to avoid him. Around the same time, Molly Salts, who lived further down the street, saw a young man run in front of her car and across the street, then jump the fence into the Worledge property. At 2 a.m., Daphne Owen-Smith heard a child cry and a car door slam. Ann Same heard the same thing at the same time.
Worledge’s bedroom floor had bark from a tree outside her window. The flyscreen on her window had a small hole in it, but tests showed that it had been cut from the inside. Police thought the hole was too small for the kidnapper to have used, and science showed that Worledge probably wasn’t taken through her open bedroom window.
At first, both parents were looked at as possible suspects. At the time Worledge went missing, both of her parents were having affairs, and her father was thought to be sad because his marriage was about to end. He was supposed to move out on the day that Worledge disappeared. Senior constable Nazaretian said in 2002 that Patsy Worledge told police at the time her daughter went missing that she thought her husband “was involved in the disappearance as a way of delaying the inevitable and as a way of spitting her.”
On the night Eloise went missing, her father went to bed more than an hour and a half after she did, and his wife went to bed about an hour after him. He didn’t know that Patsy had forgotten to close the front door, so he left it open. Every night, when the kids went to bed, a light was left on in the hallway. The last parent to go to bed turned it off, but the police said that Lindsay Worledge did not turn off the hallway light that night. The next morning around 4:45, Patsy woke up to go to the bathroom and saw that the light was out. Almost certainly by this time, Eloise had already been taken.
Even though a lot of people have looked for Worledge and a $10,000 reward (equal to $62,694 in 2018) was offered in 1976, no one has ever found him. In 2001, detectives looked into the case again, but they didn’t find anything new. In 2017, Lindsay Worledge died, 41 years after his daughter went missing.