Sarah MacDiarmid

Sarah MacDiarmid (born 15 November 1966) was a 23-year-old Scottish-Australian woman who disappeared from Kananook railway station in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 11 July 1990. She is presumed murdered, although no trace of her body has ever been found.


Sarah MacDiarmid

After work, MacDiarmid and two friends were playing tennis at what was then known as Flinders Park in Batman Avenue, East Melbourne. They then walked to Richmond station, where they discovered that they had just missed a Frankston line train. MacDiarmid immigrated to Australia with her family from the Scottish Highlands in 1987. They boarded a train in Caulfield, changed to a Frankston service, and continued on. While MacDiarmid’s friends got off this train at Bonbeach, she continued on to the station at Kananook, where her car was parked. At around 10:20 p.m., she was last saw leaving the train and walking towards the dimly lighted parking lot.

Investigation of Case

In addition to bloodstains and drag traces leading into the bushes that were discovered next to Sarah’s red 1978 Honda Civic in the station parking lot, police also discovered a cigarette lighter that belonged to her on the ground. However, Sarah was never located. Later, according to witnesses, Sarah allegedly exited the train and walked across the footbridge to the parking lot, where some bystanders overheard a woman yelling, “Give me back my keys!” More than 250 police conducted a thorough air, sea, and land search for 21 days with no luck. When information was later sought, two witnesses responded that they had also heard a woman yell, “Give me back my keys!”

MacDiarmid “had met her death as a result of foul play although the exact circumstances were unknown,” the coroner’s inquest concluded in May 2006.

A $50,000 award from the State Government was boosted to $75,000 after the anonymous donor contributed another $10,000. This was raised to $1 million in 2004 and is still in effect today.

When authorities questioned Australian serial killer Paul Denyer in 2011, he flatly denied having anything to do with MacDiarmid’s abduction.

News Corp Australia reported in May 2014 that Bandali Debs, an Australian serial killer who had previously been convicted, was being investigated by police. According to a “senior police source” cited by Fairfax Media, it is “standard procedure” for homicide investigators to look for connections between unsolved homicides and well-known offenders. Given that MacDiarmid’s disappearance was still a “active” case, a Victoria Police spokesperson declined to comment to Fairfax Media.


The inaugural episode of the Australian psychic television programme Sensing Murder, which broadcast on Network Ten in September 2004, examined the cold case. According to the psychics employed by this programme, MacDiarmid had been murdered and her body dumped on the Mornington Peninsula at an abandoned garbage dump.

When MacDiarmid’s disappearance was 20 years old in 2010, her family and friends travelled to the Kananook train station to pay their respects at a memorial there. The website Not Alone, which was “intended to help other families who find themselves in a position similar to them,” was also introduced by the woman’s family. Police used the occasion to renew their appeal for information in the case, with Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Dannye Moloney remarking, “You do not close the books on these kinds of crimes… History demonstrates that if you keep in touch with people, whether they be in Victoria, Australia, or even the rest of the world in some circumstances, that information or solution will eventually surface.

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