Upon the vanishing of 10-year-old Bradford Pholi from his Sydney residence in 1982, the former inhabitant of the house developed a sense of foreboding, indicating that something dreadful had transpired.
Sixteen years later, Grant Austin commenced experiencing vivid dreams, wherein he envisioned the boy buried beneath the front steps of the property. His conviction led him to bring shovels to the house, situated in the western suburb of Dundas, and initiate excavation.
He dutifully notified the authorities of his suspicions, reaching out to Crime Stoppers, as revealed during the opening of the inquest at the Westmead Coroner’s Court.
The diligent examination of nine tonnes of soil and debris extracted from beneath the house by the constabulary yielded no clue about the young boy’s whereabouts.
Prior to the Pholi family’s tenancy, the aforementioned abode was occupied by Mr. Austin, who was then a mere eighteen years of age.
Following Bradford’s abrupt disappearance on Boxing Day, the said residence became the focal point of an exhaustive police investigation, aimed at uncovering the details surrounding the incident.
Reportedly, he was last spotted at the Eastwood railway station, en route to visit an aunt residing in Newtown. It took 24 hours for Lorna Pholi, his mother, to file a missing person’s report.
According to statements provided by friends and neighbors, Lorna had displayed violence towards the child in the past, as conveyed to the police.
Detective Inspector Darren Newman opined during the inquest that the child was likely deceased and if alive, Lorna Pholi would be considered a person of interest. He further emphasized that there was no indication of anyone else being involved in the matter.
Police received reports of sightings of the boy in Darlinghurst and Kings Cross, but Insp Newman expressed suspicions of foul play.
In a statement presented at the inquest, Mr. Austin informed the police that he had always sensed something ominous had befallen Bradford and that he had been experiencing dreams indicating the boy’s burial beneath his home since 1998. He expressed his willingness to probe the matter by bringing shovels to the residence.
“I never felt that I was right, I always just thought maybe the police would go and have a look for him. I was prepared to be wrong,” he commented to reporters outside the court. “My primary objective has been not only to help Brad but also to assist the family.”
Anita, Bradford’s sister, and her brother Bernie Pholi, who were 13 and 12 years old respectively when their brother disappeared, asserted that the police had not invested sufficient effort to locate Bradford.
“We do not believe that the police have done an adequate or sufficiently thorough job in finding our brother,” Anita stated.
“Our only desire is to locate our brother, whether alive or deceased, in order to gain closure and move forward with our lives.”