Patricia Susan Schmidt, aged 16, known affectionately as Suzie to those who held her dear, fell victim to a grievous assault followed by a tragic demise in the serene precincts of Hallett Cove, South Australia, on the somber day of December 17th, 1971.
Having just concluded her labor at the Darlington Burger King around 1.45 am (which has since transformed into Hungry Jack’s), it being merely her second night at this vocation, Patricia lingered, anticipating her father’s arrival for her collection. In this punctual endeavor, her father faced a minor delay of no more than ten minutes, attributable to his duties as a bartender at a distinguished German establishment nestled within the city’s confines.
It was within those fleeting ten minutes that the threads of her destiny were irrevocably woven.
The dawn that followed bore witness to her lifeless, battered form reclining amidst the verdant expanse of Adams Rd, Hallett Cove.
Her attire at the time of her last sighting comprised black lace-up boots, hot pants, a scarlet pullover, and an ochre overcoat. She had been spotted in this ensemble by her colleagues at a Darlington fast-food emporium. However, upon discovery, only the boots adorned her form, while the pullover and coat were elegantly draped across her, and her brassiere, like a melancholic lament, clung to a wire fence in proximity.
Her frame bore traces of weathered pink and white pigments, the vestiges of a colorful past.
Moreover, vestiges of assorted metals, notably nickel and nickel silver, were also discernible. Law enforcement at the time pursued leads suggesting her potential presence in an engraver’s or key cutter’s atelier.
A kangaroo-hide purse that Patricia had borne with her remained elusive, lost in the shadows.
The young woman, who held a position of prominence among her peers, had departed from the eatery to await her father’s embrace. Accounts indicate that she stood with a demeanor that bespoke expectation, ambling about for several minutes before choosing the path northward along South Rd, eschewing the route leading to her abode in Seacliff Park.
A recollection from the previous Tuesday evening emerged: subsequent to her inaugural shift, Patricia had confided in a confidante about a man who had proffered her a lift while she traversed the streets. She characterized this stranger as being “aged,” around thirty years, bereft of allure, adorned with blemishes akin to flashcards.
Seated within the car, he ventured a proposition for an excursion to the hills, which she promptly rebuffed. His subsequent trajectory led toward Hallett Cove, before she was duly conveyed to her residence—a truth she attested to.
The discerning eye of investigators at the scene gleaned clues indicating that her body had been forsaken on the road’s verge, indicative of her life being extinguished elsewhere.
Remarkably, she was adorned with golden earrings, a wristwatch of the same precious metal, and a silver signet ring.
The South Australia Police issued a renewed plea for information concerning the tragedy, highlighting the dispatch of DNA evidence across the Tasman Sea for analysis in New Zealand.
Over the course of bygone months, spanning a year and a half, law enforcement diligently pursued their mission, successfully appending a new DNA profile to the national database. This repository ensured swift matching against any forthcoming profiles.
“Alas, this profile has yet to grace the annals of our database, thereby enshrouding the identity of the suspect. Nevertheless, we are meticulously scrutinizing numerous familial resemblances in pursuit of connecting these dots,” affirmed Superintendent Bray.
Although nearly five decades have elapsed since the occurrence of this grave injustice, the echoes of yesteryears might yet yield a whisper, a peculiar detail, from a friend or kin. In the face of even the most trivial fragment, a call to Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 is earnestly solicited, accompanied by the promise of a reward, a million-fold, for information leading to the apprehension of the malefactor.