Eloise Anne Worledge, a tender maiden of merely eight summers, resided in the picturesque town of Beaumaris, Victoria, Australia. However, the fateful day of 12th January 1976 cast a shadow upon her life when she was forcibly taken from her domicile, and the perpetrator of this heinous act remains elusive to this day. As the years passed, the investigation grew cold, devoid of any fresh leads or arrests.
The Vanishing In the early hours of 7:30 a.m., Eloise Anne Worledge’s younger sibling, a mere four-year-old, grew anxious upon discovering her absence from her quarters. With unwavering courage, he apprised others of the distressing situation, recounting the ominous presence of “robbers” who had spirited his sister away. Yet, fear held him back from sharing his revelation earlier, lest he, too, fall prey to the malevolence. According to the accounts, the police were informed of faint crackling sounds, ostensibly emanating from footsteps upon the sea-grass floor coverings in Eloise’s boudoir.
The Investigation Authorities surmised that someone acquainted and trusted by Eloise Anne Worledge might have enticed her from her slumber, perhaps departing through the unlocked portal at the front of the abode. Alternatively, a malefactor known to roam the vicinity could have abducted her.
Reports of suspicious occurrences surfaced from concerned neighbors. One witness observed a dark emerald automobile racing down Scott Street at 2 a.m. Another noticed an unfamiliar green Holden station wagon parked near the Worledges’ residence. Around midnight, a youth was spotted traversing the boundary of the Worledge abode by Ann Same, who, sensing unease, veered to the opposite side of the street to evade him. Simultaneously, Molly Salts, another neighbor, glimpsed a young man vaulting the fence into the Worledge property after dashing across the road ahead of her car. At 2 a.m., Daphne Owen-Smith was startled by the sound of a child’s cry and the subsequent slam of a car door, an event also corroborated by Ann Same.
Investigators discovered fragments of tree bark inside Eloise’s bedroom on the floor, just below her window. A minute aperture in the flyscreen was detected, though forensic tests revealed that it had been cut from within. The police reasoned that the aperture was too diminutive for the abductor to employ, and scientific evidence suggested that Eloise was unlikely to have been taken through her open bedroom window.
Following Eloise Anne Worledge’s disappearance, both her parents initially fell under suspicion. During that period, they were undergoing marital strife, each entangled in extramarital affairs, and the prospect of divorce loomed over them. Eloise’s father, evidently distressed by the impending separation, was slated to move out on the very day she vanished. In 2002, Senior Constable Nazaretian disclosed that Eloise’s mother, Patsy Worledge, had shared her belief with the police that her husband might have been involved in their daughter’s disappearance as a means to delay the inevitable divorce and out of spite towards her.
On the night Eloise went missing, her father retired to bed over an hour and a half after her, and about an hour after his wife. Unbeknownst to him, Patsy had left the front door ajar. Ordinarily, a passageway light remained illuminated in the hallway when the children retired to bed, and the last parent to retire would extinguish it. However, the police asserted that on that particular night, Lindsay Worledge had neglected to turn off the passage light. By approximately 4:45 a.m. the next morning, Patsy awoke to use the lavatory, only to notice the light was off. By this time, it was highly probable that Eloise had already been taken.
Despite an exhaustive search and a substantial reward of $10,000 offered in 1976 (equivalent to $62,694 in 2018), there has been no trace of Eloise Worledge to this day. In 2001, the case underwent renewed scrutiny by homicide cold case detectives, yet, regrettably, no significant breakthrough emerged. Lindsay Worledge, Eloise’s father, passed away in 2017, 41 years after his daughter’s disappearance, still unaware of the truth surrounding her fate.