Sarah MacDiarmid, a 23-year-old Scottish-Australian woman born on 15th November 1966, vanished from Kananook railway station in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 11th July 1990. Although no trace of her body has ever been found, she is presumed to have been a victim of murder.
Following her work, MacDiarmid, accompanied by two friends, engaged in a game of tennis at what was then known as Flinders Park in Batman Avenue, East Melbourne. Subsequently, they strolled to Richmond station, only to discover that they had narrowly missed catching a Frankston line train. Having immigrated to Australia with her family from the Scottish Highlands in 1987, they boarded a train at Caulfield, switched to a Frankston service, and continued their journey. While MacDiarmid’s friends alighted at Bonbeach, she continued on to the Kananook station, where her car was parked. At approximately 10:20 p.m., she was last seen leaving the train and heading towards the dimly illuminated parking area.
Investigation of the Case:
In addition to bloodstains and drag marks leading into the bushes next to Sarah’s red 1978 Honda Civic in the station’s parking lot, the police also discovered her cigarette lighter on the ground. However, Sarah remained unaccounted for. Witnesses later claimed that Sarah had disembarked from the train and crossed the footbridge to the parking lot, where some bystanders overheard a woman shouting, “Give me back my keys!” Despite a thorough 21-day search by more than 250 police personnel by air, sea, and land, no sign of her was found. Later, when information was sought, two witnesses came forward, stating they had also heard a woman cry out, “Give me back my keys!”
The coroner’s inquest in May 2006 concluded that MacDiarmid “had met her demise as a result of foul play, although the exact circumstances were unknown.”
Awards and Suspects:
A reward of $50,000 from the State Government escalated to $75,000 after an anonymous donor contributed an additional $10,000. Subsequently, in 2004, the reward was raised to an astonishing $1 million, which remains in effect to this day.
During an interrogation in 2011, Australian serial killer Paul Denyer flatly denied any involvement in MacDiarmid’s abduction.
In May 2014, News Corp Australia reported that Bandali Debs, a convicted Australian serial killer, was under police investigation. A “senior police source” cited by Fairfax Media stated that it is “standard procedure” for homicide investigators to explore connections between unsolved homicides and well-known offenders. As MacDiarmid’s disappearance was still an “active” case, a Victoria Police spokesperson declined to comment to Fairfax Media.
The inaugural episode of the Australian psychic television programme “Sensing Murder,” which aired on Network Ten in September 2004, delved into the cold case. According to the psychics involved in the program, MacDiarmid had been murdered, and her body had been discarded at an abandoned garbage dump on the Mornington Peninsula.
In 2010, when MacDiarmid’s disappearance marked 20 years, her family and friends visited the Kananook train station to pay their respects at a memorial. Additionally, the woman’s family introduced the website “Not Alone,” intended to aid other families facing similar circumstances. On this occasion, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Dannye Moloney emphasized that they would not close the case, stating that history demonstrates that keeping in touch with people, whether locally or globally, can eventually lead to valuable information or a resolution.
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