Tragedies seal bond for mates

MOUNT Morgan's Jim Beyers and his old friend Michael Chamberlain share a tragic bond when it comes to grieving for missing people.

In 1980, Jim did his best to console Michael and Linday Chamberlain when their daughter Azaria was taken by a dingo at Ayers Rock.

Mr Chamberlain returned that gesture 21 years later when Jim's wife Beryl vanished in Mount Morgan.

Today is the fifth anniversary of her disappearance.

Last week Jim, 74, said he and Mr Chamberlain had been friends since meeting as ministers of the 7th Day Adventist Church, more than 25 years ago.

And while the Azaria story may have captured the imagination of a nation it has never been a mystery to Jim.

"Michael and Lindy simply did not tell lies,'' he insisted.

He said the Chamberlains were vegetarians and the slaughter of animals was foreign to them.

"It is unthinkable Lindy would kill her baby,'' he said. "A dingo did take Azaria.''

A similarity between the two cases is a theory that wild dogs may have taken Beryl and her little dog Lady.

Jim said dog packs had been seen in the rugged country west of the old Mount Morgan mine.

The last known sighting of Beryl, 68, and Lady was at the old mine entry, during their usual early morning walk.

Most times Jim went with them, but on that fateful day he slept in.

No trace of them was ever found despite an extensive fourday search.

An inquest heard there were abandoned mine shafts she may have fallen in to.

Jim said Lady always went on walks without a leash and would not have gone near such a pitfall.

It was also suggested Beryl may have been abducted. Jim doubts that.

He thinks wild dogs may have taken Beryl but also offered another possibility.

Beryl had been receiving treatment for depression for almost a year before her disappearance.

"At times she would remark that she 'felt like crawling into a hollow log','' he said.

"Perhaps she did find some place to hide and blocked the entrance.''

As a diabetic, even if she had food and water, Beryl could have only survived three days without insulin.

Jim said she had wandered away twice before, but on both occasions had "snapped out'' of what had appeared to be some kind of hallucination.

Although he continues to grieve for his lost wife, his love for her has never changed.

Testament to this are six photos of Beryl in his lounge room. One of these is their large framed wedding photo.

"She is absolutely beautiful,'' he said.

"She looks like (movie star) Jane Wyman.''

"We were both virgins when we were married and our love endured for almost 50 years. We were soul mates.''

Mr Beyers said Beryl nearly died from kidney failure when she was four years old.

"All the local churches forgot their differences and united in prayer for her,'' he said.

"I believe that is what saved her, so I regard our 48 years of marriage as borrowed time.

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