Police search the Maitland property for the remains of Colleen Adams. Picture: SA Police
Police search the Maitland property for the remains of Colleen Adams. Picture: SA Police

COLD CASE: Husband charged with wife’s 1973 murder

FORTY-FIVE years after young South Australian mother Colleen Adams went missing from her Yorke Peninsula home, her husband has been charged with murder after taking Major Crime detectives to the spot where her remains are believed to be buried.

Wallaroo man Geoffrey Adams, 70, is assisting detectives to locate her skeletal remains.

Major Crime detectives took Adams into custody early Wednesday afternoon at his Wallaroo home. After an initial interview, he agreed to accompany detectives to his former home at Maitland.

He arrived at the Bagnal Ave home just after 3pm and took detectives to a concreted area near a rainwater tank that had been shifted.

Detective Superintendent Bray said the property was now being cordoned off as a crime scene, and would be covered with a tent. Excavation work will be undertaken on Thursday.

At 4.45pm police announced Adams had been charged with murder.

The dramatic development in the case came on the third day of searching at the Bagnal Ave property for Mrs Adams' remains.

Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey.
Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey.

 

Detectives converged on the property on Monday to start the search following a full review of the cold case - revealed in the Sunday Mail last weekend.

While excavations started at the house on Monday, detectives simultaneously descended on Adams' Wallaroo home and he was again interviewed over the suspected murder of his wife almost 45 years ago.

On Tuesday, Adams confirmed publicly he was considered a suspect in the case.

"All husbands are suspects,'' he said.

Adams still owns the modest Bagnal Ave home, but it is rented to a couple who have no connection with Mrs Adams' murder.

Detectives have excavated several areas after examinations using ground-penetrating radar equipment, but have so far found nothing.

Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey at their wedding.
Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey at their wedding.

Adams has told detectives his wife walked out the front door of their Yorke Peninsula home moments after telling him their marriage was over.

He said she was carrying two suitcases containing her belongings, she got into a vehicle driven by another woman and it drove away just after 7am on November 22, 1973.

Mrs Adams, 24, has not been seen since.

While Adams has repeated the same account to detectives each time he has been interviewed, it is at odds with the information they have gathered.

While it appears the couple were having marital problems - with neighbours reporting loud arguments for some time - there are numerous indicators that firmly show Mrs Adams was not planning to leave her Maitland home.

Police search the Maitland property for the remains of Colleen Adams. Picture: SA Police
Police search the Maitland property for the remains of Colleen Adams. Picture: SA Police

Foremost was the fact she doted on her two young girls, aged 18 months and 3, with relatives telling police she would never leave them - even if she had left her husband.

She had also been preparing for Christmas, buying a "special'' present for her husband and other gifts for her sister.

While Mrs Adams vanished on November 22, her husband did not report her missing to police.

On December 19 - 27 days after she vanished - her mother Vera Milbank lodged a missing persons' report with police.

In 1974 detectives made some follow-up inquiries in Maitland and Adelaide, but could not locate Mrs Adams. The file remained an open missing person's report until 1979 when the case was declared a major crime because there was no trace of her and she had made no contact with any family.

 

 

The Adams family home in 1973.
The Adams family home in 1973.

At that time Major Crime detectives spent several months in Maitland and Wallaroo, to where Adams had shifted, interviewing people over the disappearance.

In 2001 Major Crime received information from a local that Mrs Adams' remains may have been disposed of at a private rubbish dump on the nearby Port Clinton Rd. An extensive search found nothing.

 

 

 

Geoffrey Adams with police at their former Maitland home. Pic: 9 News
Geoffrey Adams with police at their former Maitland home. Pic: 9 News
Police search for Colleen Adams’ remains at a dump near Maitland in 2001.
Police search for Colleen Adams’ remains at a dump near Maitland in 2001.
Police search the same property decades later. Picture: SA Police
Police search the same property decades later. Picture: SA Police


CQ owners hit horse racing jackpot with 70-1 longshot

premium_icon CQ owners hit horse racing jackpot with 70-1 longshot

THANGOOL syndicate still riding high after horse, Belflyer won

Man injured after car slams into tree

Man injured after car slams into tree

UPDATE: Patient will be airlifted to hospital shortly.

Jambin graziers say drought relief model is outdated

premium_icon Jambin graziers say drought relief model is outdated

GILL Schmidt's property is extremely dry and says help is needed

Local Partners