Unsolved Sarah MacDiarmid disappearance (1990)

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Doss

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For those unfamiliar, Sarah was twenty-three years of age when she disappeared, apparently without a trace, late on July 11, 1990 from Kananook Railway Station, which is in the suburb of Frankston North, in Melbourne.

She had been playing tennis with her friends in Richmond, and caught the train home with them. Her friend/s got off the Frankston train at Bonbeach, and Sarah stayed on another three stops until Kananook, where her car was parked. She was last seen alighting the train at Kananook and heading towards her car at approximately 10.20pm.

To this day, over 22 years later, it remains unclear what happened to her and who was responsible- although, obviously, it is more or less 100% certain that she was murdered. The only physical clue was bloodstains that were observed near her car.

It featured as the initial episode of the psychic TV series Sensing Murder in 2004- I have been unable to find it online, but I watched it and some others here might remember it too.


Four main theories have done the rounds:

1. Local junkies robbed and killed her by accident
2. Paul Denyer (who later murdered three girls in the area in 1993) killed her
3. That she intentionally disappeared (as some people suggest in every disappearance case)
4. That someone completely unknown and off the radar killed her

The third is so unlikely that it can immediately be discounted- she was murdered.

The Denyer theory, on the surface, might appear to be plausible, but the interesting thing is that Denyer has always maintained he had nothing to do with it- which is very much in contradiction with his blatant openness, and boasting, about his 1993 murders.

The first theory has credence, but could be difficult to get much traction on- to be blunt, there's a pretty good chance that junkies who frequented the Kananook area in 1990 are either long gone, or long passed from this world because of drug abuse, overdosing etc.

The fourth, well, who knows.

Here are a collection of a few articles and links to websites a simple Google search of 'Sarah MacDiarmid' brings up:

http://www.australianmissingpersonsregister.com/Macdiarmid.htm

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/07/10/1089000397377.html

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/s...eaking-20year-anniversary-20100709-10463.html

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vi...ller-paul-denyer/story-fn7x8me2-1226120755868

Plenty more there if you Google them yourself.



A truly perplexing, and tragic, case.
 

The Dice Man

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I grew up in frankston and was 18-20 years old around this time. Charles Denyer even sold me cigarettes at the local 24 hour petrol station. All his murders were in places I knew and had been in. In fact we lived in the same street, albeit I lived in the street 15 years before him. But I knew the areas he knew. I know the bike track off Skye rd, I know the reserve in langwarrin, I used to play footy there, and ride my bike where his victims lost their lives.

It was a scary winter. My girlfriend at the time was travelling to Uni at bundoora by train and one night she was a few hours late getting home.. This was pre-mobile phones and everyone was sick with worry. Thankfully she was ok.

Strange and scary time to live in that area... Also around the same time, maybe a little earlier was Karmein Chan.
 

Doss

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I grew up in frankston and was 18-20 years old around this time. Charles Denyer even sold me cigarettes at the local 24 hour petrol station. All his murders were in places I knew and had been in. In fact we lived in the same street, albeit I lived in the street 15 years before him. But I knew the areas he knew. I know the bike track off Skye rd, I know the reserve in langwarrin, I used to play footy there, and ride my bike where his victims lost their lives.

It was a scary winter. My girlfriend at the time was travelling to Uni at bundoora by train and one night she was a few hours late getting home.. This was pre-mobile phones and everyone was sick with worry. Thankfully she was ok.

Strange and scary time to live in that area... Also around the same time, maybe a little earlier was Karmein Chan.
Karmein Chan disappeared nine months later, actually- on April 13, 1991.

That one is probably worthy of its own thread.
 

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roobear

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It was an interesting episode of Sensing Murder, and I remember in the follow up to it, they mentioned a heroin addict called Jodie (I think) who was known to be violent and hang around with a group of addicts at the station a bit. She was dead within a few years of Sarah's disappearance. It struck me as especially plausible that a robbery attempt gone wrong was the most likely explanation. Dreadful for her family and friends though, and particularly unfair that they will probably never know the truth.
 

Doss

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It was an interesting episode of Sensing Murder, and I remember in the follow up to it, they mentioned a heroin addict called Jodie (I think) who was known to be violent and hang around with a group of addicts at the station a bit. She was dead within a few years of Sarah's disappearance. It struck me as especially plausible that a robbery attempt gone wrong was the most likely explanation. Dreadful for her family and friends though, and particularly unfair that they will probably never know the truth.
Strong memory you have there; you've jogged mine, too.

I remember the portrayal of that 'Jodie' was very unflattering- she was thought to be the leader of that group of junkies, wasn't she? For some reason when I think of her I think of stilettos- was she alleged to have stomped someone to death with stilettos once?

If that's the sort of woman Sarah came into contact with...urgh.
 

Lockyer24

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Just watched the above, and remembered watching it all those years ago.
Such a shame there seems to be no concrete leads. Dunno about that psychic stuff, that guy was a little too accurate.
 

twarby

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they always come up with some interesting theories but there has never been any arrests come about from the show, so its probably all bull.

local junkies theory seems the most plausible here but you would think a body would have turned up, likewise Denyer never tried to hide his victims bodies, hard to imagine he has done the perfect crime three years before he started his spree.

Will probably never find out unless a body pops up
 

Doss

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This one ?

Yep cheers, ET, that's the one I was after.

I had a look at it- I don't have much time for that psychic stuff but it does raise an important question- why was that tip not searched in 1990? Obviously it's going to be pretty hard (and as the Council pointed out, potentially dangerous) to exhume years and years of waste; they may conceivably had a chance of doing so in 1990, though.

The other thing from that video, that computer-constructed face late in the programme is one of the scariest looking faces I've ever seen.
 

Mr Reliable

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Yep cheers, ET, that's the one I was after.

I had a look at it- I don't have much time for that psychic stuff but it does raise an important question- why was that tip not searched in 1990? Obviously it's going to be pretty hard (and as the Council pointed out, potentially dangerous) to exhume years and years of waste; they may conceivably had a chance of doing so in 1990, though.

The other thing from that video, that computer-constructed face late in the programme is one of the scariest looking faces I've ever seen.
Wasn't a golf course built on that tip? The authorities are never going to do anything too drastic on the strength of a tip from a psychic. If it didn't pay off they'd be labelled as complete lunatics and be thrown out of office.

It's a fascinating case because (a) I used to point out Kananook station to my girls and tell them the Sarah McDiarmid story every time we drove past it, (b) now I park there when i'm going to the footy and (c) I feel so sorry for the poor parents.

As for the theories and suspects, Paul Denyer seemed pretty likely. Didn't he live just around the corner. Big coincidence - girl murdered near a serial killer's house while he's ironing his shirts.

Discounting him because he didn't admit to doing it doesn't seem logical. And you'd suspect that word of a gang killing would get around and eventually get back to the cops.
 

Doss

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Yeah, I certainly wasn't suggesting they dig up the area now (or when the doco was made in 2004) based on the musings of the psychic- that would be idiotic. I was more suggesting that it seems a little strange, as it was still operational tip in July 1990, that it wasn't searched at the time.

I'm certainly not completely discounting Denyer's possible involvement based on his denials, but as noted, it is in contrast to his openness (including leading police to the bodies) about his 1993 murders.

I still personally think the local junkies are the most likely culprit.
 

Mr Reliable

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Yeah, I certainly wasn't suggesting they dig up the area now (or when the doco was made in 2004) based on the musings of the psychic- that would be idiotic. I was more suggesting that it seems a little strange, as it was still operational tip in July 1990, that it wasn't searched at the time.

I'm certainly not completely discounting Denyer's possible involvement based on his denials, but as noted, it is in contrast to his openness (including leading police to the bodies) about his 1993 murders.

I still personally think the local junkies are the most likely culprit.
You may be right about the local junkies. There are plenty to choose from.

There's a series on Foxtel called ''Psychic Detectives''. Have you ever watched it? There's a crime and the police run low on leads and a psychic detective helps solve it. Some cops are co-operative/open-minded and invite the psychic in, while others are grudgingly won over. A few cops respond with ''well we would have solved it anyway with good old fashioned police work.''

I often wonder if it's just a fluke that the psychic solves the crime and there are scores of failures that we never get to hear about. There was a local TV show not long back where psychics did a series of tests and I'd have to say the results were disappointing. But that was all a bit artificial so I'm none the wiser, I suppose.

I still remember watching that series on crimes in Melbourne and being amazed at how the psychic drove past Kannanook station and said turn around, I want to go back there. How the car even happened to be heading towards Frankston (from the airport, IIRC) amazed me too.
 

Doss

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You may be right about the local junkies. There are plenty to choose from.

There's a series on Foxtel called ''Psychic Detectives''. Have you ever watched it? There's a crime and the police run low on leads and a psychic detective helps solve it. Some cops are co-operative/open-minded and invite the psychic in, while others are grudgingly won over. A few cops respond with ''well we would have solved it anyway with good old fashioned police work.''

I often wonder if it's just a fluke that the psychic solves the crime and there are scores of failures that we never get to hear about. There was a local TV show not long back where psychics did a series of tests and I'd have to say the results were disappointing. But that was all a bit artificial so I'm none the wiser, I suppose.

I still remember watching that series on crimes in Melbourne and being amazed at how the psychic drove past Kannanook station and said turn around, I want to go back there. How the car even happened to be heading towards Frankston (from the airport, IIRC) amazed me too.
No, I've never watched it, mainly because I don't have Foxtel. I think if I were a cop, though, I would be fairly hard to win over in regards to the psychic stuff. There have certainly been many cases where psychics have been brought in and been completely wide of the mark- remember how a psychic swore the bodies of the Beaumont children were buried in concrete under a specific warehouse? They dug up said warehouse....no dice.

I'm not completely discounting the possibility that there is potential for aspects of the work of psychics' work to be integrated, but we clearly don't understand (and possibly never will) how it works enough for it to be ever be part of the mainstream.

In my opinion, anyway.
 

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childeric

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I was told way back in 1991 that the police knew for certain who committed it but couldn't get sufficient evidence to take it to court
 

SquiffyRae

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Just reading through this thread there's one issue I have with the junkie theory:

If there was some sort of a scuffle and Sarah is accidentally killed by a junkie trying to rob her, would a junkie bother to get rid of the body? I would've thought in that scenario a junkie who accidentally killed her would just leave the body where it is and run.

For me, the fact she hasn't been found more than 30 years after her disappearance suggests something a little more calculated. Not necessarily that she was specifically targeted but at the very least killed by someone who had a plan of what to do with a body when they finally crossed the line
 

PetterdHoisted

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Just reading through this thread there's one issue I have with the junkie theory:

If there was some sort of a scuffle and Sarah is accidentally killed by a junkie trying to rob her, would a junkie bother to get rid of the body? I would've thought in that scenario a junkie who accidentally killed her would just leave the body where it is and run.

For me, the fact she hasn't been found more than 30 years after her disappearance suggests something a little more calculated. Not necessarily that she was specifically targeted but at the very least killed by someone who had a plan of what to do with a body when they finally crossed the line
Could not agree more, ‘junkies got her’ sounds like a bad joke.

If that was the best the cops could do, I’d be looking for someone connected to the cops.

Seems like..a lack of effort

but I know nothing of the case
 

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