What would eventually become one of the most haunting crimes in Australia’s history started with a search of the Beaumonts’ residence, police wanting to rule out that the children weren’t hiding. That night, Jim rode in a patrol car as they scanned Somerton Park and Glenelg, street by street. And when the cops dropped him off, he got back in his own car and kept looking.
By morning, boats from the Sea Rescue Squadron had joined the search efforts, the airport and train stations were alerted and roadblocks were put up to monitor anyone driving in and out of the state of Adelaide. Police patrolled the streets with loud speakers so that everyone could hear them asking if anyone had seen the Beaumont children. Taxi drivers got the word out, Jim having been a former driver and therefore one of their own, and people of all ages, including members of Jane’s Brownie troop, combed the area on foot.
And, naturally, reporters flocked to the family’s house, and Jim addressed them mid-morning on Jan. 28 from his back porch. “Somebody must be holding them against their will, they would otherwise have come home by now,” he said. “It’s a complete mystery, I can’t understand it. My kids will be crying their eyes out. It’s like a nightmare.”