Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Truro Murders – (Part One)







The Truro Murders – (Part One)



Truro, a small town of about 400 people located about 80kms north-east of Adelaide, and only minutes out of Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley became the focus of the largest police probe in South Australian History.
 Whilst out searching for mushrooms near swamp road, Truro on the 25 of April, 1978, Bill and Valda Thomas came across a bone which they thought belonged to a cow.
 Valda, concerned the bone may have belonged to something other than a cow, convinced Bill to drive back out to Swamp Road and have another look. The Couple found the bone again, and after clearing away some sand, discovered the bone had a shoe attached. Inside the shoe was the remains of a foot, including the skin and painted toenails.
 The police were notified, and they searched the immediate area, finding clothing, blood stains and more bones and personal belongings.
 The bones were identified as to belonging to Veronica Knight an 18 year old girl who had gone missing in Adelaide near Christmas of 1976.
 The police investigation didn’t last long because of the lack of evidence of foul play. It was decided that Ms Knight may have gotten lost and perished from dehydration. The case was left opened as no more leads had been found.
Later in 1978, another young woman’s body was found near Murray Bridge. The find of skeletal remains was hard to identify, but it soon became evident that they belonged to a young lady, 20 years old, named Maria Dickinson. She had been shot through the head.

 Maria had gone missing 8 months previously to the grisly find.
 Almost exactly one year after the discovery of Ms Knight, on April 15th 1979, a group of bushwalkers came across bones partially buried in the sand only a kilometre or so from the burial area of Ms Knight. These bones belonged to 16 year old Sylvia Pittman
 Police had made a connection with girls being reported missing in a two to three month period, and knew they were dealing with a serial murderer.
 A profile was made of the killer; A local Adelaide man, sex offender, and possible someone who had recently served time in an Adelaide Gaol, and may have possibly returned to gaol recently.
 The investigation quietly continued on until the media caught wind of the investigation and began to report it locally. It soon became a case of national interest, with newspapers offering rewards of $10,000 to catch the killer, and the Government offering $30,000

Next Week: The Truro Murders (Part 2): The Victims: Veronica and Tania
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