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Taboo of child abuse – Adelaide’s Unsolved Family Murders!


They had an agenda of promoting the evils of sexual abuse and were able to promote that agenda because they had access to people in the corridors of power. For decades, gay bashers operated with impunity. Sometimes, they killed their victims. The police often didn’t care. Sometimes, they were said to be doing the bashing. Society felt powerless and would look the other way.

The Family was the name given to a close-knit group of men believed to be involved in the kidnapping, sexual abuse and, at times, torture of young men and teenage boys in and around Adelaide, South Australia, from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.

The existence of the group came to the attention of the public following the murder of five teenagers between 1979 and 1983. The high-profile occupations of some of the suspects led to claims of an alleged high-society conspiracy. From 1979 to 1983, the bodies of five young men were found in the area around Adelaide. All of them showed signs of sexual wounds, and led police to the doorstep of one man: Bevan Spencer von Einem. However, evidence only linked von Einem to one crime, leading the world to believe that he didn’t act alone.

Four of the five murders remain unsolved. Only one suspect has been charged and convicted for crimes: Bevan Spencer von Einem was sentenced in 1984 to a minimum of 24 years (later extended to a minimum 36-year term) for the murder of 15-year-old Richard Kelvin.

Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital.  

Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. The city’s Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts gathering with spin-offs including fringe and film events.

Adelaide is seen as a very liberal, shining beacon of progressivism in the modern era, but back in the 1960s and 1970s, was going through a period of growing pains. Once known as “the City of Churches,” Adelaide was beginning to go through a cultural renaissance. Arts festivals were popping up left and right, and the once-conservative nature of the town was beginning to fall prey to what some called “the hippie movement.”

This reached a boiling point when, in 1972, two men were thrown into the Torrens River. Members of the city’s Vice Squad – a police unit primarily aimed at targeting drug users and offenders of “moral” laws – were tasked with rooting out homosexuals. Believe it or not, this was a practice of Southern Australia’s law enforcement. Most of time, instead of actually arresting gay men for their perceived crimes, they would simply rough them up, as much as it pains me to say.

Read: The Bondi Murders

George Duncan and Roger James were two men that had been picked up by the Vice Squad on this evening, May 10th. Instead of facing any charges for being gay, the handful of police officers present decided that the best course of action would be to throw both men into the nearby Torrens River itself.

Both men hit the water, and one didn’t come back out alive. George Duncan would drown in the river that evening, and the other, Roger James, would escape the Torrens with a broken ankle.

While the members of the Vice Squad began to panic, and news cameras rushed to capture video of Duncan’s body being pulled from the river, Roger James was helped out of the water by a stranger. This stranger’s name was as peculiar as the man it belonged to: Bevan Spencer von Einem. von Einem helped James from the water, and actually drove him to the nearby Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Alan Barnes was a teenager that seemed to live in this bubble between being a child and an adult. He was seventeen, with a youthful, good-looking appearance and a care-free, fun-loving attitude.

Alan Barnes

He lived with his parents, both English immigrants, in Salisbury, a northern suburb of Adelaide. His mother, Judy, described him as being incredibly witty: “cheeky,” as she tells it in a documentary about the case. She goes on to describe him as being the type of person who was quick on his feet, and would respond to any type of comment with something incredibly funny.

Alan was beginning to enter the phase of life where he was experimenting with drugs. With friends, Alan had begun smoking weed and pushing himself to the threshold of his comfort zone, trying to find out who he was in a burgeoning social scene.

On Saturday, June 16th, 1979, Alan spent the night at a friend’s house. What the two were up to is anyone’s guess, but rumors and theories have cropped up in the decades since. Witnesses recall seeing them at some of those local hot-spots, such as the bars and clubs I previously mentioned.

On Sunday, June 17th, Alan and his friend woke up, and tried their luck at hitchhiking home. They were trying to hitch a ride on Grand Junction Road, before realizing that the both of them were going to have no luck together. Who would have the patience to pick up TWO hitchhikers, let alone one? Alan’s friend headed back home, figuring that Alan would be okay: Grand Junction Road was always busy, and there were plenty of people around them hitting up the shops. And that was, sadly, the last that anyone remembers seeing of Alan Barnes while he was alive.

Alan wouldn’t return home that Sunday. On Monday morning, his parents hadn’t seen him in a matter of days, and felt that it was time to contact the police. Alan was nearly an adult, at this point in his life, but even this was a bit drastic for him. He had never disappeared before, so this was a cause for concern.

Alan’s friend told police the story: that they had been hanging out together throughout Saturday and the first part of Sunday, but that they had split up. Alan was supposed to find a ride back home, and was taking his luck hitchhiking, hoping that someone was travelling north near his family’s community of Salisbury.

Alan Barnes

Alan Barnes

Witnesses remembered seeing Alan on Grand Junction Road that Sunday. He was a good-looking young man with long, blonde hair; even in that day and age, he’d stick in your memory somewhat. But one witness recalled something very disconcerting: this witness told police that they saw Alan get into a vehicle. They remembered the vehicle as looking like a white sedan, which may have been a Holden, and that there were a couple of occupants inside the car, other than the driver.

For the next week, police would have to chew upon that information. And most unfortunately, the resolution they’d get the following weekend would be hard to swallow for everyone involved.

The following Sunday, June 24th, a couple of hikers were “bushwalking” up in the area known as the Adelaide Foothills. Just east of Adelaide, the area is well-known to Southern Australians, and serves as a primary destination for day-hikers and campers.

These two hikers were right next to the South Para Reservoir, when they noticed something on the ground. Whatever it was, it looked like a body, but was somehow twisted and contorted in an inhuman nature.
Police were called, and before long, Alan’s father and grandfather found themselves on their way to identify the body as their teenage relative.

The news was heart-breaking. The Barnes family had been bracing themselves for the worst, but this was confirmation of their worst fears. Alan had been murdered, and the extent of his injuries would reveal that he had suffered a worse fate beforehand.

The South Para Reservoir where Alan Barnes was found

When police arrived to the scene, they made the immediate assumption that whoever had tried to dump the body of Alan Barnes had failed, in some way. The bridge, up above, had a clearing of about a meter, meaning that whomever had tried to catapult Alan into the water below had missed the mark.

His body had fallen to the dirt below, but had twisted and contorted in such a way that if he was still alive, it would have surely resulted in death or serious injury.

However, the Adelaide medical examiners would come to the conclusion that Alan had died at least a day or two before being dumped near the South Para Reservoir. And his cause of death is where the story begins to take a drastically dark turn.

Police believed that Alan had been held for days, tortured and beaten by a sexual sadist. They identified his cause of death as blood loss from an anal injury, caused by an item that would have torn apart his insides.

What’s more is that the medical examiners also found trace amounts of chloral hydrate in his blood stream, leading police to believe that he had been drugged. They quickly surmised that the drug Noctec, which was a non-prescription pharmaceutical used to aid people with sleep issues, had been given to Alan some time before his death. Whether it was in a laced drink was a serious question for them, because they also discovered alcohol in his blood stream, making it a real possibility that Alan had been given a Mickey.

The medical examiners also discovered that Alan’s body had been extensively washed, his captor wanting to scrub away any evidence that could link the two together. The clothes that Alan had been wearing when he disappeared were also gone, and he was found wearing clothes that were not his.

Police immediately began investigating the crime as a personal one; the idea of a random killer hadn’t even crossed their mind. This seemed like the type of murder beset by personal issues, or committed by someone with an ax to grind against Alan.

Two days after the body of Alan Barnes was discovered, an anonymous caller got in touch with the police investigating the crime. They told the detectives that a man named Bevan Spencer von Einem was responsible for the murder, and his name was added to the list of suspects. The police wanted to try and eliminate suspects that actually knew Alan first and foremost, but promised to check out von Einem. Sadly, this dark and tragic story was just beginning.

On Monday, August 27th, Neil Muir was seen alive for the last time. He had become so topsy-turvy, due to the mix of drugs and alcohol in his system, that a bouncer had to physically drag him outside. Then, he began to stumble down the street, only to be found again the next day… in pieces. The next day – on Tuesday, August 28th – a couple of fishermen were heading out to the Port Adelaide River, on a regular week workday. They had no idea that they were about to make one of the most gruesome discoveries in Australian history.

A couple of black trash-bags were floating on the low tide of the river’s coast. They looked as if they had been dropped from the higher-up wharf, just like the body of Alan Barnes had been. But, just like Alan Barnes’ body, these bags had failed to connect with the larger body of water, and instead of floating out into the sea, where they’d be lost forever, they instead rested still against the coast, a mystery waiting to be unearthed.

Upon investigating the bag, on the shores of Mutton Cove, the fishermen discovered Neil Muir. Or, sadly, what remained of the man.

Neil Muir

Neil Muir’s body had been so badly mutilated that he barely resembled a human being. His body had been dissected into parts, his internal organs carved out and missing, replaced by his lower legs and arms, which had been sawed off and put inside his chest cavity. His head had also been removed from the rest of his body, but was hanging on with a rope tie and stuffed into another black trash bag. His numerous tattoos had also been cut away from his flesh, the remains of which were stuffed into his chest cavity along with his legs.

Describing this makes me a little stick to my stomach, but I think it’s important to note just how much effort was gone into mutilating the body of Neil Muir. He had gone missing just a day before, but was dumped like a science experiment-gone-wrong within 24 hours of his disappearance.

When police arrived, they cordoned off the area, and began their exhaustive efforts to find out what had happened to Neil Muir. The discovery of his remains was like a scene from a horror movie, so this was the type of story that was going to attract attention from the population at-large.

When the ME’s began to examine his body, they discovered a red flag that hearkened back to the discovery of Alan Barnes’ corpse.

Neil Muir had the same type of anal injuries as Alan, implying that a large, bottle-shaped object had been used to injure him, causing a large amount of blood loss. They would also find a head wound on Neil, implying that he had been struck by his killer some time before his death, but it wasn’t enough to kill him. No, that had come from the blood loss due to the sexual assault, just like Alan Barnes.

Police and the medical examiners were also shocked to find out that, in addition to his limbs being sawed off, Neil’s genitals had been mutilated by his killer. His penis had been cut, and he was missing a testicle. Police understood why Neil’s body might have been cut up, as it would make the body easier to manage and transport in a single trash bag, but the genital mutilation implied that there was a sadistic sexual nature to the crime.

Bevan Spencer von Einem

Investigator Rod Hunter finally got around to interviewing Bevan Spencer von Einem, who had been implicated by an anonymous caller in the murder of Alan Barnes. While questioning him, at von Einem’s home, the suspect asked about the investigation of Neil Muir, unabated. At that point, Bevan Spencer von Einem told the investigator that he was a homosexual that personally knew Neil Muir, having been a former lover of his roughly four years beforehand, and that he had seen Neil just days before his murder.

Investigator Hunter made note of this, finding it odd that von Einem would have ties to two victims that had suffered the same type of sexual assault before their deaths, but at this point, police already had another lead from Neil Muir’s social circle.

Their first true suspect was named Dr. Peter Millhouse.

Two separate calls linked Dr. Peter Millhouse to the death of Neil Muir. Both callers – drug users and associates of the victim – were prepared to testify in favor of charging Dr. Millhouse for the crime.

Peter Leslie Millhouse was a doctor from Mt. Gambier, a city roughly five hours south of Adelaide. He was single, in his mid-forties, and was a known homosexual who had a bit of an alcohol issue.

Dr. Millhouse lived alone in a cottage in North Adelaide, and drove a ten-year old Holden sedan. He was a known relative of Robin Millhouse, who was the former Attorney General of the South Australian government and would become a South Australian Supreme Court Justice in 1982.

In the days after Neil Muir was murdered, Millhouse went on a bit of a self-described “bender,” abusing alcohol. By the weekend following Neil’s death, Millhouse had already consulted his attorney for any legal ramifications and had checked himself into the Osmond House rehab center.

Peter Millhouse had apparently known Neil Muir for years, but there was never any proof that the two had a sexual relationship. But, surprisingly, when Millhouse was arrested and charged with Neil’s murder, he stated that he never even met the man, defying dozens of witness statements that claimed they were acqaintances – if not friends.

The trial would get postponed until the latter half of 1980, over a year after Neil Muir’s body had been found. Throughout it, the prosecution relied heavily on their circumstantial evidence, failing to establish any motive for the crime or clear evidence. Dr. Peter Millhouse was acquitted of all charges, and let loose, leaving the police right where they had started years beforehand.

Over the next couple of years, the case would stagnate. No new real leads popped up, and police were shy to publicly admit that the true victims – Alan Barnes and Neil Muir – were connected. There was nothing to connect them other than the sexual assault component of the case, and as we just learned, loose threads like that fail to catch on all of the time. It would be another year before anything related to the story happened, and it would take another year after that before any resolution would be made.

Peter Stogneff was a fourteen-year old, who lived with his family in a middle-class northeastern Adelaide suburb.

Peter Stogneff

Peter Stogneff

He was the youngest of the boys involved with this story, and his face showed it: he still had the youthful appearance of a child, and by all means, seemed to be your typical adolescent young man. His parents recalled that he loved music, both listening and playing, and he had a good rapport with his friends.

On Thursday, August 27th, 1981, Peter made the decision to skip school. He obviously didn’t tell his parents his plans, but set off in the morning as if he was going to school. He took his backpack with him, and walked off, just like any other morning.

Over time, investigators have theorized that instead of going to school, he instead went to Tea Tree Plaza, which was a local haunt for youths. At some point, Peter returned home and hid his backpack in the garage, presumably so his parents wouldn’t find it if they returned home before him.

Then, Peter set off towards the distant Rundle Mall, where he was due to meet up with his friend, Daniel, next to a silver sculpture.

Peter never showed up. He had simply disappeared into thin air. When Peter didn’t return home that evening, his family began to look around for him, finding his school bag in the garage, where Peter had hidden it to avoid detection. After calling around to his friends and their families, they discovered the secret plot to skip school, and immediately contacted the police.

The police began asking around, but no sign of Peter would be found for some time. A witness recalled seeing a youth that resembled Peter at Tea Tree Plaza, in the company of an adult male. However, this was never verified by the police and led to no resolution regarding Peter’s fate.

Peter’s fate would remain unknown over the next year, at which point, another victim would unwittingly join the fray.

Mark Langley

Mark Langley was a young man, athletic and good-looking. He was eighteen, a hard-working young man with the entire world in front of him.

It was Saturday, February 27th of 1982, and Mark was attending the 18th birthday party of a friend of his in Windsor Gardens, in northeastern Adelaide. He had driven there with his family, who attended the party with him, but left with a couple of friends afterward to drive around the city.

Mark was cruising around with his buddy, Ian, and Ian’s girlfriend, Paula, when an argument broke out. Ian recalled it being about cigarettes, but it could have been about anything; I think we all know how teenagers are.

However, at some point, while they were parked along the Torrens River on War Memorial Drive, the argument got to a point where Mark decided to get out and walk off into the night. Ian and Paula drove off, returning just a few minutes later, but at that point, Mark was gone.

Mark’s family was concerned when, the next day – Sunday – Mark had still not returned home. They phoned the police that evening, hoping that any trace of their son could be found, but the police were stumped.

However, this led police to think that he had been killed shortly after his abduction, meaning that he had probably been sitting out in the wilderness for about a week before his discovery. Just like Neil Muir, whoever had taken him had killed him and dumped him pretty quickly, within a matter of a day or two.

While police began to investigate who might be responsible, medical examiners tested the system of Mark Langley and made a pretty vital discovery: the existence of drugs in his system.

Just a few months later, in June of 1982, fourteen-year old Peter Stogneff’s family would get some resolution.
A farmer who lived nearby Middle Beach and Two Wells, towns roughly an hour north of Adelaide, had been cleansing his farmland during the winter months. This meant doing away with large swathes of land in a prescribed burn, to prepare for the upcoming spring months.

The only piece of evidence that police were able to uncover from his body was the knowledge that, just like Neil Muir, his body had been cut into parts with a saw. His body hadn’t been cut up exactly like Neil Muir’s, but the M.E.s were able to identify points in the bones above his knees and along his back where a saw had carved his body into pieces.

Needless to say, over the past few months, this investigation had become a new beast entirely. The body count had doubled. The trial of Dr. Peter Millhouse had been concluded for years at this point, and with his acquittal, the police were nowhere closer to finding their suspect.

Farmland nearby where Peter Stogneff’s body was discovered

Richard Kelvin was fifteen years old, on the precipice of turning sixteen, in June of 1983. He was the son of Channel 9 News host Rob Kelvin, who had recently taken over the host gig after over a decade of reporting through the station and a radio affiliate.

Rob Kelvin

Like most of the victims targeted by this unknown killer, Richard was young, athletic, good-looking, and had the entire world ripe for the taking. He played soccer for a local Lockley club on the weekends, and on the day in question – Sunday, June 5th, 1983 – was kicking around the ball with his father, Rob, and his friend, Boris, at a park nearby their home.

After they finished, Rob walked home, and Richard was going to walk Boris down to the nearby O’Connell Street bus stop, where he’d be able to catch a ride home.

As a weird joke, Richard had been wearing the family dog’s collar while they were at the park. It was apparently a joke he had just started that day, and his family thought it was odd, but it made sense for Richard’s sense of humor. They didn’t seem to have an issue with it.

The Kelvin family home, on Ward Street, was just a few blocks away from War Memorial Drive, where Mark Langley had gone missing over a year prior.

Richard and Boris made it down to O’Connell street without incident, and the two were talking for a short bit before Boris’ bus showed up to take him home. He got on, and Richard set off on the walk back to his home – a trip no more than four-hundred meters.

Boris was the last person that remembered seeing Richard alive, because he never made it home.

Richard Kelvin’s disappearance was a slightly higher profile than the others. Having the son of the region’s top newscaster disappear doesn’t happen all of the time, so it was bound to make waves.

The police first investigated Richard’s disappearance as that of a runaway, even though the Kelvins vigorously denied it. Richard had had some problems with kids at his school, but he was a relatively happy kid who had just recently gotten a serious girlfriend. The two had been dating for a month, and Richard had told his mother that he planned on proposing to her when they were both nineteen years old.

Richard Kelvin

Police didn’t arrange a door-to-door canvas of the area until Tuesday, nearly two days after Richard had disappeared. The Kelvins, though somber at the prospect of their son returning safe and sound, understood the process and why it took time.

However, during that door-to-door canvas, the runaway questions soon came to an end. The people living in the area quickly dispelled that with new information.

According to some of the witnesses, they had heard screams and shouts on Sunday evening, as early as 5:30, but as late as 6:30, which is closer to the time that Richard went missing.

One witness: a security guard that lived just down the street from the Kelvins, recalled some of the details succinctly. He remembers hearing a young voice shouting out – who we can only assume was Richard – and a group of voices screaming, almost in unison. Among those voices, he described, was a higher-pitched voice, which may have belonged to a woman. Police didn’t believe that it was Richard, as his voice had already cracked, and he had a relatively low-pitched voice for a boy his age.

However, this supposed witness also recalled the sound of a loud exhaust system, as the shouting came to a close and the car containing the loud voices sped off.

Police had been theorizing about the prior victims, whether they were all connected and killed by the same killer. But now this abduction – the most high-profile by far – brought to light a new idea: what if there was a GROUP of killers, all working together with the purpose of sexually assaulting and murdering these young men?

Sadly, the police would have weeks to chew on these questions, as poor Richard Kelvin’s fate hung in the balance.

Following the supposed abduction of Richard Kelvin, the police unit known as Major Crimes was put in charge of the investigation. Major Crimes was primarily responsible for serial killings, mass killings, and any other high-profile crimes that the local government wanted to be handled by the top dogs in the department.

They would receive a few more anonymous calls in the coming weeks. Most were bollocks, but a few piqued the curiosity of Detective O’Brian. The first of which was a very specific call that alleged two men – named Doug and Mark – were responsible for the abduction of Richard Kelvin. This caller alleged that these two men had been driving a 1963 EJ Holden Sedan. While investigators had been keeping some information close to the chest, they decided to publicize this information in the hopes it got somewhere. Sadly, it did not.

Another caller claimed that they had seen Richard Kelvin in a snuff film, filmed very recently. How, why, or where they had seen this tape escaped the caller, but it was enough to send detectives down the rabbit hole of snuff tapes: which, if you’re happily unaware, are videos made of people dying.

However, while they were still operating under the assumption that Richard Kelvin was alive, police noticed that this would be the third young man abducted on a Sunday. Alan Barnes, Mark Langley, and now Richard Kelvin had all been taken at different times on a Sunday, establishing at the very least a loose link between the three.

While police theorized about what this meant for the killer – or killers – the life of Richard Kelvin was coming to a close. He would suffer in anguish for weeks before meeting his end, over a month after his abduction.

On July 24th, 1983, a family was looking for moss rocks outside of Kersbrooke, up in the vast northeast reaches of the Mount Crawford Forest. They certainly found more than they bargained for when they stumbled upon the body of Richard Kelvin, nearly two months after he had disappeared.

However, unlike the others, Richard had been held for an extended period of time. Investigators surmised that Richard had been held captive for close to five weeks before being dumped in the woods north of the Adelaide Foothills. He had likely been sexually assaulted and beaten throughout that time, enduring agony that I can’t even imagine.

Just like the victims before him, Richard’s bloodstream was tested for drugs, trying to find a link to any of the prior victims. Surprisingly, investigators found an insane combination of sedatives in his system, including Noctec, Mandrax, valium, rohypnol, and amytal.

This stranger, a man with artificially-dyed hair, did take George to a house where two girls were living. He didn’t bother telling George that both of them were transsexuals, transitioning from men to women, just let them do the talking. One of the trans-women began to seduce and woo George, promising a good time. The young man kept finding fresh beers being handed to him by the stranger that had driven him to the house, and when George began to get sleepy, he was offered a couple of pills called “No-Doz.”

The case of the Family Murders has remained in the Australian zeitgeist for years now. And for good reason. Criminologist Allan Perry has speculated that there may be dozens of victims, perhaps up into the triple digits. After all, over 38,000 people go missing in Australia every single year, over 1,000 of which are never found. Who’s to say that any of the open missing persons reports of young men from South Australia aren’t related to these murdered men?

In 2014, the family members of Trevor Peters were going through his belongings in an area of eastern Adelaide known as Kensington. He had died a short time beforehand, and figured that it was about time. Peters had been a gay man, and run around the same circles as Bevan Spencer von Einem and his associates in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As his family members sorted through his belongings, they found a diary.

This diary, written by Peters decades before its discovery, went into detail about his relationship with von Einem, and the others that ran in their social circle. Trevor Peters’ diary alleged that von Einem had discussed the abducton of Alan Barnes with his hairdresser, Denis St. Denis. And, according to Peters’ diary, the pair had taken pictures of Barnes during the week he was missing.

Normally, this would just be a speculative lead: a man alleging that a convicted killer had a conversation, in public, with his hairdresser about an open crime. But this diary had other, more important details. Such as the names of von Einem’s associates, including the correct identities of the three main suspects, whose names police hadn’t released. This diary also linked others to the same band of killers that Australia had called “The Family” for decades.

Gino Luigi Gambardella, a chiropractor who was close friends with both Stevenson and von Einem. He fled Australia in the early 1980s, after multiple allegations of sexual assault put him in the investigation’s cross-hairs.

Robert William Symonds, also known as “Mother Goose,” a bookmaker accused of dozens of sexual assaults ranging from the 1970s through the 1990s. He stood trial in 2011 of multiple accounts of sexual assault, and was acquitted only because the evidence didn’t stand up, almost thirty years later. He had found a way to escape charges the entire time.

Peter Liddy

Peter Liddy was Southern Australia’s longest-tenured magistrate when he was convicted in 2001 of multiple sex crimes, including the sexual assaults of young men ranging as far back as 1969. Many of the assaults he committed couldn’t even be tried because the statute of limitations had expired.

Richard Dutton Brown

Richard Dutton Brown was another of South Australia’s magistrates who was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was honour for the highly-regarded young barrister, who was as famous for his distinctive tweed coat as he was for his legal acumen. After business hours, however, court documents claim, Brown trawled the city’s notorious gay beat for young men.

Brown, 62, died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on Sunday after a battle with cancer. His death came 17 months after prosecutors were forced to withdraw allegations Brown had committed child sex offenses in his Norwood home between 1977 and 1981. The next day, the Adelaide Magistrates Court suppressed his identity and released him on bail.

Brown, who pleaded not guilty, took formal leave from his $223,000-a-year position. He was a gay man who prowled in the same hot-spots as the other Family Murder suspects, and he died in 2010, before police could formulate an actual case against him.

Ric Marshall

Ric Marshall, the host of children’s TV programs in the 1970s and 1980s, was the ringleader of a child sex ring that focused on young boys. He was convicted of multiple offenses in 2012, but because of his old age, was sentenced to only 25 years of house arrest.

Last but not least, Donald John Storen, a well-known boxing promoter and close friend of former-South Australian Premiere Don Dunstan. Storen left Australia to live in Indonesia, where he was later convicted of sexually assaulting and raping four boys in the mid-2000s.

Donald John Storen

If you think it’s crazy that one or more of these many suspects may have communicated with another, when a clear link between several has already been established, think again. We already know that several of these accused – and in some cases, convicted – sexual predators were acquaintances. That is a fact. Who’s to say more aren’t involved?

I think believing that Bevan Spencer von Einem acted alone is the easy answer, to help us sleep better at night. The hard answer, and in my opinion, the more realistic one, is that he had an accomplice: maybe just one, but perhaps several. And for over thirty years now, all of them have escaped justice.

While the case file on Richard Kelvin may have been closed, the abductions, rapes, and murders of Alan Barnes, Neil Muir, Peter Stogneff, and Mark Langley remain unresolved.

Sources and further reading

“Young Blood: The Story of the Family Murders” by Bob O’Brien
Crime Investigation Australia: The Butchered Boys
Wikipedia: The Family Murders
Wikipedia: Murder of George Duncan
ABC – “The body in the freezer”
The Age – “Lock up your sons in the world’s murder capital”
Adelaide Now – “Doctor with alleged links to The Family identified as Stephen George Woodards”
Adelaide Now – “Focus on three key suspects”
Adelaide Now – “Sex-case doctor Stephen George Woodards free to practise”
Daily Mail – “Will $13million reward solve the murders of 18 children? Australian police launch apeal to solve string of notorious killings stretching back to 1966”
Adelaide Now – “Lost diary gives South Australia police new lead into Alan Barnes murder by The Family”
Adelaide Now – “Doctor found not guilty of ‘Family’ murder of Neil Muir dies in NSW”
ABC – “Former SA magistrate sentenced to 25 years for child sex crimes”
Adelaide Now – “Revealed: The double life of a magistrate who sought young men”
The Australian – “How Mother Goose ducked the pedophile net”
ABC – “Mother Goose sex trial starts in Adelaide”
Adelaide Now – “‘Mother Goose’ claims he was set up by gay ex-prostitutes”
ABC – “‘Mother Goose’ acquitted of sex charges”
ABC – “Former TV entertainer sentenced for sex offenses”
The Sydney Morning Herald – “Aussie pedophile deported from Indonesia”


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