It's an eerily familiar story. A much-loved mother goes missing and no questions are asked by her husband. But when Colleen Adams disappeared 45 years ago, her sister, Heather Johncock, knew deep down that she couldn’t have just vanished.
“I found it hard to believe that she would just walk out on her two girls,” she tells WHO.
Colleen’s husband, Geoffrey Adams, told police at the time that he had last seen her on the morning of Nov. 22, 1973, at their home in Maitland, South Australia. He claimed that when he woke up, the 24-year-old mother of two girls – Kaye, 18 months and Marie, 3 – was dressed, with two suitcases in hand. She allegedly told him their marriage was over and she was leaving, before getting into a car withan unknown woman. Yet it wasn’t until a month later that she was reported missing by her mother, Vera Milbank. Johncock says both her parents passed away before they could get answers, revealing “it was very hard”.
Six years later, her disappearance became a major crime investigation after she failed to make contact with any of her family or friends. After police interviewed Colleen’s friends and family, it became clear that she had been having marriage issues. Colleen had also sought welfare help when her husband was “trying to kick her out of the house.”
But with no leads, the case went cold until 2001, when a search for Colleen’s remains was undertaken at a local dump, however nothing was found. Then, just this year, detectives began conducting new inquiries after a thorough review of Colleen’s case file. Detective Michael Newbury told reporters, “We have an open mind as to what has happened and how it has happened, but we are of the opinion Colleen has been murdered.”
On Sept. 19, police arrested Geoffrey Adams,70, for his wife’s murder after he showed them the exact spot where Colleen had allegedly been buried. Her skeletal remains were found in the yard of their marital home. “I thought that there might have been something that had happened to her,” Johncock says, “but you can never ever be sure.”
For Heather's full interview, pick up the latest issue of WHO - out now.