There’s something particularly terrifying about murders in which said murderer manages to get away with it. Sometimes this is due to shitty court proceedings or bungled police investigations. But the most terrifying instances are when the murderer simply… disappears.
That’s what happened in one of the most horrific Australian murders, when cops discovered the bodies of pregnant mother Therese Crawford and her three children, Kathryn (13), James (8) and Karen (6). The family was found in their car, which had plunged off the edge of a Victorian cliff onto rocks below. When police finally made it down to the vehicle, they discovered Therese in the driver’s seat, a hose attached to the exhaust pipe pushed through the window, with the bodies of her children in the back.
However, all was not as it seemed. A quick investigation proved the family had been electrocuted and murdered before the car had plummeted over the cliff. The main suspect? Husband and father, Elmer Crawford.
After it became one of the most highly-publicised Australian murders, a nation-wide search for Elmer Crawford was conducted (and a $100,000 reward for information on his whereabouts was offered), the man has never been found. The best leads detectives have received? All from Western Australia.
Just last year a truckie driving through the Pilbara region told Channel 7 he spoke to the man.
“He said ‘I had to leave in a hurry, I did something terrible. That’s when the penny dropped and I’m putting two and two together. I said ‘aren’t you that bloke the Victorian coppers were up here looking for a couple of weeks ago.”
Elmer would be around 84 years of age now, which means he basically got away with murdering his entire family, whether cops catch him now or not.
For more details on the case, check out the latest episode of our true crime and mystery podcast, All Aussie Mystery Hour, in which we discuss the Crawford Family Murders and other Australian mysteries in great detail. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or just fang us a listen below.