Body of woman missing for 45 years discovered at former home

The remains of South Australian woman Colleen Adams have been found 45 years after she went missing, as her husband faced court charged with her murder.

Mrs Adams’ bones were discovered on the site of the couple’s former home at Maitland, on the Yorke Peninsula, after Geoffrey Adams was arrested and pointed police to the property.

SA Police Head of Major Crime Des Bray said the skeletal remains were found about 1pm on Thursday.

“She was in the area indicated to us and discovered about one hour ago and we’ve made the necessary notifications since then,” Detective Superintendent Bray said on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s going to be some time before we can make a formal identification but we are proceeding on the basis that the remains are those of Colleen.”

Police search for Colleen Adams on the property of her former home in Maitland, South Australia.

The discovery came a short time before the couple’s youngest daughter, Kay, visited the site and delivered a statement to the media through victim contact officer Debbie Gibson.

“Today I have finally found my mother,” the statement said.

“After 45 years of hoping, we have found her.

“It’s hard to say in a few words what I am feeling, but I am so grateful to the South Australian police and everyone who has worked to help find her.”

Kay, who was 18 months old when her mother vanished, said she is thankful that the truth has come out, and she has now put her faith in the legal system.

“I want today to also be one of inspiration to all those who live with cold cases, lost loved ones, not knowing what has happened,” she said.

“Today we’ve seen there is hope. Even after 45 years this proves that cold cases can be solved.”

Colleen Adams’ remains have been found 45 years after she went missing.

Geoffrey Adams appeared by video-link in the Kadina Magistrates Court on Thursday, after he spent the night in custody at Port Pirie.

He did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody to reappear before the court in October.

The man had previously told police he awoke about 7am on November 22, 1973, to find Mrs Adams fully dressed with two packed suitcases.

According to Adams, she said she was leaving and never wanted to see him or the children again, before getting into a car with a middle-aged woman he did not know.

Mrs Adams was reported missing by her mother about a month later, but the case was not declared a major crime until 1979.

Claudine Lehner lives across the street from the house and said she was shocked to hear Mr Adams had been charged with his wife’s murder.

“I just couldn’t believe it, it was just out of the realm of reality in our little world,” she said.

“The fact that poor lovely young girl that I only saw that time at birthing classes was lying in a cold grave … to know (her) babies are left without their mother to grow up, it’s just awful.”

Ms Lehner said she found it hard to believe Mrs Adams had fled her husband, left her children behind and never contacted the family again.

“For that young girl who, from all accounts, was a good mother – how could she leave her babies behind?” she said.

“She was in the area indicated to us and discovered about one hour ago and we’ve made the necessary notifications since then,” Detective Superintendent Bray said.

Police arrested 70-year-old Geoffrey Adams at his Wallaroo home on Wednesday afternoon, before travelling with him to the property at Maitland where the couple lived with their children.

Mrs Adams’ remains were discovered on the site of the couple’s former home about 1pm on Thursday after police began excavation work in the morning.

Adams appeared by video-link in Kadina Magistrates Court, after he spent the night in custody at Port Pirie.

He did not apply for bail and was remanded to reappear before the court in October.