Daughter s fate is still a mystery
Ninety-year-old Jean Eaton with newspaper cuttings from the 1974 disappearance of her 16-year-old daughter Raelene. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

The newspaper clippings Jean Eaton has collected over the years tell the story of one of WA's most enduring murder mysteries.

But though the clippings have faded with time, Mrs Eaton said the pain of losing her daughter was as fresh today as it was 40 years ago.

"You never really get over something like that," 90-year-old Mrs Eaton told The Weekend West from her Pinjarra home this week.

"I've accepted I will probably go to my grave never knowing what happened to Raelene."

Raelene Eaton was 16 when she vanished along with her 17-year-old cousin Yvonne Waters on April 7, 1974.

Raelene and Yvonne were good mates and had sneaked off together to see a band playing at Scarborough's White Sands Hotel on a Sunday afternoon.

The doormen told police they saw them leave together about 6.45pm with three unidentified men described as "scruffy looking" who were driving a white panel van - possibly with Queensland numberplates.

Mrs Eaton says police were first not that concerned, believing the pair may have run off together.

But as the days turned to weeks and then months became years, all hope that the girls may still be alive has long since faded.

"You really do not know what to think at first," Mrs Eaton said.

"It was just so out of character for both of them to not come home. They had never run off before and there was nothing going on at home that was unusual.

"I guess I knew straight away something terrible had happened."

Police have tried everything over the years to generate new leads. Rewards were offered and identikits drawn up. But nothing has ever come of it.

Mrs Eaton and her late husband Trevor had two children, but in a cruel twist they lost both within weeks.

Raelene's older brother Graham was involved in a motorcycle accident 10 days after she vanished. He died two weeks later in hospital.

"Losing both of them like that you just ask yourself 'why us'," Mrs Eaton said. "The only way you cope is by realising that you have to let go and try to get on with your life."

Mrs Eaton said she knew the chances of anyone coming forward now with information were slim, but she said she would be eternally grateful.

"I would like to know three things: what happened to her, why it happened and where she is now," she said. "But I don't want to know how it happened."

The West Australian

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