Saturday, March 18, 2017

19 - The Family Murders (Part One: The Murders)


When people think of Adelaide, they think of it as it is now: the burgeoning capital of South Australia, known for its beautiful landscape as much as its vibrant community. The city was formed because of its stellar location: wedged in between the Adelaide Foothills to the east, the coastline that runs along the west and down into the southern cape, and the expanse of vast Australia that lies to the north. The Torrens River runs throughout Central Adelaide, splitting the city into primarily two halves.


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."

Because of this wave of progressivism, the 1970s saw many more homosexuals become comfortable in their skin. They began to embrace their sexuality, even though it was still technically illegal under Australian law.

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.

George Duncan

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.
This story would become historic, in more ways than one. The death of George Duncan would serve as a catalyst, ultimately leading to repeals of Southern Australia's harsh anti-homosexuality laws. Homosexuality would become decriminalized in South Australia in 1975, with the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, becoming the first Australian state or territory to do so.

Bevan Spencer von Einem

However, this evening would also see the name "Bevan Spencer von Einem" first scratched into the history books. He had been present for this dark moment in Australian history, but he would go on add many more miserable chapters of his own.

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Hello, and welcome to the Unresolved Podcast. My name is Micheal Whelan, and I'll be your host once again.

If this is your first time listening to the podcast, I'd like to thank you for checking it out. This podcast is all about trying to tell the story of unsolved mysteries: whether they be true crime, extraterrestrial, or paranormal in nature.

This episode is going to be another true crime story for all of you, and this one takes us back to Australia. This is a story I mentioned many months ago, when I covered the disappearance of the Beaumont Children from Adelaide in episodes ten and eleven. And, this is going to be the first half of a two-parter; this episode is going to be an introduction to the story, while the next episode is going to be focused on the investigation to identity "the Family" and any additional follow-up.

Before I truly get started, I'd like to add a disclaimer for these episodes: what you're about to hear is perhaps the most sickening story I've covered yet. The victims of this true story are all young men, who experienced extensive sexual assaults at the hands of their captor - or captors. If this material makes you squeamish in any way, or you have any people around you that it may be inappropriate to listen with, I encourage you to maybe listen to it another time.

Also, as you can guess, this episode has a strong emphasis on homosexuality, and violent offenders that were tied up in Australia's gay community in the 1970s and 1980s. If any of the terms I use are offensive, or you feel disparage the gay community at-large, I do apologize ahead of time. That is definitely not my intention; my intention is to simply tell the story of what has become known as one of Australia's darkest chapters... known only as the Family Murders.

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Following the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1975, Adelaide continued its ascent of progressive ideals. Gay people began to finally embrace their identities, no longer having to hide the shame of their sexuality under threat of imprisonment or police harassment.

This saw the creation of gay clubs, such as the Mars Bar; along with other bars and nightlife scenes where homosexuals were welcome, such as the Duke of York or Buckingham Arms, also known as "The Buck."

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.


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.

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.

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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.

Judy Barnes w/ a photo of her son, Alan

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.

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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. 

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Neil Muir was what you could call a transient. Now twenty-five years old, Neil had spent the better part of the last few years struggling with addictions and vices that left him moving from place-to-place pretty regularly.



At this point, in August of 1979, Neil was living alone in an apartment unit on Carrington Street, putting him right at the center of Adelaide itself. If you look up pictures of Neil, he looks like your everyday rock star, including the tattoos and long hair.

None of the research I found over the past couple of months states exactly what it is that Muir did for a living, but a common theory that has popped up that Muir was prostituting himself to support his habits.

Muir was operating in social circles that took him through various hotels and gay-friendly bars. His sexuality is also never pointed out, but many of the figures he socialized with were homosexuals, leading to the theory that he was an active member in the local gay community.

Sadly, Muir's biggest vice was his ever-evolving drug addiction. He had swung from being a heroin user to trying to get clean with methadone, only to have methadone become his next addiction, back to heroin again. He had developed a dependence upon opiates, and had recently been described Rohypnol - also known as "roofies."

On the last weekend of August, 1979, Muir was spotted multiple times at his local haunts, such as the Duke of York and the Buck. He was seen in the presence of individuals who become relevant later on.


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.

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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'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. This made them think of one of the many signs of a serial killer, which are, of course, trophies of their victims.


The investigation to find Neil Muir's killer had begun, and it started with the most obvious of leads: Neil's drug problems.

Apparently, Neil had a number of drug debts throughout town, and that is where police began asking around. Their psychological profile showed that the body had either been carved up due to a psychotic killer getting pleasure out of the act, or someone that wanted to hide his identity.
Eventually, this led nowhere, so the police then began to investigate people within Neil's social circle.

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.

While in rehab, Millhouse refused to speak to police about Neil Muir. So police began to build their case against Millhouse without his cooperation, including witness statements that saw the suspect with Neil Muir the weekend before his untimely demise. Some of the employees that served them at their local bar haunts recalled seeing the two together multiple times, and other witnesses testified to the two being close.

Apparently, Dr. Millhouse was one of people Neil Muir would talk to for drugs, although there was never any proof that Dr. Millhouse supplied them. Just witness statements.

When a warrant was served on Dr. Millhouse's home, police found the same type of trash bags and rope that had been found with Neil Muir's remains. However, that was very circumstantial evidence. The closest thing to proof they found regarding Dr. Millhouse being the killer were trace remnants of what looked like blood on Peter Millhouse's bathroom floor, which had been cleaned multiple times over with a chemical agent.

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 acquaintances - 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.

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


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 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.

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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 afterwards 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.

They reached out to Mark's friends, hoping that he had simple wandered off and been staying with a friend. But the last recorded sighting of Mark was him wandering off from Ian's car, and he was never seen alive after that.

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Mark Langley's body was discovered in the Adelaide Foothills, close to Mount Lofty, the summit after whom the local mountain range is named after. The area was known as Summertown, and it had been nine days since Mark disappeared.

Mark Langley was found wearing most of the clothes he had been wearing on the night he disappeared, minus his undershirt and without a chain he had been wearing, which contained his zodiac sign - that of Cancer.

Like the other victims, police quickly learned a lot from Langley's body. He had been killed elsewhere and then transported to his dumping ground afterwards, implying that the killer had a base of operations for his dark deeds.

Also, like the other victims, Langley showed the same cause of death: blood loss from an anal injury, caused by an unknown item. He had also been washed before being dumped, just like Alan Barnes had been.

However, unlike the other victims, Mark Langley's body showed an odd sign of surgical precision. A few inches about his groin, below his navel, there was a small surgical scar that had been sealed shut with staples and a specific type of Johnson & Johnson surgical tape. The area around the scar had even been shaved away, implying that this wasn't just an impromptu form of torture, but perhaps the actual work of a surgeon trying to fix a mistake.

Medical examiners and police began to theorize about the rationale for the surgical scar, and the most plausible explanation is one of the worst, as far as mental images are concerned. That theory was that whatever item had been used to sexually assault Mark with had gotten caught up in his intestines, requiring a quick surgical reaction on behalf of the killer to retrieve the item.

Because Mark's body had been dumped in the Australian summer months of February, and was exposed to the intense heat of the outback sun, the exposed skin of his face and neck had already begun to wither away. 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.

As you recall, the chemical chloral hydrate was found in the system of Alan Barnes, and he had an above average level of alcohol in his system: roughly four times the legal limit, which was incredibly high for a teenager. However, when Neil Muir's body was discovered, his internal organs had been removed and were missing, meaning that police weren't able to test his blood for any drugs.

With Mark Langley, medical examiners discovered the drug Mandrax in his system. Referred to as a "Randy Mandy" among perverts and other deviants, Mandrax was a sedative that had just recently become popular worldwide with the branding "Quaalude." This popularity brought with it a poor reputation, however, and by the late 1970s, Mandax had become a regulated prescription drug throughout Australia.


The emergence of Mandax as a lead would become interesting later on, but at this point in the investigation, the police were still struggling to connect all of the dots.

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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.


As the farmer's land burned, so did the remains of Peter Stogneff.

After doing away with his old crops, the farmer was looking over his land when he came across the now-charred remains of young Peter. He contacted the police, and when they looked over the burned corpse, they quickly came to the realization that it was Peter.

Sadly, almost all evidence that may have been recovered with his body were now gone. Police and medical examiners wouldn't be able to identify his cause of death, or even find out approximately when he had been killed.

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 MEs 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.


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.


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.

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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.

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.

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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 handled by the top dogs in the department.

Bob O'Brien was an investigator for Major Crimes, who had just started the prior year. He would literally go on to write the book about these abductions and murders decades later, with his true story "Young Bloods." The book is a treasure trove of information regarding the case, and where I picked up most of the details for this episode. I'd recommend it if you want to learn more about the story.


O'Brien was working when Major Crimes received an anonymous tip that stated Richard Kelvin was being held in a caravan in the Adelaide Foothills. This was as good of a tip as they were going to get, and since the most recent victim, Mark Langley, had been found in the Adelaide foothills, they decided to follow through with it. They organized a helicopter search of the Foothills, which O'Brien was present for, but unfortunately the police found nothing worthwhile.

They would receive a few more anonymous calls in the coming weeks. Most were bollocks, but a few piqued the curiosity of Detective O'Brien. 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.

Police were called, and an extensive search of the area commenced. Detective O'Brien was put in charge of notifying the Kelvins about Richard's body, a heartbreaking task for him, as well.

Richard was found wearing the clothes he had been wearing on the day of his disappearance, along with the family dog's collar, which had disappeared with him.

Just like the previously discovered victims, Richard had been drugged and suffered the same, extensive anal injuries. And just like the others, it was ruled as his cause of death.

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 blood stream 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.

With these results, they were able to tie Richard's disappearance to both Alan Barnes and Mark Langley. No drugs had been detected in Neil Muir's system, because of his body's mutilation, but because of the wounds suffered by him, police linked him to the crime spree. And then there was Peter Spogneff, whose body was too burned to find any evidence, but had suffered the same type of saw wounds as Muir.

Police had finally linked all of the crimes together. Five bodies, five victims, and now five families pushing for answers. But now they had to find a suspect. And what better place to start than with their biggest piece of evidence so far: the drugs used to incapacitate at least three of the victims.

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In the latter half of the 1970s, South Australia had begun regulating drugs such as Mandrax, also known as Quaaludes. They were becoming pretty notorious as "date-rape" drugs throughout the world, and the government decided that they should have a solid record of which people had them, or for what purpose.

In October of 1982, a boy - who we'll call George - had been picked up by a passing car. George, who was a teenage hitchhiker, was enticed by the older stranger's offer of a good time. He promised to know some girls in the area, and they would be having a party that evening. George got in the car with the stranger, who offered him a beer from a cooler in the backseat. George happily accepted, hoping that this good time would result in a story to be told later, at the least.

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 transexuals, 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."

At this point, George's memory began to blur. He remembered going back with one of the woman to have sex, unaware that he was being hoodwinked, and shortly thereafter lost consciousness. He woke up the next day, and was surprised to find himself at the home with extensive pain in his backside.

George would go on to report the incident to the police, and consented to analysis and tests. Police discovered a tear in his anus - implying that he had been sexually assaulted - and that there were trace amounts of drugs in his system. Medical examiners were quite sure that he had been dosed with Mandrax - aka "Mandy Randys" - that resulted in him losing consciousness and passing out. He gave the police a description of the man that had picked him up, but couldn't remember his name - nor the names of the girls at the house he had been taken to, or even exactly where it was.

Unfortunately, George's story would remain buried under layers of mystery for close to a year. Then, the discovery of similar chemical agents that had been used to dose George - Noctec and Mandrax, namely - appeared in the test results of Richard Kelvin, the fifth murder victim to experience sexual assault before his death.

Noctec, the drug that had been found in the blood stream of Alan Barnes, was an over-the-counter sleep agent, and almost impossible to track. But Mandrax? That was a serious drug, and police just needed to pull up records of who had a prescription to find a match.

As they began to pour through the list of South Australian patients who had been prescribed Mandrax, one name popped out at them in particular.

Bevan Spencer von Einem.


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Well, I hope that you've all made it this far.

While putting together this episode, I often struggled with how to balance storytelling and simply stating fact. It's hard to put together an episode centered around such inhumanity without relying on gory details and potentially offending someone.

But, anyhow. Hopefully you'll get some resolution in the next episode, part two, which focuses on the investigation of Bevan Spencer von Einem, and how the case ended up getting its infamous monikker of "the Family Murders."

I'd like to give a special shout-out to all of the new Patreon supporters, including Eliot, Mack, Jeanne, Francesca, Joy, Meredith, John, and Anatoly. I honestly cannot thank all of you enough, and I'm hoping to have a couple of cool, new perks to throw at all of you in the near future.

If you're interested in becoming a supporter of the podcast, you can head on over to Patreon.com/unresolvedpod to learn more. As I said in the last episode, I'm trying to make an effort in getting regular episodes released, so any support you give is going to go towards that campaign, along with updating my equipment to improve the quality of the podcast.

Plus, if I could reach a certain level of support, my wife might let me make the podcast full-time, thus eliminating the need to get another job... just saying. #makethepodcastgreatagain

I'd also like to give a special thanks to Tyson, the regular producer of the show, who was joined by his buddy Sam last episode to record the great music. It perfectly accompanied the allegations of Betty and Barney Hill, and I can't thank the two of them enough.

If you want to get in-touch with me, you can do so in a variety of ways. Via email: theunresolvedpodcast@gmail.com. Social media: just search for the Unresolved Podcast for Facebook or Twitter links. You can call or text in at (831) 200-3550. Or, you can just visit the podcast blog, theunresolvedpodcast.com, and find everything there, including links to the aforementioned sites and a transcript of each episode, along with research links and everything else you might need to follow along.

Anyhow, I'll end the credits now. Hope you all enjoyed this episode, if such a thing is even possible, and I'll be back shortly to bring you part two of the Family Murders.

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Links

Wikipedia - The Family Murders

"Young Blood: The Story Of The Family Murders" by Bob O'Brien

Crime Investigation Australia: The Butchered Boys (A Documentary)

Wikipedia - Murder of George Duncan

Adelaide Now - "Lost diary gives South Australian 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"

The Age - "Lock up your sons in the world's murder capital"

Daily Mail - "Will $13 million reward solve the murders of 18 children? Australian police launch appeal to solve string of notorious killings stretching back to 1966"

Murderpedia - Bevan Spencer von Einem

Crimestoppers - Alan Barnes

Crimestoppers - Neil Muir

Crimestoppers - Peter Stogneff

Crimestoppers - Mark Langley

Crimestoppers - Richard Kelvin