Missing since August 25, 1973 from Adelaide, South Australia.
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Circumstances of Disappearance
On the 25th of August, 1973, a South Australian National Football League game was in progress at Adelaide Oval.
Joanne Ratcliffe was at the match with her parents. Kirste Gordon was there with her grandmother. It has been inaccurately reported that the two families did not know each other but were sitting close to one another. This is not true. The families both had season tickets to the football game and sat next to each other in the same seats every week. They knew each other well and that's the only reason Kirste's grandmother allowed Joanne to take her to the toilet instead of taking her herself.
When Joanne went to the toilet, Kirste Gordon's grandmother asked her to take Kirste. They returned after a few minutes. A little over half an hour later, Kirste again wanted to go to the toilet. Again, Joanne took her, but this time they did not return. Upon realizing the girls had not returned from the toilets, a discussion was had between all members of the families and it was decided that each member would search an area of the football stadium for them with Kirste's grandmother remaining at the seats in case the girls returned there.
The Assistant Curator of the oval saw the girls leaving the Oval with a man. Over the next 90 minutes, four different sightings of the man and the two girls were made. In three of these sightings, Joanne appeared distressed. Kirste Gordon and Joanne Ratcliffe were seen with the man about 3 kilometers from the Oval, 90 minutes after they had left it. This was the last sighting. Neither they nor the man were ever seen nor heard from again.
Above: Sketch of possible suspect
In 1998, a joint inquiry was started to look into any possible connections between the 1966 abductions of Jane, Arnna and Grant Beaumont, the disappearance of Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
South Australia Police
The Oval Abduction- site not working
Australian Missing Persons Register
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