Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man about town: 17 January 2014

Man about town: 17 January 2014

Man about town: 17 January 2014

Does the answer to Australia’s most famous unsolved crime mystery, the missing Beaumont children, lurk in Siem Reap’s dark corners? A growing number of concerned people – some may say conspiracy theorists – seem to think so.

The mystery of the disappeared Beaumont children – Jane, 9; Arnna, 7; Grant, 4 – began 48 years ago this month in South Australia, when the siblings went to Glenelg beach near their home on Australia Day, January 26, 1966.

At the beach, they reportedly met a tall man who seemed to be friendly with them, played with him a while, then apparently walked away with him and simply vanished , seemingly forever.

Over their years there have been numerous theories of what happened that fateful day, and numerous “sightings” have occurred. On January 25, 2012, American David Estes of Kentucky told an Australian news outlet that he may be Grant Beaumont and said police were not taking him seriously. This is possibly because his mother told Kentucky State Police that he previously approached Oprah Winfrey claiming to be a missing love child of Elvis Presley.

Futile searches for the children’s bodies have also occurred, the most recent being in late November 2013, when police excavated part of a factory site in Adelaide. This followed revelations on a television program that named the alleged killer, now deceased, a former wealthy businessman also known as The Satin Man.

Also behind the scenes, a woman has claimed that her father was the killer, and that as a little girl she witnessed some of the gruesome events surrounding the disappearance. She has named some people, then young men, who also may have knowledge of either the killings or the disposal of the bodies.

One of the men she drew attention to is a wealthy retired gay businessman, Mr X, now living in Siem Reap.

This came to light through research by another Australian expat, Mr Author, also living in Siem Reap, who is working on a book and has prepared a 30 page treatment for publishers including documentation he received from the Australian woman.

He has linked up with another retired Australian expat living in Siem Reap, Mr Agent, who hunts paedophiles and claims that he worked for more than 20 years for an American intelligence agency, was involved in the Vietnam War and was also jailed in China. Mr Agent claims he is also now working with senior Khmer police to crack the case about the missing Beaumont children.

Another player also emerged, Mr Victim, who was in Siem Reap until just before Christmas, before returning to Australia, and says he will return to Siem Reap in about six months. He claims to be a former associate of the businessman, Mr X, and claims he is angry because his adult son refuses to have anything to do with him because he believes he sold him to Mr X many years ago.

Mr Victim claims he is doubly upset because Mr X allegedly refuses to help set the record straight.

Say what??? The mere notion that a son could believe that his dad “sold him” to a business associate boggles the mind, but also highlights what a strange murky world is being uncovered as people delve into this bizarre and unfolding scenario.

Mr Victim, an engaging middle-aged man with friendly boyish facial features has talked openly about this saga to several people in Siem Reap since his falling out with Mr X.

People are also closely monitoring progress of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that is underway in Australia, but to date no information or name has been revealed that could shed insight into the saga being played out in Siem Reap.

The Giant Puppet Project, now in its eighth year, will hold its annual street parade on Saturday, February 22. This is billed as “the largest local community arts project for children in Cambodia.” Under the guidance of 14 student artists from the Phare Ponleu Seplak Visual Arts School in Battambang and the project’s artistic director Jig Cochrane, local children will participate in one-week workshops.

The first workshop will be held on February 8 at the Wat Damnak Pagoda.


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