THERE can be little worse than having no closure on the disappearance of a child.
Missing loved ones were at the forefront of people’s minds last week when Peel Zonta Club held its annual ceremony at the Missing Persons Memorial on Mandurah Terrace.
Jean Eaton was there and is just one of those devastated by the loss of a child.
At almost 88, the Furnissdale resident has lived with the loss of her daughter for 38 years.
It was April 7, 1974 when daughter Raelene and her cousin Yvonne, both almost 17, left their Bayswater homes to listen to a band at the Oxford Hotel in Leederville.
The band was not playing and they moved on to the White Sands Hotel in Scarborough, where Mrs Eaton says the girls talked to some friends who were with several boys and left with them to “see the sights”.
The doorman at the White Sands, who knew Raelene through her surfer brother Graham (18), saw them leave.
That was the last time the two girls were seen by anyone.
When they failed to return home that night, they were reported missing, but police told Mrs Eaton the girls would probably turn up in a few days.
They didn’t – and Raelene’s bank account remained untouched.
Just a week or two later, Graham was injured in a road accident from which he later died.
Mrs Eaton said stories ran in all the newspapers at the time and she even offered a $5000 reward – an enormous amount of money in those days.
Premier Charles Court topped up the reward to $10,000 but it was never claimed.
Mrs Eaton and Yvonne’s mother, Alice, travelled to the eastern states where someone resembling Raelene was seen in a shopping centre – but it was to no avail.
Mrs Eaton, who sews for charity many hours a week and rides five kilometres a day on her exercise bike, is practical, and believes Raelene, who would now be 55, is dead.
“The world must go on,” she says, with a tear in her eye.