‘Casefile True Crime’
Case 01: The Wander Beach Murders
On the 11th of January 1965, two fifteen-year-old schoolgirls Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt were found murdered in the Wanda sand hills, just north of Cronulla Beach in Sydney’s south.
The crime remains one of the most horrific Australia has ever seen. Despite an exhaustive police investigation, the killer remains unknown…
I finally got around to starting my journey into this podcast and what a story to start with!
I’m constantly fascinated by the amount of unsolved cases that are floating around the world and that man can still be outsmarted by man. In the case of this casefile, I feel woefully ignorant for not having known about the murders beforehand. No, I don’t live in Australia, but I enjoy reading about decade old murders that remain unsolved.
The case here seems to be a lack of witnesses and conflicting accounts from family. Considering the time, I think what was collected was an impressive arrangement of facts, but I also think that whoever the killer was, played a very smart game and to have remained undetected probably made them feel very smug.
The cases involving people who just ‘disappeared’, e.g. Those who walked away and were found murdered, days, weeks, or years later, is something that I’ve always found interesting and it is certainly a plot I read about a lot with thriller books.
The case sounds like Marianne and Christine did plan to meet someone at the beach and that they were going to meet them irrespective of the fact they had brought younger siblings with them.
However, it is impossible to conclude whether the person they were meeting was the same person who murdered them. If this had happened in 2020, there would be a multitude of avenues to chase down and thousands of ways to learn all about a person’s life, but they just didn’t have access to that type of equipment in 1965.
Without DNA testing in 1965, they couldn’t test the semen sample, or any DNA found at the crime. It was the same with the knife, there was no testing to be done with it in 1965 but there is testing that could be done to it now. Unfortunately, the semen sample has been lost.
It is tragic that the girls lost their lives so young, but I do wonder perhaps how well their parents really knew them. I kept hearing in this podcast that Christine and Marianne were ‘good girls’, who studied hard and attended church. Yet, they were still 16, so I can imagine there was a lot they did that they didn’t inform their parents about.
I know when I was 16, I probably told my parents 40% of what was going on in my life.
Yet, I am still hesitant to think that they would walk away to meet someone and leave the younger siblings alone. That doesn’t fit with what the podcast has told me about the girls.
The eye-witness accounts also seem a little frayed, especially considering how many witnesses there could have been and how little came forward. I wonder what else was going on around that time that made people resistant to speaking to the police. It makes me wonder what there is to cover up.
It’s sad that this case is still unsolved. Sure, those involved have passed, but it is sad that the girls never got put to rest and that a murderer was allowed to walk free.