missed and wanted

Missing: Sarah MacDiarmid (Victoria, Australia)

Missing: Sarah MacDiarmid (Victoria, Australia)


July 11, 1990, 23 year old Sarah MacDiarmid, who had emigrated with her family from Scotland to Australia three years earlier, had been out for the day playing tennis with friends in East Melbourne. Later, the friends walked together to Richmond train station, catching a train to Caulfield before disembarking to catch a train servicing to the Frankston train line. While Sarah's friends would leave the train at Bonbeach railway station, Sarah would remain on the service for three additional stops to Kananook railway station where her car was parked.

At approximately 10:20pm, Sarah was witnessed disembarking the train at Kananook station, and walking to the station's poorly lit parking lot.

The following day, Sarah's parents reported her missing, and an investigation commenced. Police quickly suspected foul play based on blood stains and drag marks found beside Sarah's vehicle, still parked and abandoned in the parking lot of Kananook railway station. Police also found a cigarette lighter belonging to Sarah on the ground nearby. Witnesses were consulted, and it was reported that, after witnessing Sarah walking towards the parking lot, multiple witnesses had heard a woman shouting, "Give me back my keys!"

A 21 day extensive air, sea and land search with over 250 police involved yielded no results, and the case quickly went cold with no leads or further evidence of where Sarah MacDiarmid was, or what happened to her.

21 years later in 2011, police interviewed convicted serial killer Paul Denyer (then going by the name Paula Denyer, after transitioning to a woman in 2003) under suspicion of her potential involvement in Sarah MacDiarmid's disappearance. Denyer, also known as the Frankston Serial Killer, committed three murders between June 11 and July 30, 1993 in the area surrounding where Sarah MacDiarmid was last seen and had gone missing. Denyer denied any involvement in the disappearance of MacDiarmid, and police have not since pursued Denyer as being involved with the case.


In 2014, a news organisation claimed that police investigators considered another serial killer, Bandali Debs, as a suspect in the case of Sarah MacDiarmid. Like Denyer, the investigation in to Debs' possible involvement did not yield any significant developments, and a police source was later quoted as suggesting that it was merely "common practice" for Homicide investigators to examine any potential links between unsolved murders and known offenders.

MacDiarmid's family has struggled to move on since her disappearance, with no significant leads emerging to offer them any potential closure.

"You think with time it should be getting easier, but as you get older it doesn't get any easier — it gets worse," said Sarah's mother, Sheila MacDiarmid.

Sarah MacDiarmid's case remains unsolved.

Further Reading:


SPECULATION AND THEORY: Sarah MacDiarmid was almost certainly not a victim of Paul Denyer, given Denyer's sloppiness and disorganisation it would be extraordinarily difficult to imagine Denyer could have successfully pulled off MacDiarmid's murder and concealed it so successfully. 

Likewise, Bandali Debs' involvement seems unlikely, given that Debs was most active over a decade after MacDiarmid's disappearance, and in a different region of Victoria to where MacDiarmid disappeared.

With the close proximity of Kananook railway station to nearby Port Phillip Bay, it unfortunately seems likely that Sarah MacDiarmid's body was dumped in the water, and that is why it has not been recovered. If this was, or is, the case, the only hope of gaining closure and clarity regarding this case lies in someone coming forward with information.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Sarah MacDiarmid, you can call Victoria Police's CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000, or via their Facebook.

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Unsolved: 'Mr. Cruel' (Victoria, Australia)

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