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Vanishing Cousins: The West Australian’s true crime documentary series uncovers fresh leads in teen mystery

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Jay HannaThe West Australian
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VideoThe disappearance of two teenage girls from Scarborough’s White Sands Tavern in 1974 remains one of Australia’s most baffling mysteries. The West Australian’s exclusive video series investigates what happened to cousins Raelene Eaton and Yvonne Waters.

It is one of WA’s most baffling and enduring mysteries, yet very few people know about the disappearance of teenage cousins Raelene Eaton and Yvonne Waters.

The pair were just 16 and 17 when they went missing on April 7, 1974, after attending a Sunday session at Scarborough’s White Sands Tavern.

There has been no trace of the cousins since.

Now a groundbreaking true crime documentary series by The West Australian blows the lid on the decades-old mystery — uncovering new leads, witnesses and lines of enquiry, including potential bikie links to the case.

Investigative journalist and Vanishing Cousins: Evil by the Beach producer Melenie Ambrose said when she started looking into the story, she could not believe what she uncovered.

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“It has been quite extraordinary in the sense that I couldn’t walk away from this case; the minute I did, there would be another clue or another person coming forward,” Ambrose said.

“As a journalist, it’s the type of story you might come across once in your career, and it’s not just because of the twists and turns in that story — even though they are enough to grab you — there are serial killers, the underworld, murder, shocking tragedy, broken lives, but then there’s the fact these people have been almost forgotten. It’s just been buried for so long.”

Vanishing Cousins is the latest offering from The West’s digital department, led by Natalie Bonjolo, which has produced several award-winning video series, including Foul Play: The Tiny Pinder Story, My Ukraine: Inside the War Zone and Bikie Code: Murder, Revenge and the Gypsy Jokers.

Bonjolo said The West is committed to producing high-quality series that will appeal to local audiences.

Investigative journalist Melenie Ambrose photographed at Cypher at The Beaufort
Camera IconInvestigative journalist Melenie Ambrose photographed at Cypher at The Beaufort Credit: Eva Fernandez

“These aren’t women who went missing in the US; these are girls who disappeared from Scarborough,” Bonjolo said. “And that’s what we want to offer our subscribers, the same high-end production you would expect from the big streaming platforms, except our stories are local.”

Vanishing Cousins features interviews with family and friends of the cousins, most of whom have never had an opportunity to speak before, and a man police have been unable to rule out as a person of interest.

The Seven West Media podcast of the Claremont Serial Killer case has hit 2.1m. Pictured are the podcast team Kate Ryan, Tim Clarke, Alison Fan and Natalie Bonjolo. Picture - Justin Benson-Cooper / The West Australian
Camera IconNatalie Bonjolo, head of The West Australian’s digital department. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

With a $2 million reward up for grabs for anyone with information that could lead to an arrest and conviction, friends and loved ones hope someone might be able to provide them with the closure they so desperately seek.

“Someone’s got to know something, or somebody’s got to have talked to somebody,” Ambrose said.

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