News State South Australia Skeletal remains found in search for woman missing since 1973
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Skeletal remains found in search for woman missing since 1973

Police inspect their excavations during the search for the body of Colleen Adams. Photo: AAP
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South Australian Police have confirmed they have found skeletal remains they believe belong to a woman who went missing in November 1973.

Detectives have been digging for remains of Colleen Adams at her former home on Bagnall Avenue, Maitland on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

Her husband Geoffrey Adams, 70, has been charged with her murder and made no application for bail in a brief appearance today.

He attended the property on Wednesday to assist police with their search.

Police investigate further after finding human remains in the South Australian country town of Maitland. Photo: AAP

Mrs Adams, who was 24 when she went missing, lived at the property with her husband and her two young daughters.

SA Police Head of Major Crime Des Bray said the skeletal remains were found about 1pm on Thursday.

“She was in the area indicated to us and discovered about one hour ago and we’ve made the necessary notifications since then,” Detective Superintendent Bray said.

“It’s going to be some time before we can make a formal identification, but we are proceeding on the basis that the remains are those of Colleen.”

Police usher the youngest daughter of the missing woman to the property. Photo: AAP

The discovery came a short time before the couple’s youngest daughter, Kay, visited the site and delivered a statement to the media through victim contact officer Debbie Gibson.

“Today I have finally found my mother,” the statement said.

“After 45 years of hoping, we have found her.

“It’s hard to say in a few words what I am feeling, but I am so grateful to the South Australian police and everyone who has worked to help find her.”

Kay, who was 18 months old when her mother vanished, said she is thankful that the truth has come out, and she has now put her faith in the legal system.

“I want today to also be one of inspiration to all those who live with cold cases, lost loved ones, not knowing what has happened,” she said.

“Today we’ve seen there is hope. Even after 45 years this proves that cold cases can be solved.”

Colleen and Geoffrey Adams lived at the Maitland property that is being searched. Photo: Twitter

Police arrested Geoffrey Adams at his Wallaroo home on Wednesday afternoon, before travelling with him to the property at Maitland, where the couple had lived with their children.

The property was cordoned off as a crime scene and covered with a tent overnight, before detailed excavation work began on Thursday.

Adams had previously told police he awoke about 7am on November 22, 1973, to find Mrs Adams fully dressed with two packed suitcases.

According to Mr Adams, she said she was leaving and never wanted to see him or the children again, before getting into a car with a middle-aged woman he did not know.

Mrs Adams was reported missing by her mother about a month later, but the case was not declared a major crime until 1979.

Detective Superintendent Bray this week announced police would search the property using ground-penetrating radar and specialist camera equipment after revisiting the case as part of Operation Persist.

The missing person notices after Mrs Adams’ disappearance. Photo: Twitter/Ben Avery

-with AAP