Announced February 2008
Homicide Squad detectives believe an aged image could hold the key to solving a 37-year-old murder mystery.
Investigators have released a graphically manipulated age enhanced image of Elmer Kyle Crawford, a man they believe is responsible for the 1970 murder of his pregnant wife and three children.
The image is part of a $100,000 reward announced today for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murders of 35-year-old Therese Crawford and her three children, 13-year-old Kathryn, 8-year-old James and 6-year-old Karen.
A coronial inquest in 1971 found that Elmer Kyle Crawford was responsible for the deaths of his wife and children whose bodies were found on 2 July 1970 in the family car which had been pushed over a cliff face at Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell.
A search of the Cardinal Road home in Glenroy indicated Therese and the children were murdered in their home before their bodies were taken to Port Campbell.
Each appeared to have died as a result of electrocution and or blunt force trauma to the head. Therese was three months pregnant when she died.
Elmer Crawford was not in the car when it was pushed over the cliff and was sighted at the family home in the afternoon on the day the bodies were discovered.
Despite extensive searches, police have never been able to locate him.
However, in 1994, a former associate of Elmer Crawford’s was holidaying in Perth and is believed to have spoken to him. Elmer appeared not to recognise the associate and claimed to be on holidays from New Zealand.
At the time the associate compiled a face image of the man she saw in Perth. Investigators have now graphically manipulated and aged a photograph of Elmer Crawford to give an indication of what he may look like today.
If he is still alive Elmer Crawford would be 78-years-old.
Last February, Detective Sergeant Peter Harrington from the Victoria Police Homicide Squad said he believed the reward and the aged image could hold the key to finally identifying Crawford’s whereabouts.
"There have been a number of sightings of Elmer over the years, which leads us to believe that he is still alive and living interstate to avoid detection.
"It is likely that he has changed his appearance in order to disguise his identity. He previously worked as an unqualified electrician and even though would now be of retirement age, it is possible he still does a bit of this type of work on the side" he said.
Police believe the reward would provide an incentive to encourage anybody who may know of Crawford’s whereabouts to come forward.
"This was a particularly horrific incident which effectively erased an entire family" Detective Sergeant Harrington said.
"Therese, Kathryn, James and Karen deserve some answers and we believe somebody out there has information that will bring those people responsible to justice".
A reward of up to $100,000 will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Therese, Kathryn, James and Karen Crawford.
The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider, according to established guidelines, the granting of indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders in this matter.
Reviewed 25 January 2023