More Women Come Forward After Trudie Adams' Disappearance Exposed
Up to a dozen more women have come forward with stories of terrifying attacks on Sydney's Northern Beaches near where teenager Trudie Adams disappeared 40 years ago.
The recounts of attempted abductions and assaults were made to journalists leading a new investigation by the ABC's true crime podcast Unravel since it went to air on October 9.
Most of them were not reported to police at the time and allude to a pervasive culture of violence against women on the idyllic yet "insular peninsula" exposed by journalists Ruby Jones and Neil Mercer where Adams disappeared.
The 18-year-old left a party in the beachside suburb of Newport in 1978 and never made it home.
She had attended a dance at the Newport Surf Club, and was last seen hitchhiking home to nearby Avalon, along the relatively isolated Barrenjoey Road.
Authorities have for four decades been mystified by what came next.
Despite four police investigations, and a coroner finding in 2011 that she probably died of "homicide" or "misadventure followed by a cover-up", her body has never been found, and no one has been charged.
The podcast is investigating why Adams' case was never solved, including 14 other sexual assaults occurring between 1971 and 1978 that police long suspected were linked to her disappearance.
They too remain unsolved.
"It's pretty open. It could have been anyone -- which is why I'm taking what these women are telling me so seriously," Jones said.
Jones confirmed to ten daily up to a dozen more women who had come forward since the second season of the podcast went to air were in addition to the 14 reported cases.
That included an additional five women since the ABC published a story on Monday, hours before she spoke with ten daily.
"Most of the women who have contacted me have never been to police," she said.
"They're telling me that this thing happened to them, they always remembered it, and they've always wondered whether it could have any relationship to Trudie's case.
"Some said they had thought at times about coming forward, and now they've made the decision to say something."
We are seeing more of this coverage of cold cases -- with recent developments with the case of Lyn Dawson following The Teacher's Pet podcast -- resulting in more people coming forward.
According to Jones, the stories of attacks or near attacks happened during the same time period and had "some similarities".
One woman told Jones she and a friend were picked up by two men when they were hitchhiking on the Northern Beaches in 1974.
"They said they were going to pull over on the way to Newcastle and rape us, that's what they told us that they were going to do," the woman said.
After the men reached an intersection near the corner of Mona Vale Road, the woman said she and her friend were able to escape.
"We're not saying that all of these attacks are related... but I do think it shows there was a pretty awful culture at the time," said Jones, centering on an area of bushland that began to be known as the "devil's playground".
Earlier, Jones told ten daily Adams ended up in the middle of a bigger story involving high-level corruption, major drug deals and multiple homicides, explored in the podcast and television series.
"It was this world that was connected to Trudie through all these twists and turns, but in some ways was completely different," she said.
Jones and Mercer believe they know who killed Trudie Adams -- as do two senior detectives assigned to the cold case.
In a statement tendered to the coroner's court, former NSW police detective Gavin McKean wrote that "I strongly believe [she] was kidnapped off the street by [Neville] Tween and [Raymond] Johnson for the purpose of sexual assault."
"I believe that something went wrong as the two men went about the business of sexually assaulting Adams and she has been killed," he added.
Tween, who is now known as John David Anderson and is currently serving an 18-year sentence for a 2006 conspiracy to import $7 million worth of cocaine, has always denied the allegations. Johnson died in 2010.
Like Teacher's Pet, Jones hopes their investigation might move the case forward.
For those who want to catch up on the podcast, the first episode of a three-part television series airs on Tuesday night.
"I think what you can get from this episode is a sense of the impact that Trudie's disappearance had on her friends and also her ex-boyfriend Steve Norris, who was the last person who saw her," she said.
"It has been 40 years but it is still really raw."
READ MORE: What Happened To Trudie Adams?
The first television episode of Barrenjoey Road airs on October 30 at 8.30pm.