50 year anniversary of unsolved murder of Patricia ‘Susi’ Schmidt

Tomorrow marks 50 years since the murder of Seacliff teenager Patricia ‘Susi’ Schmidt. This anniversary coincides with a fresh investigation underway following a successful collection of DNA gathered during extensive testing of items of Susi’s clothing.

Detectives on the case have followed hundreds of leads over the past 50 years, which has been assisted by advancements in DNA technology.

Miss Schmidt was just 16 years old when she was murdered after completing her second shift at Burger King at Darlington in 1971.


In the early hours of Saturday 18 December 1971, with her father running 10 minutes late to collect her, she decided to walk home.

At 9.30am she was reported missing to police and later that day – about 6.30pm – she was found dead off a dirt track at Hallett Cove.

There was evidence located at the scene indicating Miss Schmidt had been sexually assaulted before being murdered, but it is unknown where this occurred. It is likely she was murdered at a location away from where she was found.

Over the last 18 months, the DNA profile has now been obtained and uploaded to the national DNA database without resulting in a match, and will be immediately checked against any new profiles uploaded in the future. With DNA advancements, scientists are now working to match the DNA profile to relatives who may already be on the database which will then create further investigation opportunities for detectives. In addition, Detectives have been and continue to methodically work through the process of gathering DNA from all individuals identified as having some connection with the investigation since 1971 and will see if that DNA can be linked to the recently created DNA profile.

The process has resulted in a number of people being excluded as persons of interest and identified several possible familial matches to people on the database who may be related to the offenders. Detectives are investigating those links which will take a considerable period of time.

The process to find potential DNA matches linking to the offender/s of this murder is laborious but SAPOL remains positive and hopeful this process will be successful.

“The outstanding work of Forensic Science SA in the development of a DNA profile means we now have a better chance than ever before of solving this case for the family”, Detective Superintendent Des Bray from SAPOL’s Major Crime Investigation Branch said.

With a reward of up to $1,000,0000 from the Government on offer, for anyone providing information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person/s responsible for the murder of Miss Schmidt, Detective Superintendent Bray said “there are a million reasons for someone with information that can solve this murder to contact Crime Stoppers. This will bring some sense of relief to the family of Miss Schmidt who continue to grieve her loss and for their unanswered questions.”

“The investigation to explore the possible familial DNA links that have been identified will take considerable time, however if someone were to nominate a suspect we could have a result in weeks for the family”, said Detective Superintendent Bray.

Anyone with information about her murder is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://crimestopperssa.com.au/ . You can report anonymously.

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