Articles about Gillian Jamieson and Susan Balken

I found a whole bunch of articles about Gillian Janine Jamieson and Deborah Susan Balken, who disappeared together from Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia on July 12, 1980. They were both 20-year-old trainee nurses from Sydney. The women were declared legally dead in 2006, but their cases remain unsolved.

The serial killer Ivan Milat is a suspect in their disappearances. He was convicted of seven murders, but the cops are looking at him also for 16 more murders and 46 unsolved disappearances. In the unlikely event that he actually did all of those, it would make Milat a murderer of Bundy-like proportions.

Phil Denmeade, a former police officer who is now a charter boat captain, has gotten obsessed with cracking the case and convinced the authorities to let him meet with and interview Milat in prison a bunch of times. He’s quite sure Milat killed Gillian and Deborah, in large part because Milat was working less than two miles away from where the girls were last seen. But Denmeade’s prison interviews have thus far come to nothing and the prison has revoked his access now.

I will lament again that I wish I had time to cover international cases on Charley. All I can do is blog about them occasionally.

One man’s ‘weird’ but wonderful passion to solve cold case (with additional photo of Gillian)
The man who met Milat
One man’s mission to crack Milat
Milat hunter deceived witness (with additional photo of Deborah and Gillian and a friend)

71 years ago yesterday

I’m three and a quarter hours too late, but better late than never: I thought I’d commemorate the passing of one Mirjam Sara P., who was recorded as having died on May 27, 1941 as a result of the Nazis’ T4 Program. T4 targeted people with mental retardation, mental illness and/or various deformities and infirmities, and as many as 275,000 people may have died between 1939 and 1945.

Mirjam wasn’t mentally ill so much as a brat. Oh, and she was Jewish. She ran away from home repeatedly as an adolescent, lied to people, stole, couldn’t hold a job and didn’t do well in the numerous residential placements (in group homes, hospitals, etc.) they tried for her. She and her mom and stepfather moved from Germany to Palestine in 1933, when she was fifteen and already known as a handful. She caused so much trouble in Palestine that they had her deported back to Germany (!) in 1936, but that didn’t make her change her ways. She was jailed, then put in a mental hospital, which she escaped from only to find herself jailed again for petty theft. After her release she was carted off to the mental hospital again, then to one of the T4 death institutions.

I say she is “recorded as having died on May 27” because a lot of times the T4 places delayed reporting people’s deaths so they could continue to get money from the state for housing and feeding those people. I don’t know Mirjam’s last name. My sole source for the story was a book called One Life by Tom Lampert, and he just used the initial, presumably to protect her privacy and that of her family. In any case it’s a very sad story. Mirjam may not have been a terribly likable person but she didn’t deserve that kind of death.

I read in my history books about people who lived long ago, and I feel a moral obligation to make sure others know about them. Learn from history or find yourself repeating it, etc. Not too long ago I got into an argument in the comments section of an online magazine with a guy who said “R-persons” (meaning retarded people) and “autisms” (meaning those on the autistic spectrum) were “not human beings.” This guy wasn’t a troll, either. I checked his account on the website, and he was a regular commenter, and his comments were ordinary enough. I think he truly believed what he was saying. Just how slippery is the slope that leads from that kind of thinking to the actual construction of euthanasia centers?

The TV interview

I haven’t yet written about my interview on NTN24. I haven’t myself seen it yet. I wrote to the lady who had invited me on, and asked for a clip, and she says I can get it in a few days. In the meantime, somebody from Colombia commented on my blog in Spanish.

At 7:00 p.m., NTN24 wrote me saying “Can we interview you on Skype at 10:00 p.m.” and I wrote back immediately saying “Yes” and then I remembered I didn’t have Skype. I began frantically calling various relatives trying to find someone who had it. My nephew did, so I went to my sister’s house and he helped me set up an account. (If you’re asking why I didn’t just do it myself, it’s because I wanted to make sure everything worked perfectly — otherwise no TV appearance.) Then my nephew left to go to a friend’s house and my sister and brother-in-law and me just sort of sat around talking and waiting.

Oh, and before I left the house I changed out of my t-shirt that said “PROCRASTINATORS OF THE WORLD UNITE” and put on a shirt with a collar. Just to look more professional and all.

At 9:00, NTN24 called me to confirm the interview. A little before 10:00 they called to pre-interview, where basically they asked the same questions they did during the actual interview. It’s a good thing they did this because the interpreter had an accent that made it difficult for me to understand her, and I had to ask her to clarify something. Then they did the actual interview, which took only a few minutes. My sister’s family has three dogs but fortunately they were asleep and didn’t start yapping or photobombing. I was asked basic questions like how many missing kids are there in the U.S. (My answer: No one knows.) And then it was over, and the TV people said thanks, and I said thanks, and went home sometime later.

My sister and brother-in-law couldn’t hear the questions, only my answers, but they think I did all right. I’m hoping it did go okay and I didn’t make a fool of myself before the entire Spanish-speaking world. If, when the clip finally appears and it turns out I did, guys…don’t tell me.