Crawford family murder

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The Crawford family murder was the 1970 killing of pregnant mother Therese Crawford and her three children: Kathryn, 13, James, 8, and Karen, 6. The family car was located at the bottom of a cliff at Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia on 2 July 1970. The bodies of Therese and her children were still inside.[1]


A July 1971 coroner's inquest found that Elmer Crawford murdered his wife and three children in their Glenroy home. Crawford had constructed an electrocution device, using a 15-metre (49 ft) length of electrical lead and alligator clips. He attached the alligator clips to his wife's ears while she slept and electrocuted her. He then beat his children to death, presumably using a hammer,[2] then loaded their bodies into the family's FE Holden vehicle. He then drove them 200 kilometres (120 mi) to Port Campbell where he connected a hose from the exhaust to the driver's side window,[3] before pushing the car containing the bodies over the cliff edge in an effort to make the crime look like murder-suicide.[4]

Two weeks before the murders, Elmer and his wife drafted new wills that left a considerable fortune to Elmer Crawford in the event of his family's death.[2] Crawford has been missing since the murders. A reward of A$100,000 was offered in 2008 for information leading to his arrest.[1]

In July 2010 Victorian Police announced that they were, in conjunction with the FBI, attempting to identify a man who died in 2005 in San Angelo, Texas (USA) that they believed to be Elmer Kyle Crawford. It was announced on 27 August 2010 that comparison of DNA from a Crawford blood relative ruled out any connection to the body in Texas.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

An episode of Sensing Murder titled "Almost Perfect" which aired on 30 May 2006 featured the crime.[6]

Detailed investigation in Greg Fogarty's book, Almost Perfect, takes a close look at the case from the perspective of someone who lived in the same street at the time of the crime.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Police flooded with tips after posting murder suspect reward, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 February 2008
  2. ^ a b Elmer Crawford electrocuted family, bashed daughter, Herald Sun, 11 February 2008
  3. ^ Koubaridis, Andrew (24 August 2015). "Elmer Crawford has avoided the police for more than 40 years". Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  4. ^ Where is Elmer Crawford?, The Age, 1 July 2005
  5. ^ "Texas body not that of Victorian killer" Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010
  6. ^ "Sensing Murder" - Almost Perfect, Internet Movie Database, Retrieved 13 May 2008

Cited works and further reading[edit]

  • Fogarty, Greg (1997). Almost Perfect: The True Story of the Brutal, Unsolved Crawford Family Murders. Bloomington: Penon Publishing. ISBN 978-1-450-28516-2.
  • Ford, Justine (2015). Unsolved Australia: Terrible Crimes, Incredible Stories. Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia. ISBN 978-1-743-53436-6.

External links[edit]