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Case 290: The Crawford Family

Case 290: The Crawford Family

Update: 2024-06-2939
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This episode of Casefile Presents delves into the chilling mystery of the Crawford family murders, a case that has haunted Victoria, Australia, for decades. In July 1970, the bodies of Theresa Crawford and her three children, Catherine, James, and Karen, were found in their car, which had been deliberately pushed off a cliff at Lockhart Gorge. The only missing member of the family was Elma Crawford, Theresa's husband. The episode meticulously reconstructs the events leading up to the murders, highlighting the meticulous planning and staging of the crime scene. Elma's disappearance sparked a massive manhunt, but despite numerous leads and sightings, he remains elusive. The episode explores the possible motives behind the murders, including Elma's potential dissatisfaction with Theresa's pregnancy and his history of stealing and selling stolen goods. The episode also delves into the lives of the victims, particularly Theresa, who was found to be three months pregnant at the time of her death. The episode concludes with a reflection on the enduring mystery of Elma Crawford's whereabouts and the impact of the tragedy on those who knew the family.

Outlines

00:00:00
The Untimely Death of Louisa Ewanetus

This Chapter introduces the case of Louisa Ewanetus, a 24-year-old woman whose death in 2011 received minimal attention in the local newspaper. The podcast, "Troubled Waters," investigates the circumstances surrounding her death, uncovering a complex and intriguing narrative.

00:01:33
The Discovery at Lockhart Gorge

This Chapter details the discovery of a white car precariously perched on the edge of a cliff at Lockhart Gorge. Tourists who found the car noticed a hose connected to the exhaust pipe and a rock bridge constructed over a culvert, suggesting a deliberate act. The police were called and a rescue worker, Gorge, was tasked with examining the car.

00:11:39
The Crawford Family

This Chapter introduces the Crawford family, who lived in Glen Roy, Melbourne. The police visited their home, finding no signs of forced entry but a significant amount of blood in the bedrooms. The family's car keys were found on the kitchen table, and a note was left for the milkman, indicating that the family had been gone for some time.

00:17:15
The Recovery of the Bodies

This Chapter describes the recovery of the bodies of Theresa Crawford and her three children from the car at Lockhart Gorge. The bodies were found tangled together, and each of the children had suffered catastrophic head injuries. Theresa also had a head injury and burn marks on her ear and thumb, suggesting she had been electrocuted.

00:21:20
The Investigation and Possible Motives

This Chapter explores the investigation into the Crawford family murders. The police considered several possibilities, including Elma Crawford killing his family and then committing suicide. However, evidence suggested that Elma had not gone over the cliff. The episode explores possible motives for the murders, including Elma's potential dissatisfaction with Theresa's pregnancy and his history of stealing and selling stolen goods.

00:39:25
Elma Crawford's Disappearance

This Chapter focuses on Elma Crawford's disappearance. Despite numerous leads and sightings, he remains elusive. The episode explores the possibility that Elma had planned to stage his family's disappearance and start a new life. The episode also highlights the meticulous planning and staging of the crime scene, suggesting that Elma was prepared for a life on the run.

01:00:16
The Unresolved Case

This Chapter reflects on the enduring mystery of Elma Crawford's whereabouts and the impact of the tragedy on those who knew the family. The episode concludes with a discussion of the Crawford family's legacy and the ongoing search for justice.

Keywords

Crawford family murders
The murder of Theresa Crawford and her three children, Catherine, James, and Karen, in 1970 in Glen Roy, Melbourne, Australia. The murders were committed by their father, Elma Crawford, who then vanished. The case remains unsolved.

Elma Crawford
The perpetrator of the Crawford family murders. He killed his wife and three children in 1970 and then disappeared. Despite numerous leads and sightings, he remains elusive. The case remains unsolved.

Lockhart Gorge
A natural limestone formation located on the Great Ocean Road in Western Victoria, Australia. The site where Elma Crawford staged the murder of his family by pushing their car off a cliff.

Troubled Waters
A podcast series produced by Casefile Presents that investigates the Crawford family murders and other unsolved cases. The series explores the complexities of the cases and the impact on the victims and their families.

Casefile Presents
A popular true crime podcast that investigates unsolved cases and mysteries. The podcast is known for its in-depth research and compelling storytelling.

Great Ocean Road
A scenic coastal drive in Victoria, Australia, known for its stunning views of the coastline. The location of Lockhart Gorge, where the Crawford family murders took place.

Glen Roy
A suburb of Melbourne, Australia, where the Crawford family lived. The location of the crime scene and the subsequent investigation.

Victoria Police
The police force responsible for investigating the Crawford family murders. The force has been searching for Elma Crawford for over 50 years.

Cold Case
A criminal investigation that has been unsolved for a significant period of time. The Crawford family murders are considered a cold case.

Murder Suicide
A situation where a person kills one or more other people and then commits suicide. The police initially considered the possibility of a murder suicide in the Crawford case, but evidence suggested that Elma Crawford had not committed suicide.

Q&A

  • What happened to the Crawford family in 1970?

    In July 1970, Theresa Crawford and her three children, Catherine, James, and Karen, were found dead in their car, which had been deliberately pushed off a cliff at Lockhart Gorge. The only missing member of the family was Elma Crawford, Theresa's husband.

  • What evidence suggests that Elma Crawford was responsible for the murders?

    The evidence suggests that Elma Crawford meticulously planned and staged the crime scene. He constructed a rock bridge over a culvert to guide the car over the cliff, and he connected a hose to the exhaust pipe, suggesting a deliberate act. The police also found evidence of a homemade electrocution device, which was used to kill Theresa and two of the children.

  • Why did Elma Crawford kill his family?

    The episode explores several possible motives for the murders, including Elma's potential dissatisfaction with Theresa's pregnancy and his history of stealing and selling stolen goods. However, the exact motive remains a mystery.

  • What happened to Elma Crawford after the murders?

    Elma Crawford vanished after the murders. Despite numerous leads and sightings, he remains elusive. The police have been searching for him for over 50 years.

  • What is the impact of the Crawford family murders on those who knew them?

    The episode highlights the enduring impact of the tragedy on those who knew the family, particularly Catherine's friend, Brenda, who still thinks of Catherine and her family every time she drives past their old house.

  • What is the significance of the "Troubled Waters" podcast?

    The "Troubled Waters" podcast investigates the Crawford family murders and other unsolved cases. The series explores the complexities of the cases and the impact on the victims and their families.

  • What is the role of Casefile Presents in the Crawford family murders case?

    Casefile Presents is a popular true crime podcast that investigates unsolved cases and mysteries. The podcast produced the "Troubled Waters" series, which delves into the Crawford family murders.

  • What is the current status of the Crawford family murders case?

    The Crawford family murders remain unsolved. The police continue to investigate the case and are hopeful that they will one day find Elma Crawford and bring him to justice.

  • What is the significance of the Crawford family murders case?

    The Crawford family murders are a chilling reminder of the darkness that can exist within families. The case also highlights the enduring mystery of unsolved crimes and the impact on the victims and their families.

  • What is the legacy of the Crawford family murders?

    The Crawford family murders have left a lasting impact on the community of Glen Roy and beyond. The case continues to fascinate and haunt people, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking justice for victims of crime.

Show Notes


** Content warnings: Child victims ***



When a Holden belonging to Glenroy man Elmer Crawford was found at the bottom of the Loch Ard Gorge in July 1970, immediate concerns were raised for the safety of Elmer, his wife Theresa and their three children, Katherine, James and Karen. But when rescue workers gained access to the vehicle, the true extent of the mystery really unfolded.



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Narration – Anonymous Host

Research & writing – Vikki Petraitis

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Production and music – Mike Migas

Music – Andrew D.B. Joslyn



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For all credits and sources, please visit casefilepodcast.com/case-290-the-crawford-family
Comments (2)

Ciara Power

It seems crazy that the first guy that scaled down to check the vehicle on the rocks collected, gun, tool box n a packet of biscuits but failed to confirm on first decent that there were FOUR bodies contained in the vehicle...!! what..?! a prompt discovery could have led to Elmer's arrest at the house while he was still there cleaning the carpets...at least they retrieved the biscuits i guess...😐

Jul 7th
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Case 290: The Crawford Family

Case 290: The Crawford Family

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