SYDNEY — In May 1986, Ian Craig Hollis, 16, gave 22-year-old Karlene Shaw a choice — choose him or the father of one of her two children; she was in a relationship with the latter.
The next day, the Minto teen disappeared and has not been seen since. Hollis was several days shy of turning 17 when he vanished.
Shaw lived around the corner from the Hollis family. She denied having a relationship with the teen, saying he was merely a friend who visited and played with her children.
Shaw told the police she last saw Hollis on May 19, 1986, when he showed up at her home. She claimed he left in a brown vehicle with some “local boys who were dags.”
Hollis’s mother, Shirley Spaccavento, said she overheard her son give Shaw the ultimatum on the telephone.
Two weeks before Hollis vanished, a couple of youths assaulted and robbed him in a toilet block near Minto Community Hall on Surrey Street. Shaw was with him when the assault occurred. The incident triggered paranoia in Hollis, and he became increasingly concerned afterward.
A coroner’s inquest was held in 2010. In a story in The Daily Telegraph, Larissa Cummings writes, “The inquest heard Mr. Hollis had confided in at least two friends of Hollis’s testified that he was gay and that he had told a youth worker he once prostituted himself to a man in Cabramatta in exchange for drugs.”
The court also heard that the local police did not file a missing person’s report on Hollis until three weeks after he disappeared. Deputy State Coroner Paul McMahon confirmed the delay in 2010 but had no explanation to offer, yet acknowledging that it “hampered subsequent investigations,” according to The Daily Telegraph.
Three years later, McMahon ruled Hollis had died from unknown circumstances on or about May 19, 1986.
Agencies and websites list various dates that Hollis went missing. Some say May 15 or 16; others say May 19 or May 20.
Hollis’s older sister, Debbie Hollis, has posted numerous times in her Facebook group that the family was looking for Hollis’s best friend, Terry Davis. He was between 17 and 19 years old in 1986. Hollis often visited Davis. As of this writing, Debbie Hollis has not located Davis or his mother, Judy Davis. They had resided in Minto in 1986 and also nearby Macquarie Fields.
Hollis had recently finished school at Sarah Redfern High School and was looking for work. When he disappeared, he had no money with him and had not touched the unemployment benefits he received. Police do not believe he left voluntarily.
Hollis played footy for the Minto Cobras. He loved animals and catching lizards from local canals. His family has never given up on finding him. They conducted searches, questioned his friends and teammates, and even consulted with psychics.
Spaccavento resided in the same house for 40 years and had the same phone number if Hollis ever returned home. She moved to Leumeah a few years ago.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
I believe that Shaw knows what happened to Hollis. I don’t buy her story that he left with the “dags” in a brown car because the police never discovered who they were. If they were his friends, surely the Hollis family would have known them or recognized the vehicle.
I love how Shaw attempted to save her ass by saying she and a 16-year-old boy were only “friends.” She was 22 with two children. What the hell was she doing hanging out with a teenager? A teenager who obviously had reason to believe they were more than friends.
Hollis gave Shaw an ultimatum, and the very next day, Hollis disappeared. Coincidence? NO. Maybe Hollis showed up at Shaw’s house while the father of one of her two children was there. Something happened, an altercation of some sort, and the man killed Hollis. He and Shaw disposed of his body together. I have no idea who this man is because no reports mention his name. Only one article gave Shaw’s name.
At least 2 friends of Hollis’s testified in 2010 that he was gay and had prostituted himself. But I’m not sure I buy this either because he seemed to be into Shaw. Why would they mention it decades after he disappeared?
Who were the two boys who assaulted and robbed Hollis two weeks before his disappearance? Did he know them? From what I understand, Hollis and Shaw were walking together on Surrey Street near the toilet block when the boys hollered for Hollis to come over. Then, they dragged him into the toilet block, beat him up, and robbed him. Hollis reported the incident to local police.
I think Hollis did know the youths, which is why he went to them when they hollered at him.
It makes me wonder if this was a planned attack on Hollis, maybe as a warning of some sort. What’s the common denominator in the attack and disappearance? SHAW.
I realize they beat him up and robbed him, but why did the incident cause him to be so afraid? What did they say to him as they assaulted him?
Why were Hollis and Shaw walking together? Where were they going?
Hollis’s sister, Debbie, has a FB group, and nowhere does she mention Shaw in any post. I tried finding Shaw online, but her last name has probably changed. I’m curious why no one has mentioned her in the group. Clearly, she has a significant role in this case, guilty or not. I checked the FB group members list, but there isn’t anyone with the first name Karlene.
Why didn’t the police take this case seriously from the get-go? Fifteen years before they investigated? WTF?!? When you have a kid that was assaulted and later vanished, why didn’t they see red flags? Not every damn teenager missing is or was a runaway. I hate that police EVERYWHERE always assume that first. They waste so much time.
I think someone known to Hollis killed him and had help disposing of his body, at the very least. The fact that Terry Davis has never come forward makes me wonder about his possible involvement.