In August 1974, James Patrick Taylor vanished after leaving a local grocery store in Derby, Western Australia. He has not been seen since.
About the Case
Aboriginal Australian, James “Jimmy” Patrick Taylor, age 12, resided at 126 Knowsley Street in Derby in 1974. On August 29th of that year, Jimmy left his residence to purchase a soda at Elders, a local grocery store. When he arrived, the store was closed so he headed to Lwoy’s instead.
A witness saw Jimmy carrying a cardboard box. A white man driving a gray Ute pulled up alongside Jimmy. Jimmy put the cardboard box into the back of the Ute and got into the vehicle. No one has seen Jimmy since.
When Jimmy did not arrive home, his family was not concerned. Earlier that day, Jimmy asked to go to Myroodah Cattle Station with a friend. His family assumed he went there.
Days later when Jimmy had not returned home, his family filed a missing persons report on September 16th, 1974 (some reports say September 5th).
In October 2006, Jimmy’s sister, Lynette was watching a documentary called The Fishermen: A Journey into the Mind of a Killer. The show aired on ABC, and it focused on child killer, James Ryan O’Neill. He was in Derby at the time of Jimmy’s disappearance and left for Tasmania two months later with his wife and small child. O’Neill abducted and killed two nine-year-old boys in 1975. He abducted two other boys but they managed to escape. O’Neill was finally caught when he tried to entice a group of children into his vehicle. He was arrested in May 1975 and sentenced to life in prison in November 1975. He is currently incarcerated in a Tasmania prison.
Believing that O’Neill might be responsible for her brother’s abduction and likely murder, Lynette called police. Their response was not what she expected – it was not in the public interest to reopen Jimmy’s case.
Jimmy’s family believed police never properly investigated his case. After they reported Jimmy missing, the police never contacted the family.
O’Neill denied killing Jimmy and is one of several primary suspects in the disappearance of the Beaumont children in 1966.
In 2011, Tom Parramore told local media that O’Neill abducted him on April 18, 1975 when he was 10 years old. According to The West Australian, Tom was walking alone in the Hobart suburb of Sorell when O’Neill pulled up next to him in a green station wagon. The killer claimed to be a policeman from out of town who was delivering an envelope to the local station and convinced Tom to go with him to help him find the station.
In October 2014, a coronial inquiry was held in Jimmy’s case. Two months later, the coroner ruled Jimmy was dead but the cause and circumstances of his death are unascertained.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
Obviously, I think O’Neill is probably the one responsible for Jimmy’s murder. What are the odds that a child killer is in Derby at the time of Jimmy’s disappearance and NOT responsible for Jimmy’s disappearance? The circumstances in Jimmy’s disappearance are very similar to Tom Parramore’s abduction a few months later in 1975.
I looked up Utes to see what they looked like. They were similar to the Chevrolet El Camino here in the States.
Here is an early 1970s model.
It sounds like this was a common car to own back then. I couldn’t find anything on whether or not O’Neill drove one.
Like Jimmy’s family, I question the actions of the police. Why was this case never properly investigated? Why did police not stay in touch with the Taylor family? Why was the case not of public interest 32 years later in 2006? That last question does not make sense to me. One could say it was a race issue. Aboriginal racism has occurred in Australia ever since the 1788 colonial invasion. From 1910 – 1970 (and into the 70s in some areas of the country), aboriginal children was taken from their parents and put into foster care by the government. These children became known as the Stolen Generations and were often abused both physically and sexually by their caretakers.
Maybe Derby police were racist and truly didn’t care about one indigenous boy going missing.