Thi Kim Hoa TRAN  (Kim)


Reward offered decades after teen's mysterious disappearance from SA hospital


Believed to be between 16-18 years old at the time of her disappearance

Last seen Friday August 23, 1985

Last seen Lyell McEwin Hospital North Adelaide, South Australia


Reward offered decades after teen's mysterious disappearance from South Australian hospital

Growing up Rachael* said her sister, Thi Kim Hoa Tran (Kim), was like a second mother to her. This fact, makes her disappearance from a South Australian hospital hard to bear.
Kim, a migraine sufferer, was taken to the nearby Lyell McEwin Hospital, in north Adelaide, by her father on Friday August 23, 1985.
After she was admitted, her father collected Rachael from school, and took her home.
Soon after, he received a call from Kim at the hospital asking to be picked up as she had been discharged. When the family arrived, Kim was not there. She was never seen again.
In "desperation" Rachael, now 40, has engaged the services of private investigator Luke Athens to help find answers to her sister's vanishing.
She's offering a $20,000 reward to anyone with information to help solve the mystery.
Rachael told she was only a few weeks old when her parents fled war-torn Vietnam in 1981 to seek refuge in Australia, and the two girls grew up with an unbreakable bond.

She was only five at the time of her sister's disappearance, but its pain she's had to live with every day.

"She was like a second mum to me. She would dress me, she would bathe me," she said.

"I remember always being with her. It was barely four years after we came to Australia that I lost my sister. I lost a part of me.
"After all this time being in a country like Australia I'm unsatisfied by the fact that to this day I don't know what happened to my sister."
Rachael said at the time of Kim's disappearance the family was one of the few Asian refugees in town.
She claimed the lack of support services hindered South Australian Police's investigation and ultimately lead to a break-down in communication.
"My parents spoke no English, they didn't understand, they didn't know how to ask for help) or know where to go to," she said.
"We just didn't know how to find her. It was something as a family we didn't know how to get over. We sold the property we lived in the following year, and they (my parents) retreated. They stopped talking to friends, and family.
"There was a shameful aspect to it because as parents they were supposed to protect her. It was difficult growing up."

A fresh appeal for answers

About three months ago, Mr Athens from Melbourne Confidential took on Kim's case.
Over 25 years, Mr Athens has built a reputation of solving hard to solve crimes, including the longest missing person case in Australia known as Daphne Perl Hampstead. But he's found Kim's case especially baffling.
Complicating things is the fact he does not have a record of Kim's formal name and age. Her parents are also now deceased.
"We don't even know her real, legal name in Australia," he said.
"She came to Australia with no identification... we are looking for someone who has no ID. How do you trace someone with no ID?
"It's like starting from the beginning."
As his first step Mr Athens has compiled a database of everyone with a similar name who lives in South Australia and examined their age brackets - once he exhausts this list he will expand it to the remaining states.
During his investigation, he has gathered 1986 diary notes from one witness that mention Kim was possibly kidnapped.
Mr Athens has not ruled out foul play and believes someone in the community knows what happened.
"The key point here is it was a Vietnamese girl in a country town and there wasn't that many Vietnamese back in those days," he said.
"Someone would have had to have seen something or known something."
Rachael agrees.
"Someone must know something," she said.

"The nurses that was there, someone in the hospital, someone afterwards, someone knows." has reached out to South Australia Police for comment.
Anyone who knows anything about Kim's disappearance is urged to contact Melbourne Confidential on 1300 15 25 66. Kim would be in her early 50s today.

* Named changed to protect identify.