Missing Persons - Gary Adams
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Vic man jailed for murdering teen stepson
Jo-Ann Adams searched tirelessly after her 17-year-old son disappeared, repeatedly urging police to take a closer look.
It would be almost a decade before the man who comforted her as she cried after Gary went missing was unmasked as his callous, brutal
and cunning murderer.
Ms Adams' former partner
John Xypolitos has been jailed for 27 years after being found guilty of Gary's murder.
Xypolitos bashed the 17-year-old with a hammer and cut up the corpse with a hacksaw before hiding the remains in a number of Melbourne
tips and in his mother's backyard.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Curtain said Xypolitos, 57, had shown no remorse and had little to no hope of rehabilitation.
"You are for all intents and purposes a callous, brutal and cunning murderer," she said on Friday.
"I regard this as an extremely serious example of the most serious of offences."
After Gary disappeared from their Cranbourne home in December 2003, Ms Adams conducted her own search and beseeched police to take a
Seven years after the disappearance and with no trace of her son, Ms Adams pulled senior detective Ron Iddles aside at a public
function and asked him to take charge of the investigation.
After more months of painstaking detective work, the truth finally emerged when Xypolitos confessed to an undercover police
officer in early 2012.
It was then that Xypolitos revealed he had hit Gary two or three times on the head with a hammer.
Ms Adams said Xypolitos had comforted her after his disappearance, and went with her to buy Christmas presents for Gary in
the hope that he'd be home soon.
"He held me while I cried," she told a pre-sentence hearing.
"I now have the knowledge of the evil that was in my home."
Ms Adams was in court for every day of the trial, during which Xypolitos behaved in what Justice Curtain described as a
detached and manipulative way.
The judge praised Ms Adams for her dedication to her son.
"(Her efforts) speak eloquently of a mother's enduring love for her only child," she said.
"The court applauds her for her unfailing devotion not only to the memory of her son, but to the pursuit of justice
for his killer."
Xypolitos, of Hughesdale, smiled as he was led away from the court.
Outside court, Gary's father Andrew Sonnreich said the family should be enjoying a normal life with their son.
"He'd be 27 this year... I don't get to go to a wedding, I don't get to have grandkids from him," he told reporters.
Xypolitos will be 80 when his 24-year non-parole period expires.
Gary's murderer to be sentenced
Jo-Ann Adams met John Xypolitos – the man who would murder her son and bury parts of his body all over Melbourne,
including in his own mother's backyard – in 1998 when they were both working for General Motors Holden in Dandenong.
The couple began a relationship but despite separating in 2003 were living together as friends at a property in
Cranbourne when Ms Adam's only child, Gary, 17 went missing on December 5, 2003.
When Ms Adams arrived home from work just before 6pm, Xypolitos told her Gary had been home earlier but
had gone out again saying he would not be home for dinner.
She never saw her son again.
Gary was in fact lying dead in a large shed in the backyard after being attacked and killed by Xypolitos with a hammer.
The shed was usually padlocked and Xypolitos had the only key.
Xypolitos, 56, would later tell police he had killed Gary in self defence after the
teenager had attacked him with a screwdriver.
There had been arguments in the past between Xypolitos, a strict disciplinarian,
and Gary over varying issues such as the teenager wanting to play Eminem in the
house and Xypolitos refusing to let him.
Gary, a former Hillcrest Christian College student who had a learning disability
and had left school part way through year 9, would often not come home for days when staying at friends' houses.
Ms Adams said as long as Gary was in regular contact, she was happy to give the teenager his freedom.
The last time she spoke to Gary was on Thursday, December 4, 2003, and she expected him home for dinner the next night.
But when he failed to turn up Ms Adams just thought he was out with friends.
She told the Supreme Court that Xypolitos had cooked dinner that night and appeared
normal just hours after he had secretly killed her son.
"He just seemed like he had a good day at work and he was quite fine," she said.
"We sat there watching TV together while we were eating tea. He didn't look stressed,
he didn't look like something bad had happened."
Xypolitos would keep up the facade of not knowing what had happened to Gary for more than
eight years until his arrest in April last year.
Ms Adams said that before she left home the next morning, on December 6, 2003, she checked
Gary's room again but he wasn't there. He had still not shown up when she returned home at 3.30pm.
Over the next few days she repeatedly called Gary's mobile phone but it appeared
to be switched off. She called his friends but no one knew where he was.
Worried that something had happened to her son, Ms Adams went to Cranbourne
police station to report him missing on December 9, 2003, but police told her:
"Well, you know, it's so close to Christmas now, he'll turn up for Christmas."
He never did and no formal report was compiled by police.
An increasingly distraught Ms Adams eventually went back to the police station
in July 2004 demanding they try to find her son.
An investigation into Gary's disappearance was belatedly launched before local police
handed the file to the homicide squad's missing persons unit in October 2004.
The case was later reviewed by the squad's cold case taskforce but it wasn't until
senior homicide detective Ron Iddles took over the investigation in late 2010 – after
Ms Adams had approached him at a public function where he was speaking – that it was
decided to set up a covert operation targeting Xypolitos.
The breakthrough came when Xypolitos told an undercover officer how he had killed Gary
by hitting him two or three times in the head with a hammer.
He boasted of putting Gary's body in the small plastic children's swimming pool in
the shed and waiting until Ms Adams left to go to work the next day before cutting up Gary's body with a hacksaw.
He placed the various body parts in black garbage bags and left them in the shed for
another week while he worked out what to do.
Having cleaned up the blood in the shed using automotive degreaser, lime and gypsum,
he dumped Gary's clothes and the small swimming pool at the Oakleigh tip before getting
rid of the hammer, the hacksaw and Gary's mobile phone.
Xypolitos later took Gary's head and some of his limbs to the Lysterfield tip.
He buried the remains of Gary's corpse in a gap between the side fence and a shed
at the rear of his mother's home in Hughesdale.
"The disposal of the body parts at various locations was remarkable for its level
of organisation and calculation and coolness," Crown prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC,
told the Supreme Court jury during Xypolitos' murder trail.
"Almost an emotional detachment about the whole thing that's quite
extraordinary. He dispatched the parts of Gary Adams, this young person who
he had the care of, all over Melbourne."
Xypolitos told the undercover officer how some years later he decided to dig
up the remains in his mother's backyard and cut them into smaller bits with an
air-operated saw he had just bought.
He was in the middle of digging up the remains when a neighbour's dog
disturbed him so he re-buried the body parts where they were.
When asked about the fight between him and Gary, Xypolitos claimed
Gary was "getting a bit uppity" by rubbing in the fact that Xypolitos
had separated from Ms Adams and she had cleaned him out financially.
Questioned as to whether Gary had actually hit him with the screwdriver, the accused said, "Nah".
Xypolitos would occasionally laugh when telling the undercover officer what he had done to Gary
and how he had covered up the crime.
After his arrest, officers asked Xypolitos what position he felt he would
be in if police searched his mother's home and found human remains. Xypolitos replied: "Pretty bad one for me".
Xypolitos later told police he killed Gary because he was "just under a lot of stress at the time, not thinking
obviously, so that's about it". He said nothing about having acted in self-defence.
Xypolitos was found guilty of murder and will be sentenced on Friday.
Grisly Hughesdale find in hunt for missing Gary
Homicide squad detectives digging up the backyard of a Melbourne home in their search for missing teenager
Gary Adams have uncovered "partial human remains".
Police confirmed this morning that they had made the grisly discovery at the home in Dallas Avenue in
Hughesdale. John Xypolotis, the stepfather of the missing 17-year-old, has been charged with his murder.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said an anthropologist had confirmed the remains were human, however police
have not confirmed that they are those of the teenager who vanished more than eight years ago.
Forensic police yesterday began excavating a large section of the backyard at the home that Xypolotis, 55,
is believed to have shared with his mother until recently. Xypolotis's mother, who owns the house, is not a suspect.
Homicide detectives allege that Gary was murdered on December 5, 2003 - the day he went missing - by Xypolotis.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said the human remains were found yesterday at the Hughesdale property.
"We can confirm human remains were found at that location and that has led to a person being charged late
yesterday with offences associated with that murder," he said.
"The key message being the victims of these sorts of crimes, the families of these sorts of victims
of crime, need to know the cases haven’t closed, it’s certainly important that they get that message."
This morning, police in forensic outfits have walked into a lane leading to the back of the property and a
police van has been parked near the fence.
Outside the home today, Eric Kendal said he had been friends with Xypolotis since high school.
He said Xypolotis had lived in the house periodically since high school. Mr Kendall said he had
heard remains were found on the premises this morning.
Gary's mother, Jo-Ann Adams, told The Age last night she was grateful for the persistence of police
during the investigation of the disappearance of her only child.
"I'd like to say thank you to Victoria Police, particularly Ron Iddles and his staff," she said. "And
I appreciate everybody's support over the years."
Gary had left a half-eaten meal in his bedroom and a backpack that he carried everywhere when he vanished
from his home in Raisell Road, Cranbourne.
Xypolotis was arrested yesterday afternoon and faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with murder.
Prosecutor Huw Roberts told Magistrate Jack Vandersteen yesterday that police required extra time preparing
the case to process forensic evidence.
Xypolotis, wearing a striped white shirt and jeans, sat and listened intently during the hearing.
The Hughesdale man made no application for bail and will face court again on August 2.
The disappearance of Gary was listed as a cold case until it was reopened by Detective Senior
Sergeant Ron Iddles, of the homicide squad, in late 2010 after he was approached by Ms Adams.
Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said last night he was satisfied he had given Ms Adams some
resolution, having made a commitment to her that he would ensure the case was at least subject to a coroner's inquest.
The Age last year revealed that Ms Adams faced financial hardship but had received no compensation
from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal over Gary's disappearance.
The tribunal did not comment, but it is thought it could not pay compensation because a detective
from the cold-case taskforce Belier, which has since shut down, had earlier told the tribunal
there was no evidence he was the victim of a crime.
Police offer reward in teen disappearance
The mother of a 17-year-old who disappeared from his Cranbourne home in 2003 believes her son's case is finally being given the respect it deserves.
Jo-Ann Adams also called on whoever was involved in the suspected murder of her son Gary to "grow some balls" and come forward.
Victoria Police announced a $100,000 reward today for information concerning Gary Adams.
Detective Inspector John Potter said police had leads in the case, which is being treated as a murder, and hoped the reward would help provide a breakthrough.
"We certainly have a person of interest," Det Insp Potter said.
"We're very confident this reward will assist someone with knowledge of Gary to come forward."
Ms Adams said she had been left to conduct her own inquiries which had also revealed a suspect, but had so far been unable to support her suspicions with facts.
"There have been many times when my son's file wasn't treated with the respect it deserved," she said.
Ms Adams said she last saw her son on December 3 when they put up a Christmas tree together at her graphic design business in Cranbourne.
Gary then went to stay with friends for two days before returning to the family home on December 5.
He didn't see his mother during that visit and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
Ms Adams said her son had no apparent problems and had been looking forward to Christmas, having picked out a new BMX bike he wanted as a present.
He had also left a half-eaten meal in his bedroom and had left the house without a backpack his mother said he took everywhere.
The reward for information about Gary Adams is the latest in a string of inducements to be offered by Victoria Police in relation to old crimes.
Among them is the disappearance in 1975 of 12-year-old
from Maryborough in central Victoria and the murder in 1990 of 15-year-old
Suspect identified in boy's murder
Homicide squad detectives say they have identified a suspect in a teenage boy's disappearance and suspected murder.
Gary Adams, 17, has not been seen since 2003 when he disappeared from his Cranbourne West home.
Investigators recently reviewed Gary's case and have uncovered evidence pointing to a clear suspect.
A witness told police the teen rode from home on his BMX bike early on the day, December 5, he vanished.
But detectives believe something happened to Gary at the Raisell Rd house.
A half-eaten meal found in his room indicated an unplanned disappearance.
The backpack Gary normally carried everywhere was at the house and he did not arrive at a party he was to have attended that evening.
The trainee airbrusher has not used his bank account or phone since the day he disappeared.
"Something happened that prevented him from eating the meal," detective Sen-Sgt Ron Iddles, of the homicide squad, said.
"Someone will know what's happened to him."
Gary's mother, Jo-Ann, begged anyone who could help investigators to speak out. "It's a big thing to keep secret," she said.
Ms Adams said her life was filled with reminders of her heartbreaking loss.
Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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