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Growing up, Rachael * said that her sister, Thi Kim Hoa Tran (Kim), was like a second mother to her. This fact makes her disappearance from a South Australia hospital difficult to bear.
Kim, who suffered from a migraine, was transferred to the nearby Lyell McEwin Hospital in the north Adelaide, by his father on Friday, August 23, 1985.

After she was admitted, her father picked Rachael up from school and drove her home.

Shortly after, she received a call from Kim at the hospital asking for her to be picked up as she had been discharged. When the family arrived, Kim was not there. They never saw her again.

Thi Kim Hoa Tran disappeared from Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide in 1985.
Thi Kim Hoa Tran disappeared from Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide in 1985. (Supplied)

In “desperation,” Rachael, now 40, has enlisted the services of private investigator Luke Athens to help find answers to her sister’s disappearance.

She offers a $ 20,000 reward to anyone who has information to help solve the mystery.

Rachael told 9news.com.au that 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.

He was only five years old at the time of his sister’s disappearance, but it is a pain that he has had to live with every day.

Kim disappeared after being discharged from Lyell McEwin Hospital in North Adelaide.
Kim disappeared after being discharged from Lyell McEwin Hospital in North Adelaide. (Google Maps)
“She was like a second mom to me. She would dress me, take a bath,” she said.

“I remember always being with her. Just four years after we arrived in Australia, I lost my sister. I lost a part of me.

“After so long in a country like Australia, I am not satisfied with the fact that to this day I don’t know what happened to my sister.”

Rachael holds up a toy glow worm that Kim bought her so many years ago.
Rachael holds up a toy glow worm that Kim bought her so many years ago. (Supplied)

Rachael said that at the time of Kim’s disappearance, the family was one of the few Asian refugees in the city.

He claimed that the lack of support services hampered the South Australian Police investigation and ultimately led to a communication failure.

“My parents didn’t speak English, they didn’t understand, they didn’t know how to ask for help) or they didn’t know where to go,” she said.

“We just didn’t know how to find her. It was something as a family that we didn’t know how to get over. We sold the property we lived in the following year, and they (my parents) retired. They stopped talking to friends and family.

“She looked embarrassing because, as parents, they were supposed to protect her. It was difficult growing up.”

A new call for answers

About three months ago, Athens of Melbourne Confidential took over Kim’s case.

Over 25 years, Athens has built a reputation for solving hard-to-solve crimes, including Australia’s longest missing persons case known as Daphne Perl Hampstead. But he has found Kim’s case especially puzzling.

Luke Athens's notes in Kim's diary the day she disappeared.
A newspaper note saying that Kim had been kidnapped. (Supplied)

What complicates matters is the fact that he does not have a record of Kim’s formal name and age. His parents have also passed away.

“We don’t even know his real and legal name in Australia,” he said.

“He came to Australia without identification … we are looking for someone who has no identification. How can you locate someone without identification?

“It’s like starting from the beginning.”

As a first step, Athens has compiled a database of all people with a similar name living in South Australia and examined their age groups; once this list is exhausted, it will expand it to the remaining states.

During his investigation, he gathered notes from the 1986 diary of a witness mentioning that Kim was possibly abducted.

Athens has not ruled out foul play and believes that someone in the community knows what happened.

“The key point here is that it was a Vietnamese girl in a rural town and there weren’t that many Vietnamese in those days,” she said.

“Someone should have seen something or known something.”

“Someone must know something,” he said.

“The nurses who were there, someone at the hospital, someone later, someone knows.”

9news.com.au has reached out to the South Australian Police for comment.

Anyone who knows anything about Kim’s disappearance should contact Melbourne Confidential at 1300 15 25 66. Kim would be in his 50s today.

* Name changed to protect identity.


www.9news.com.au

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