2019

New SBS online documentary recognises Indigenous heroes in Australian true crime story

24 January 2019

News Release

To coincide with 26 January, SBS is releasing a gripping new interactive documentary, Missing, which shares the story of abducted Adelaide schoolgirl Wendy Jane Pfeiffer and the Aboriginal trackers who brought her home.

In 1966, the search made headlines around the country, with more than 150 police and volunteers spending days desperately searching 13,000 acres of dense scrub around Wendy’s Adelaide Hills home. Eventually, her abductor was charged with her murder and Pitjantjatjara trackers, Jimmy James and Daniel Moodoo were called in to find her remains. Instead, they followed her tracks through more than 20 kilometres of bushland and finally reunited Wendy with her family.

Missing celebrates Australian history and its unsung heroes as part of SBS’s efforts to bring together communities to reflect on and celebrate what it means to be Australian today. 

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “SBS is focused on finding new ways to place audiences at the heart of diverse and multicultural experiences, with the aim of creating a deeper understanding of important, but often untold stories.

“We’re proud to be able to share this project which recognises the incredible skill and dedication of Jimmy James and Daniel Moodoo as part of SBS’s exploration of what it means to be Australian today.”

Offering a personal look at one of Australia’s most fascinating true crime stories, Missing is told through the dual perspectives of Wendy and Jimmy and highlights the unique nature of their relationship, which endured for years to come.

Wendy Jane Pfeiffer said, “I walked 12 kilometres over a 42-hour period, becoming more and more dehydrated and totally exhausted. Today, I’m lucky to be alive. While it is bittersweet to reflect on that time, Missing is a beautiful way to thank Jimmy James, without whom I simply wouldn’t be here.”

Missing was developed in collaboration with Wendy and the families of Jimmy James and Daniel Moodoo who provided family archives and recordings, as well as assisting in retracing the exact locations of Wendy’s abduction and subsequent search efforts.

The interactive documentary recreates the events that took place, with principal photography by award-winning photo artist Tamara Dean captured on location 52 years later. Each scene is a beautiful, stylised landscape mosaic of photographs in the Adelaide Hills that the viewer must piece together to drive the story forward.
 
The visuals are given context through narration with Adelaide-local Zoe Pool playing 8-year-old Wendy and Mia Jonson providing her voice. Jimmy James is voiced by relative and leading Indigenous actor, Trevor Jamieson.

As Australia’s dedicated multilingual and multicultural broadcaster, SBS will feature a diverse range of programing on 26 January, sharing stories from a wide variety of different perspectives, across all SBS platforms.

Missing joins SBS’s collection of award-winning documentaries, The Boat, My Grandmother’s Lingo and K’Gari which have been recognised both locally and internationally.

Experience Missing when it launches on 24 January at sbs.com.au/missing.