As much as no one may like to admit it, society is fascinated by the wealthiest people in the world. Their problems tend to seem more exciting, as they include jealousy, greed, gluttony, and power.
When a wealthy heiress and her husband went missing, the case immediately captivated the nation. What followed was a roller-coaster of police investigations and a family’s search for answers. It all started in Melbourne, Australia with a very privileged family…
Their adult children reported them missing on April 8, 2002, to local police. Then they contacted the missing persons unit at around 9 p.m. Sergeant Henry Van Veenendaal was part of the team that took the call.
Police Were Stunned
At first, there was no real indicator that suggested anything bad had happened. The only information they had was that an elderly couple had gone missing in their vehicle and no one could really explain it…
The next step was to find out all they could about the missing pair. Paul King, 74, was retired, and had health problems following several strokes. Margaret Wales, 68, was wealthy from investing in property and shares, but she wasn’t like a “flamboyant socialite.”
The couple had been together for more than 20 years and were married in 1995. Margaret had five adult children from her previous marriage: Sally, Damian, Emma, Prudence, and Matthew. Investigators quickly built a picture of the couple and it was determined that Margaret was in daily contact with her family members and she adored her 11 grandchildren.
Without A Trace
But, the couple’s Mercedes Benz was gone, their bank accounts hadn’t been touched and nobody had heard from them in days. They weren’t the type of couple to do spur of the moment things and they led a very regimented lifestyle.
Matthew Had Seen His Parents
The weekend before their disappearance, Sally and Emma spoke to their youngest brother Matthew about being unable to contact their mother. He failed to mention to them, however, that his mother and Paul had been at his home for dinner on April 4. It was unclear why he kept this information from his sister, but it was apparent he was very distressed over their disappearance.
He believed they’d either been attacked by a drug dealer or even carjacked. But, as the days went on, each of the siblings began to develop theories of their own. Most of them involved their youngest brother Matthew. They all believed that he was involved in some way.
But, they really didn’t believe anything bad had happened to them until their Mercedes Benz was found. The couple’s silver Benz was found in Middle Park six days after they were pronounced missing. It had been locked and left at an intersection. Unfortunately, a detailed forensic search of the car failed to turn up any clues…
There were false sightings of the couple everywhere, which made the mystery even more bizarre. People claimed to have seen them everywhere from the local market to country bed and breakfasts. But, there was just no reason for them to be at any of those places.
By that point, people had conducted interviews and discovered that friends had visited the Wales-King home for drinks on April 4, 2002. Then the couple told their guests that they were about to head out for dinner at Matthew’s…
Matthew gave a written statement about the gathering, as did his wife, Maritza. She described waving goodbye to Paul and Margaret while holding her toddler at about 9:45 p.m. But, something wasn’t adding up. Matthew was the last person to see his mother and stepfather and now they were nowhere to be found.
Rewind to 1975, and Margaret moved in with Paul right after leaving her husband. The family breakup caused a rift, with Margaret’s older children resentful towards Paul, blaming him for their parent’s breakup. Matthew was 7-years-old at the time, but he was closest with Paul, earning the title of “Golden Boy.” His siblings believed he could do no wrong in his mother’s eyes and they believed Matthew was her favorite…
The “Golden Boy’s” Upbringing
But with a low IQ and a tendency towards violent outbursts, Matthew became a troubled teen. He left school to complete a hairdressing apprenticeship and in 1997 opened his own hairdressing salon, where he met his wife, Maritza. After the failure of several business ventures, he heavily relied on his mother, and his animosity towards her grew worse over time.
He Developed A Strange Obsession
During a visit to his in-law’s house in late March 2002, Matthew reportedly stole blood pressure pills. By this time, he had become obsessed with the idea of killing his mother. That’s when he invited his mom and stepfather over for dinner, but when his son got sick, the dinner was rescheduled for April 4. On the night of the dinner, Matthew prepared homemade vegetable soup, crushing the stolen drugs and painkillers into Margaret and Paul’s bowls. As the meal progressed, he even offered them wine…
Fast forward to April 19, during their usual rounds of the forests, two park rangers in the Yarra Ranges National Park saw an unusual mound off a small track in the forest. It was then that the family’s worst fears were a reality, their parents had been murdered.
Maritza Finally Opened Up…
The next day, Matthew’s wife, Maritza, finally made an honest statement to police implementing her husband in the murder. She told them that after dinner, Paul and Margaret seemed to be slurring their words and she assumed it was from the alcohol. Matthew went to walk his parents outside while Maritza headed upstairs to feed and change their son…
But, 30 minutes after taking her son to bed, Maritza came downstairs to find the house in darkness. Then she saw the front door open and she walked outside to find Paul and Margaret lying on the ground. When she asked her husband what happened he yelled at her to “get inside.” He was crying and shaking and said, “I hit her.”
Hiding The Evidence
Matthew kept the bodies in his garage for two days before hiring a trailer from a nearby service station and moving the bodies to Yarra Ranges National Park. It was there that he would bury them, one on top of the other, in a grave. He then returned home to remove any trace of blood from his garage floor.
They Still Attended The Funeral
Maritza was charged as an accessory after the fact to both murders and later received a two-year suspended sentence. Matthew and Maritza attended the funeral of Paul and Margaret on May 8, although Matthew was not given a role in the funeral and was understandably snubbed by his family.
He Wanted Her Dead
On May 10, Matthew was charged over the deaths and in October of that year, he pleaded guilty to murder. He was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 24 years. In a police interview after his arrest, Matthew said he killed his mother because of the way she used her power for money. “She used it against us all the time.” He said.