A 16 year old girl went missing on the 15th of June, 2018. Her name is Larissa Beilby. Recently the mainstream media has been buzzing after the 34 year old criminal she was dating was found speeding in his Ute; he had a tarp hiding a barrel containing a body, he was looking for a place to dump it. Although the authorities refuse confirm or deny whether the body is of the 16 year old girl, the general public fear for the worst.
As disturbing as this story may turn out to be, what bothers me more is why the mainstream media refuses to talk about the problem; why was a 16 year old girl with family left abandoned in a halfway house in Brisbane, Australia.
We often find ourselves fixated on how things happened and forget to even consider why they happened in the first place. That’s what I intend to investigate.
Since I started my research the mainstream media has followed up with two articles about Larissa. One about how she fled to a halfway house to escape an abuse ex-boyfriend; a story that contradicts the family argument narrative, and another detailing the relationship between her and this convicted criminal. These articles are merely worthless fluff pieces and ask no real questions and give us no real answers. This case highlights a much bigger societal problem that we face every day; abuse, neglect and self-harm
For a bit of context, Larissa lived in a tiny apartment that was assigned to her by the Brisbane Youth Service. These kinds of apartments are only available to teenagers between the age of 15 and 18 who are either homeless or at the risk of being homeless. Rent is based on income unless the the person is unemployed. As long as they are actively looking for work they can continue to live there rent-free. This means that Larissa had dropped out off high school and opted to look for work instead. She attended Craigslea High School in Chermside West, Brisbane, with her older sister Deanna and former girlfriend. The three of them were from Victoria, Australia but moved to Brisbane, Queensland.
But why did they move? In 2006 when Larissa was only 4 her mother passed away at the age of 32. Her obituary states that she ‘died suddenly’ but did not mention the cause of death. In cases of someone dying from a disease, virus or disability the cause is usually mentioned; suddenly is usually only mentioned in tragic events such as suicide and overdose. The passing of the mother left the father with three children all under the age of 10 to take care; an impossible feat for a low income earning labourer — but according to the mainstream media, somehow they managed.. Peter had no immediate family in Victoria, his closest relative was Donald who lived in Brisbane. It would make sense for the family to make that move to be closer to family that could support them..
With the tragic loss of their mother and the absence of their father due to work reasons, both girls were left vulnerable. It seems as something happened in 2017 that drove both girls away from their Brisbane guardians. Both girls abandoned their Facebook profiles and created new ones. Both girls sought comfort elsewhere. Fortunately for Deanna, she was old enough to find her own place — which she did with a boyfriend much older than her. But Larissa had a dilemma. As long as she was in high school she could not afford to move out — and being but 15 years young meant that she was not independent and therefore had to rely on her guardians; unless of course home life was so bad that the Brisbane Youth Emergency Service determined that her home life was not safe and granted her an apartment — which they clearly did. This alone is evidence of some kind of abuse in her Brisbane home.
Reports claim that Larissa had a violent argument with her father before she stormed out and found shelter elsewhere. As I mentioned earlier, these shelters are only given to people in need. Apparently Larissa, only 16, lived with her family — but the Emergency Youth Service deemed her home life to be dangerous enough to grant he shelter.
What was the argument about? Drugs?
While Larissa was with her Brisbane guardian it is possible she turned to hard drugs. Her former girlfriend shared multiple posts about her best friend going down a dark and dangerous path; referencing drug use in the home and sexual abuse. Her Facebook profile clearly showed that her former girlfriend tried to reach out to her, but couldn’t help and therefore went her own way to get away from the negative influence.
I do not doubt that Larissa was lonely. She might have turned to drugs to fill the void that was left after losing her mother that her father was too busy repair. Perhaps the tipping point was abuse in the home. Larissa’s instagram photos showed a picture of her with an adhesive strip on her upper arm which might have been concealing a puncture mark from a needle. Other photos show dark scars on her legs which means she might have been self harming. Regardless, Larissa needed someone there for her. She was desperate for company, but the family she loved didn’t have time for her and no one noticed that she had been missing for about a week. It wasn’t until she stopped posting on Facebook and Instagram that people started asking questions.
What did she see in that no-life with the neck tattoo? It seems as though both sisters might have tried to replace their absent father by dating older men. Studies do indicate that girls who grow up with absent or emotionally distant fathers do look for older men to seek security; something neither Larissa or Deanna had growing up. For Larissa, Zlatko offered her what she believed to be security and most likely drugs.
I can only speculate at what happened. Maybe Larissa died from a drug overdose and Zlatko would have been arrested for manslaughter and needed to hide the body. He was on parole, after all. This is the last photo Larissa posted. It was on the 9th of June. It was not taken inside her halfway house; it appears to either be a studio apartment or a motel. The depressing thing is that this was probably the night she died.
If someone just asked why she ended up where she was, then perhaps a life could have been saved. Why did a 16 year old feel like a shelter was her only choice? Why did she feel the need to drugs? And why did she seek company in a dangerous criminal almost twice her age?
Although unconfirmed, I also fear the worst, and if my fear proves to be true then an innocent life was slowly slipping away while no one who cared enough noticed — but someone did, took advantage, then literally through her away like trash when he was done with her.