Kathleen Riethmuller is Missing
If you have a loved one missing, I just want to wish you the best. Research shows how ambiguous loss is so devastating and the grief so unrelenting.
The disappearance of this young software developer, from Queensland, is to me a particularly puzzling event. I didn’t know Kathleen but in many ways she is just like any number of my friends and colleagues and family members. I’m certain there is more knowledge out there and I would dearly wish to see this mystery resolved.
What happened to Kathleen Riethmuller?
October 28, 2021, Kathleen disappeared. Here’s the national missing person’s page — though it’s light on details and can’t even spell her name consistently: Kathleen Riethmuller | National Missing Persons Coordination Centre
Timeline of events
- October 28, 2021:
- 9:30am Paid for a budget room at the Elephant Backpacker hostel, Sir John Young Crescent, Woolloomooloo. "I checked her in and gave her the keys, she paid for a budget room, she was jittery and twitchy, that's why I remember her," manager Nick said.
- 11:40am Captured on CCTV at Bunnings Reserve Road, Artarmon. Unconfirmed: purchase 10metres of rope (could have been a blanket, or rope and blanket)
- 6:30pm (two unconfirmed sightings) - sitting under the hunter's hill underpass on Burns Bay Road
- "Thursday afternoon?" Kathleen’s backpack was found along Centennial Avenue in Lane Cove
- "Later?" Kathleen's phone was found, separately, in Lane Cove North
Final Unconfirmed Sightings
From a reddit thread (link in references):
Deliberate change of identity
The police put forward a theory that she may have deliberately disappeared. 🤦♂️
I think there’s various errors and misconceptions that allow them to think this, and I consider it very unlikely.
- "Her gumtree items for sale were deleted a week after she vanished… so she must've done that, right?" No, it happens automatically.
- "Someone with her name created a linked in account 6 months later in Rockhampton!" (see "Kathleen Riethmuller - designer") So what, there’s multiple people in Queensland with her name.
- "She was a data scientist, therefore, you know, hackers and the dark web and stuff?" Um… data science doesn’t mean you’ll vanish without a trace.
- "She was known to use aliases." Yes. A young woman protecting her anonymity on dating sites means she’s navigating a dangerous world, has nothing to do with fraud/vanishing.
- "She was unemployed and may have gone to Melbourne to seek employment." Her resume and identity are crucial to that. She wouldn’t leave those!
- "She had a good reads category called fiction-2022 and it has 5 books in it! So she must be alive and still using that account!" -- No! The last activity on her account was 8th July 2021. The category probably means "fiction I intend to read in 2022".
- "She was reading a book called: 'The Million Dollar Mindset: How to Harness Your Internal Force to Live the Lifestyle You Deserve' Obviously.... she decided to change her identity!" -- No... unless the book was called "How to change your identity" this is just apophenia... even if the book was called "How to disappear" you'd have to do a bayesian analysis of how many people read that book versus how many of them did actually disappear. It's all just reaching.
The "disappeared on purpose" theory must explain the "checked into a hotel" and "bought rope" and "backpack and phone were stolen".
If the theory is extended to say that she did those things to "throw people off her tracks" or "create an impression that she was intending to commit suicide...." it is a very tenuous argument. Wouldn't it be easier and far more reliable, to create a suicide note? If we're saying she was acting rationally, in charge of her faculties, and deliberately did these specific things as part of a plan to disappear: you're deceiving yourself. The argument defeats itself.
Was it a blanket?
She looks sad and is carrying new blankets that come from the shop in home centre at Artarmon, clearly she was planning on sleeping with blankets somewhere.
Here's an example of the Geo Targeted SMS that was sent out to the Lane Cove Area:
Ridiculously vague and mysterious wording from police here... why do they talk like this??
Ms RIETHMULLER is known to use the aliases Amy MUNROE, Kate RIETHMULLER, Margaret RIETHMULLER and Kate MULLER.
How and in what circumstances were those "aliases" used?
Can a suicide victim remain unfound?
A friend of mine committed suicide in 2017 by hanging himself from a tree, not even particularly high up. It was in a fairly secluded section of a public park with a lot of foot traffic. He was not found for almost eight months
Eerie reading that as something SO similar happened in my hometown! Even with a massive search, it took months. His car was even at the park, where they searched many times before locating him.
One of the more “plausible” possibilities is that K. went into a body of water, as a suicide attempt, and thus was never found. I wonder if there are forensic scientists or some grim category of statisticians who can comment on the likelihood of such a thing occurring.
Social media accounts
— instagram/kate_anne_r - 458 posts. 0 followers. 66 following. This Account is Private. - "Red Riding Hood - Sydney - Seeking self-aggrandisement & validation"
— instagram/photography_kate_r - 2 posts. 0 followers. 0 following. This account is Private. Kathleen Riethmuller.
-linkedin: Kate Riethmuller — UQ; Data Engineer | Highly Accurate Data and Results.
Linked in account from when she was younger (before professional work but after commencement of uni) — linkedin: Kathleen Riethmuller
dropbox — “Kat Rie”
meetups — member of many groups in Sydney. Was “Assistant organizer” of the Sydney Users of R Forum (SURF) — a group largely coordinated by Dr Eugene Dubossarsky
goodreads: kat riethmuller -- the nf-summaries category has lengthy book summaries, but I think these are copied (or scraped?) from elsewhere. They seem to have been added in a few batches on a small number of days.
github: no account identified.
- 7 News: NSW Police issue alert for Kathleen Riethmuller after the Lane Cove woman mysteriously vanished — Updated 31.10.2021
- facebook: nsw police - October 31 2021
- Kathleen Riethmuller | National Missing Persons Coordination Centre
- WebSleuths: Australia - Kathleen Riethmuller, 28, backpack found with personal items, Sydney, 28 Oct 2021
- reddit:r/MissingPersonsAus — Nov 1 2021
- reddit:r/UnresolvedMysteries — May 29 2022
- reddit:r/MissingPersonsAus — Aug 1 2022
- australianmissingpersonsregister: Kathleen Riethmuller