Chapter 788: News of Black Opal
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
November 23, 1973, was the day Benson Selberg last saw his wife, Jennifer, leave the house. At that point in time, he thought that she had gone back to her parents' house.
However, when Jennifer's parents had not seen her after five days, and she could not be contacted, the police were called.
In 1979, the police categorized Jennifer's case as a major missing persons case. To this day, Jennifer's missing case report was still on the main page of the National Missing Persons Coordination Center's website.
As their children's pictures were placed together with Jennifer's, the parents, who had been closely monitoring the National Missing Persons Coordination Center's website daily for the past few days, knew who Jennifer was and hence, knew who Benson was after hearing his words.
According to the standard procedure of the National Missing Persons Coordination Center, a person who had been missing for more than three months would be listed as a long-term missing person.
Benson opened up the laptop in the lounge and logged onto the National Missing Persons Coordination Center website to let Li Du and the others have a look at the information.
There were a lot of pictures posted on the website's main page. It was a harrowing experience to see that the main page was filled up with pictures of people who had been missing for several years or even decades!
The police in Australia offered rewards for those missing person cases. Each year during the months of March and October, the police would collate information on the missing people, create posters, and send them to various states' police stations to be put up in public areas.
The pictures in Benson's possession were taken from public areas.
Feeling very helpless, Lu Guan told Benson, "Sorry sir, I really want to help you. However, truth be told, I am not that capable."
"Don't you have powers? You managed to find those children. Could you please help me find my wife?" Benson interrupted him anxiously.
With an anticipatory look on his face, the old man stared wide-eyed at Lu Guan.
Lu Guan mumbled, "D*mn it, I really regret having accepted those descriptions that the police had made up for me. What powers do I have?"
Just as Adrian had said earlier, it was not easy being a hero.
As Benson had spent half of his life searching for his wife, he had already become a little obsessed with it. At present, his purpose for living was to find his wife. It was this purpose that kept him going.
Without that purpose, he would have most likely already fallen apart.
Li Du noticed this and interrupted Lu Guan when he saw that Lu Guan was about to turn Benson down. "How about, Mr. Selberg, you give us a picture, and we will try our best to find her. If we are lucky enough to find anything about her, we will definitely notify you."
After thanking them profusely, the old man took out a stack of pictures. They were very clear and encompassed pictures of Jennifer from the age of 25 to 70. He handed them to Li Du and his group.
When the old man left, Lu Guan asked helplessly, "Boss, how can we help him?"
As Adrian understood the reason behind Li Du's actions, he replied, "This is helping him. If you were to tell him that you were unable to help him, you would make him despair."
Having just experienced exactly that in the past few days, the three parents nodded simultaneously.
While looking at the pictures, Sophie wondered, "According to what Mr. Howard has said, Mrs. Jennifer Selberg went missing soon after getting married. Why then does the stack of pictures include pictures of her up through her 70's?"
Adrian and the other parents began explaining to Li Du and the rest that this was one of the advanced technologies Australia used for finding missing people.
It was common knowledge that when someone had gone missing for a long period of time, their faces would have definitely undergone significant changes compared to when they had gone missing.
This was especially so for missing children. Since children grew at a very fast rate, there was no guarantee that, after a few years, the parents of the missing children would be able to recognize their children in a crowd of people by relying only on the image of their children from their memories.
It was precisely this factor, the change in appearance of the long-term missing people, that made it extremely challenging for the police to search for them.
Later on, the National Missing Persons Coordination Center collaborated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to implement forensic imaging techniques and related training courses.
From the unique features of the missing people obtained from their pictures that were taken before they went missing and the irrefutable inferences from relevant experts, the forensic imaging techniques were able to create a brand new "picture" of a missing person that showed how they would look a certain number of years after they had gone missing.
The pictures of the missing people that were taken before they went missing were placed together with the pictures created through the use of the forensic imaging techniques. Through this process, the obstacle in the search for the missing people, which was caused by the change in their appearances, was able to be most effectively reduced, and the police and public could be provided with a more accurate reference.
Not only were the pictures that were created through this process beneficial to the police when searching for the missing people, they also brought some consolation to the missing people's family members.
Li Du and the others suddenly came to the realization that technology had already advanced to such a stage.
Li Du and his group kept the pictures. If in the future they were to meet the old woman in the pictures, they would definitely be willing to send her home.
Benson's arrival had diminished the joyous atmosphere that they initially had, especially after the group became depressed from seeing the pictures on the National Missing Persons Coordination Center's website.
Trying to lighten the atmosphere, Hans said, "Come to think of it, we still don't know much about each other. What do you guys do? Anyone like diving?"
Adrian replied, "I admire divers. It's a pity that I'm not able to do what they can. My job is the exact opposite of yours. I'm a geologist."
"In that case, your job and mine are somewhat similar. My job is also related to earth and minerals. I dig up gemstones in New South Wales," a middle-aged man by the name of Bob Bryan said.
His child was one of the four missing children who had been found. Despite that, he was more unfortunate, as part of his child's brain had been damaged by the sedatives and lack of oxygen.
Hearing what Bob had said, Li Du became interested and asked, "Dig up gemstones? Black opal?"
Out of all the gemstones that were unique to Australia, black opals were the most well-known. Although black opals could be found in many areas, areas that were rich in black opals were mainly located near Lightning Ridge in New South Wales.
This aspect of black opals was the same as that of black gold abalones. Although black gold abalones could be found in many areas of the sea in Australia, they were mainly found in the waters near King Island.
Bob nodded and smiled. "Yes, I search for black opal."
"Woah, magnate," Adrian said in admiration.
Black opals, which were more valuable than fire opals, were one of the most valuable gemstones. As such, a person would not need to worry about subsistence if they managed to dig up a piece of black opal.
Bob forced a smile and said, "I'm not the lucky gem hunter that you guys have in mind. To this day, I have only found two pieces of opal. However, that's fine as I have found the greatest treasure in my life, my son. Thank you, God!"
This was really a coincidence as besides coming to Australia to harvest black gold abalone, Li Du had also planned to look for black opals.
Li Du had planned on heading over to New South Wales to have a look after the end of the black gold abalone harvesting season in April. Little did he know, he would meet an expert at the police station.
As such, he extended his hand and said, "Very pleased to meet you, Mr. Bob Bryan. I'm also a gem hunter. Currently, I am getting ready to head over to Lightning Ridge to have a look."
This was fate. All of a sudden, there was a common interest between the two of them.
Li Du asked Bob about the quantity of black opals in Lightning Ridge and the rules for searching for black opals in Australia. As Bob was extremely grateful to Li Du, he told Li Du everything he knew. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far