The Pyjama Girl mystery baffles observers to this day.
The Pyjama Girl mystery baffles observers to this day.

Baffling Pyjama Girl mystery is case closed – or is it?

In 1934, the badly burnt body of a young woman wearing distinctive yellow silk pyjamas was found dumped in a culvert near Albury.

The case baffled police, and in a desperate bid to crack the case, the preserved body was put on display at Sydney University for years, becoming a macabre tourist attraction of sorts.

Eventually, authorities declared the woman, dubbed "the Pyjama Girl", was Linda Agostini, from Melbourne.

 

 

Her husband, Antonio Agostini, confessed to killing his wife and was jailed for manslaughter.

Case closed. Or was it?

The Pyjama Girl is the subject of the latest episode of the free In Black and White podcast on some of Australia's forgotten characters, available today.

The story is told by Chris Adams in the True Crime Volume 1 edition of the Grave Tales series of books.

Adams believes the mystery is far from solved, and there's no way the Pyjama Girl could be Linda Agostini.

Murder victim Linda Agostini with her killer, husband Antonio.
Murder victim Linda Agostini with her killer, husband Antonio.

If he's right, the identity of the woman - and her killer - remain a mystery 85 years after her murder.

"Officially, it is resolved, but when you start to look at the story more closely, I think it is fair to say that it is unresolved," Adams says.

Adams says one sticking point is that while Agostini confessed to killing his wife and dumping her body, he saw the body of the Pyjama Girl and denied that was her.

But the clincher for Adams is the startling physical differences between Linda Agostini and the Pyjama Girl.

Antonio Agostini
Antonio Agostini

"The Pyjama Girl had blue eyes, but Linda's were brown," Adams says.

"The Pyjama Girl was small-breasted, but Linda had larger breasts.

"Expert witnesses were able to convince the Coroner that Linda's eyes could have turned blue after death and her breasts could have shrunk due to the fire, even though they could give no evidence of either circumstance happening before."

Linda Agostini was buried at Preston Cemetery in 1944. Adams says she had no family or friends there, so four journalists acted as pallbearers.

Adams doubts the mystery will ever be solved.

"Lots of questions, and I guess the big one is: Who is lying in that grave in Preston Cemetery?" he says.

 

And check out In Black & White in the Herald Sun newspaper Monday to Friday to see more stories from Victoria's past.

inblackandwhite@heraldsun.com.au

 

 

 

Linda Agostini in about 1934.
Linda Agostini in about 1934.
Antonio Agostini arriving at his wife’s inquest with detectives.
Antonio Agostini arriving at his wife’s inquest with detectives.
Sunday Mail front page report of Pyjama Girl murder in 1934.
Sunday Mail front page report of Pyjama Girl murder in 1934.


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