Article: The Pyjama Girl
This case takes as to Albury, New South Wales, Australia in August 1934. Tom Griffith was pulling his bull down Howlong Road after the local show and stumbles across the terribly burnt body of a young woman dressed in yellow silk pyjamas and her head wrapped in a towel. She had been shot and beaten to death. Because the corpse was so badly burned, identification was difficult and the case goes cold.
In 1942, the police made the controversial decision to preserve the body in formalin at the Sydney University Medical School. Here it would be displayed for public exhibition in hopes that someone would be able to identify the body that was called the “Pyjama Girl”. The corpse became a salacious tourist attraction with hundreds of people coming to see it every day.
Eventually, the relatives of two missing women, Anna Philomena Morgan and Linda Agostini came forward. Both families believed the preserved corpse was their loved one.
An investigation commenced. According to dental records, Linda had four fillings in her teeth while Anna had only two. Initially, the medical examiner only found two fillings in the mouth of the Pyjama Girl but when the body was removed from the formalin bath, two more fillings fell out. This led the investigators to conclude that Pyjama Girl was, in fact, Linda Agostini. The fact that they were happy to go with just the amount of fillings as the sole identification method is concerning to me but which will become more apparent later on.
In 1944, Linda’s Italian husband, Tony had returned to Sydney after being drafted in WWII. The police immediately interviewed him, and Tony confessed to the murder of his wife. Tony claimed he had accidentally shot and killed Linda while the couple were living in Melbourne. He then drove the body across the state border, dumped the body on the side of the road, doused it in gasoline and set it ablaze.
Ten years after the Pyjama Girl was found, Tony Agostini was tried for murder but convicted for the lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison. Once he was released, he was deported to Italy where he died in 1969.
End of the story, right? Not quite. There have been some questions over the years whether Linda was actually Pyjama Girl. You see, Linda’s eyes were blue, whereas examinations of the Pyjama Girl’s remains revealed for eye colour to be brown. Linda apparently had a different bust-line and nose shape to the Pyjama Girl. And though Tony Agostini testified in trial that he used petrol to burn the body, the medial examiner claimed it was done with kerosene. Furthermore, and even more strange, even though Tony confessed to the crime, he refused to admit that the Pyjama Girl was he wife.