Unraveling A Fifty Five Year Old Mystery

I never thought that I’d be the one writing this. But I figured someone needs to. Not wanting to hurt anyones feeling or cause pain to anyone, I intentionally left out the names of those involved. Anyone familiar with the story will recognize it immediately and if you don’t, it shouldn’t make any difference to you.

I find myself between a rock and a hard place telling what I believe is the answer to a decades old murder, a murder of a young girl that was killed in my hometown, when we were in the 8th grade.

I am writing about this to help right a wrong done many decades ago. The young girl did not kill herself accidentally or otherwise. Everyone around has always known that. I just want give people more information so they can make up their minds and we can all pray that she will rest better without any cloud of suspicion hanging over this tragic case. She deserves that.

It’s been almost 55 years now and many people have mulled over what happened, who did this and why? I’m going to tell you what I have been told, from several angles. I’ll not mention names, for even though it’s been this long ago, emotions are still raw with many people. There are several aspects of this case that make it incomprehensible and many feel it should have been solved.

First off, there are family members that have passed down their version of the events, which are hard to believe. There are locals that are very closely connected to Law Enforcement at that time, that will never support the version of events that I most closely ascribe to. The County Sheriff at the time was related to this murder victim and is held in high regard and should be, as he served the people so well for so many decades.

The story as I remember it went like this; The 13 year old girl came home from school where she was expected to do chores and help with household duties, which she did everyday without being told. She mixed up a cake and put it in the oven to bake. Then she started to mop the floor in the kitchen. The death certificate says she Died of Strangulation, Accidental. It goes on to say The child tied a rope around her neck and tied it to a rafter in a shed behind the home where they were playing and it was too tight and she strangled to death before she was found.

Any clear thinking human being can probably see several things wrong with this death certificate.

The story continues on with the burning cake was smelled or perhaps smoke was seen by neighbors. She was found and pronounced dead at 6:00 PM.

This is where the story goes in a thousand directions. Various neighborhood boys names were tossed around over the years, a vagrant was seen in the area, there were several odd people that were known to live in the area. But one thing is for sure, no one bought the story that she accidentally or intentionally hung herself.

Family members will tell you that she was killed by a guy that was staying with an older couple nearby and he was seen window peeping. So it must be him.

I will add that it has been reported that vomit was found on a pillow case inside the home.

I have been told that a friend of the mother of the girl was asked several years after the death if she had any idea what happened. He response was “I can’t talk about it. It is too close to home”. Now I’ll leave that with you to draw your own conclusion.

This happened in November. When school was out the May before, she went to stay with an aunt in Oklahoma. It is widely known that she went away for the summer and returned when school started in September. Of course in those days anytime a young girl left town to go stay with an aunt, it was assumed that she was away having a baby. Those rumors have been tossed around, but that was never substantiated.

It has also been rumored that her father had been abusing her and she was sent away while the dad got his head screwed on straight or was somehow being rehabilitated. When one says “abused” by the father, sexual abuse is the first thing many think of. However the father was known to be a heavy drinker and could have had a mean streak and been physically abusing her with nothing sexual involved.

While some deny that she went away, even telling me that they didn’t have family members in Oklahoma. But I’ve been told by a younger cousin that lived in Oklahoma at that time period that in fact she did come stay with them for the summer prior to her death. That cousin also stated that she did not want to return back home when school started but was made to. She cried to her aunt, begging to stay in Oklahoma.

I have been told that several years after the incident, a close friend of the mother asked her if anything was every found out or solved. Her comment was something like “I can’t talk about it. It’s too close to the family”.

Getting to the investigation of the death, I have been told that the death was a common conversation around the dinner table at the Sheriff’s house and it was thought that the father was responsible but that it would open too big a can of worms to go after him, because there wasn’t conclusive evidence. Perhaps it went something like “You couldn’t bring in a father that lost a child and accuse him of doing it without plenty of evidence”.

Interrogation techniques have changed over the years. Now there is little concern for the family members or anyone else, as long as they solve the case. I believe that wasn’t the mindset in small town USA a half century ago.

This case will never be resolved, I’m almost certain. The likelihood that any evidence is still being preserved by the county is remote or that it was even properly collected at the time.

There are possibilities that she could have been killed by the dad, another family member, a friend or a stranger. But one thing that seems strikingly clear, she wasn’t responsible for her own death, either accidentally or on purpose.

I will continue to add other angles to this as they come to light. The comment section will not be used on the Facebook post of this story. I don’t care to conduct a gossip mill on this link concerning this story. This post is only to help explain what really happened.

Rest In Peace Sweet Girl

2 thoughts on “Unraveling A Fifty Five Year Old Mystery

  1. You have done a good thing to put all of this into one post.
    Injustice was done, and it cannot be rectified or undone.
    Letting sleeping dogs lie is not a way out.
    Whether the “truth” can be known or not (and after all these years, likely not), the reflections on how “it was done back then” are useful to us now, so that things like this not be repeated.
    Thank you for breaking the silence.

    Liked by 1 person

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