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Scotty Joe Weaver (March 26, 1986 – July 22, 2004) was an 18-year-old murder victim from Bay Minette, Alabama, whose burned and partially decomposed body was discovered on July 22, 2004, a few miles from the mobile home in which he lived. He had been beaten, strangled and stabbed numerous times, partially decapitated, and his body doused in gasoline and set on fire.  The Baldwin County District Attorney, David Whetstone, stated that Weaver’s sexual orientation was a factor in the crime. He remarked that the brutality involved “is suggestive of overkill, which is not something you see in a regular robbery and murder.” Alabama’s hate crimes statute does not apply to people targeted because of their sexual orientation.  Three people were charged with capital murder and robbery in connection with the crime, two of whom were Weaver’s roommates: Christopher Gaines, aged 20, Nichole Kelsay, aged 18, and Robert Porter, aged 18. Nichole Kelsay had been Weaver’s friend throughout most of his life.  In May 2007, with Judge Langford Floyd presiding, Christopher Gaines pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole; he is serving his sentence at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Porter pleaded guilty to murder and first degree robbery in September 2007, and received two consecutive life sentences;[2] he is serving his sentence at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer. Kelsay pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder.  This crime was featured in Small Town Gay Bar, a 2006 documentary film depicting the difficulties of being gay in the rural South.
Scotty Joe Weaver (March 26, 1986 – July 22, 2004) was an 18-year-old murder victim from Bay Minette, Alabama, whose burned and partially decomposed body was discovered on July 22, 2004, a few miles from the mobile home in which he lived. He had been beaten, strangled and stabbed numerous times, partially decapitated, and his body doused in gasoline and set on fire. The Baldwin County District Attorney, David Whetstone, stated that Weaver’s sexual orientation was a factor in the crime. He remarked that the brutality involved “is suggestive of overkill, which is not something you see in a regular robbery and murder.” Alabama’s hate crimes statute does not apply to people targeted because of their sexual orientation. Three people were charged with capital murder and robbery in connection with the crime, two of whom were Weaver’s roommates: Christopher Gaines, aged 20, Nichole Kelsay, aged 18, and Robert Porter, aged 18. Nichole Kelsay had been Weaver’s friend throughout most of his life. In May 2007, with Judge Langford Floyd presiding, Christopher Gaines pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole; he is serving his sentence at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Porter pleaded guilty to murder and first degree robbery in September 2007, and received two consecutive life sentences;[2] he is serving his sentence at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer. Kelsay pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder. This crime was featured in Small Town Gay Bar, a 2006 documentary film depicting the difficulties of being gay in the rural South.
Steven Craig Damman – Details of Disappearance Steven was last seen at a supermarket in East Meadow, Long Island, New York on October 31, 1955. The establishment was a block and a half from his home; he had gone there with his mother and seven-month-old sister.  Steven’s mother left him and his sister, who was in a carriage, outside the supermarket for about ten minutes while she shopped for bread. When she came out, both children were gone. Steven’s sister was recovered still inside her carriage a few blocks away, but her brother has never been heard from again.  In late November 1955, a student at Queens College in New York City wrote three letters demanding money from Steven’s parents in exchange for the toddler’s safe return. Each letter asked for a larger amount: first $3,000, then $10,000, then $14,000. Steven’s parents attempted to comply, but the student turned out to be an opportunist who had nothing to do with Steven’s presumed abduction.  It was suggested that Steven might be the “Boy in the Box” or “America’s Unknown Child”, a small boy who was found dead inside a cardboard box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1957. They both were blond and blue-eyed and both had the same scars, but the unidentified boy did not have a healed arm fracture as Steven had and Steven’s footprints, taken when he was a baby, did not match the Philadelphia child.  In 2003, the police compared the unidentified boy’s DNA with DNA from Steven’s sister to make sure, and conclusively proved that Steven was not the Boy in the Box. The child remains unidentified in spite of a major investigative effort that continues today.  Steven is originally from Iowa; his father was in the Air Force in 1955 and the family was stationed on Long Island. His father left the Air Force a few months after Steven’s abduction and the family returned to Iowa. His parents divorced in 1957 and both of them later remarried. His father still lives in Iowa and had two sons by his second marriage; his mother now lives in Missouri.  The case received additional media attention in 2009 when a Michigan man claimed he was Steven, but DNA tests ruled out this possibility. There is very little evidence available to indicate Steven’s fate and his case remains unsolved.
Steven Craig Damman – Details of Disappearance Steven was last seen at a supermarket in East Meadow, Long Island, New York on October 31, 1955. The establishment was a block and a half from his home; he had gone there with his mother and seven-month-old sister. Steven’s mother left him and his sister, who was in a carriage, outside the supermarket for about ten minutes while she shopped for bread. When she came out, both children were gone. Steven’s sister was recovered still inside her carriage a few blocks away, but her brother has never been heard from again. In late November 1955, a student at Queens College in New York City wrote three letters demanding money from Steven’s parents in exchange for the toddler’s safe return. Each letter asked for a larger amount: first $3,000, then $10,000, then $14,000. Steven’s parents attempted to comply, but the student turned out to be an opportunist who had nothing to do with Steven’s presumed abduction. It was suggested that Steven might be the “Boy in the Box” or “America’s Unknown Child”, a small boy who was found dead inside a cardboard box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1957. They both were blond and blue-eyed and both had the same scars, but the unidentified boy did not have a healed arm fracture as Steven had and Steven’s footprints, taken when he was a baby, did not match the Philadelphia child. In 2003, the police compared the unidentified boy’s DNA with DNA from Steven’s sister to make sure, and conclusively proved that Steven was not the Boy in the Box. The child remains unidentified in spite of a major investigative effort that continues today. Steven is originally from Iowa; his father was in the Air Force in 1955 and the family was stationed on Long Island. His father left the Air Force a few months after Steven’s abduction and the family returned to Iowa. His parents divorced in 1957 and both of them later remarried. His father still lives in Iowa and had two sons by his second marriage; his mother now lives in Missouri. The case received additional media attention in 2009 when a Michigan man claimed he was Steven, but DNA tests ruled out this possibility. There is very little evidence available to indicate Steven’s fate and his case remains unsolved.
Diane Marie Webb – Diane lived with her parents and siblings in San Bernardino, California until 1959. In March of that year, her family moved to Dolan Springs, Arizona. Diane decided to remain in California with her boyfriend, Bennie Milton Webb, who was then sixteen years old.  She visited her family in Arizona on at least one occasion and stayed for a week. She told her parents she was pregnant and was going to marry Bennie, who was then in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Diane’s father disapproved of the relationship and her pregnancy, but her mother and younger brother traveled to Indio, California to attend her wedding. This was the last time her parents and siblings actually saw her.  For several months after her marriage, Diane wrote letters home. The last letter to her family was mailed on August 22, 1959, her younger sister’s birthday, and included some handkerchiefs Diane had crocheted as a gift.  After this, the letters stopped coming. Sometime in late 1960, over a year later, Bennie wrote a letter to Diane’s family. The letter indicated he thought she was with them in Dolan Springs, and Diane’s parents wrote back to Bennie, asking what had happened.  Bennie replied on January 5, 1961, and said he hadn’t seen or heard from Diane in a very long time. The last time he saw her, he had given her $100 and put her on a bus to come back to her family. Diane wrote him one letter after he last saw her and said she had had a miscarriage. Bennie suggested Diane’s parents contact a female friend of hers in California; he thought her friend might have information as to her whereabouts.  Sometime after Diane disappeared, her father went to Bennie’s hometown of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to see if he could learn anything about her. Bennie’s brother was chief of police at the time. He allegedly threatened Diane’s father and made him leave town.  Bennie is still alive, but he has refused to cooperate with the police or take a polygraph, and says he doesn’t recall ever marrying to Diane. A copy of their marriage certificate is still extant, however.  In August 1961, Diane or someone using her name visited a dentist’s office in California. This is the last sign of her.  The skeletal remains of a young girl were found the Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona in November 1967, and investigators initially believed they were Diane’s and tried to give them to her family. The death was ruled a suicide. Diane’s mother did not believe her daughter would have taken her own life, or that the remains were hers, and she and her husband refused to accept them. In 2013, the bones were exhumed and tested for DNA; they were not Diane’s.  Diane’s parents have died, but her siblings continue to search for her. Her case remains unsolved.
Diane Marie Webb – Diane lived with her parents and siblings in San Bernardino, California until 1959. In March of that year, her family moved to Dolan Springs, Arizona. Diane decided to remain in California with her boyfriend, Bennie Milton Webb, who was then sixteen years old. She visited her family in Arizona on at least one occasion and stayed for a week. She told her parents she was pregnant and was going to marry Bennie, who was then in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Diane’s father disapproved of the relationship and her pregnancy, but her mother and younger brother traveled to Indio, California to attend her wedding. This was the last time her parents and siblings actually saw her. For several months after her marriage, Diane wrote letters home. The last letter to her family was mailed on August 22, 1959, her younger sister’s birthday, and included some handkerchiefs Diane had crocheted as a gift. After this, the letters stopped coming. Sometime in late 1960, over a year later, Bennie wrote a letter to Diane’s family. The letter indicated he thought she was with them in Dolan Springs, and Diane’s parents wrote back to Bennie, asking what had happened. Bennie replied on January 5, 1961, and said he hadn’t seen or heard from Diane in a very long time. The last time he saw her, he had given her $100 and put her on a bus to come back to her family. Diane wrote him one letter after he last saw her and said she had had a miscarriage. Bennie suggested Diane’s parents contact a female friend of hers in California; he thought her friend might have information as to her whereabouts. Sometime after Diane disappeared, her father went to Bennie’s hometown of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to see if he could learn anything about her. Bennie’s brother was chief of police at the time. He allegedly threatened Diane’s father and made him leave town. Bennie is still alive, but he has refused to cooperate with the police or take a polygraph, and says he doesn’t recall ever marrying to Diane. A copy of their marriage certificate is still extant, however. In August 1961, Diane or someone using her name visited a dentist’s office in California. This is the last sign of her. The skeletal remains of a young girl were found the Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona in November 1967, and investigators initially believed they were Diane’s and tried to give them to her family. The death was ruled a suicide. Diane’s mother did not believe her daughter would have taken her own life, or that the remains were hers, and she and her husband refused to accept them. In 2013, the bones were exhumed and tested for DNA; they were not Diane’s. Diane’s parents have died, but her siblings continue to search for her. Her case remains unsolved.
Georgia Jean Weckler – Details of Disappearance Georgia was last seen near her farm home in rural Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin at approximately 3:30 p.m. on May 1, 1947.  A neighbor gave her a ride part of the way home from the Oakland Center school, where she was a third-grader, and dropped her off at the entrance to the half-mile-long driveway leading up to her home. Georgia told the neighbor that she might go into the woods and pick some flowers for a May Day basket before going home.  She and her siblings normally rode their bicycles to school, but it had rained recently and the ground had been muddy, so Georgia’s father drove his children to school the morning of her disappearance. Georgia was released half an hour before her older brother and sister, and found a ride with the neighbor, who had gone to the school to pick up her own child.  The neighbor saw Georgia collect a large bundle of letters from her family’s mailbox and start walking up the driveway, but she never arrived at her house. She has never been heard from again and the mail she was carrying at the time of her disappearance has never been found.  Georgia’s mother was initially not concerned when the child did not arrive home; she assumed Georgia was with her father. The parents began searching at 6:00 p.m. when Georgia’s father arrived at home without his daughter.  Witnesses reported seeing a dark-colored, possibly black, four-door 1936 Ford sedan with a gray plastic spotlight in the vicinity that afternoon. The car vanished at the same time Georgia did, and deep tire tracks were later found on the road, as if a vehicle had pulled out fast. The car was being driven by a blond man, 20 to 25 years old.  This man is the prime suspect in Georgia’s presumed abduction. He has never been identified, though many individuals were questioned over the years. Several witnesses reported seeing a young girl struggling and pleading with a man inside a similar vehicle in Fort Atkinson shortly after Georgia vanished. The child inside the car has not been confirmed to be Georgia, but she closely resembled her.  At first investigators believed Georgia had been kidnapped for ransom, as her father was a public official and a man of means. Days passed and no ransom demands were made, however.  Authorities now believe Georgia was taken by a sexual predator. Curiously, prior to her disappearance, Georgia had made several remarks indicating that she especially feared being kidnapped.  Buford Sennett, a convicted rapist and murderer who had just started serving a life sentence in prison, confessed to Georgia’s murder in the fall of 1947. Photographs of Sennett in 1947 and 1987 are posted with this case summary. He claimed that he and a companion he refused to name had kidnapped her for ransom purposes and given her some sleeping pills and she had accidentally overdosed and died.  Sennett said he had tossed Georgia’s remains into the Blue River near the town of Blue River, Wisconsin. A search of the river turned up no sign of Georgia, however. Some ashes were found in the woods near his former hideout and were subjected to forensic testing, as a woman reported witnessing Sennett burn Georgia’s body. No clues were gained as a result of the testing.  Sennett was never charged in connection with Georgia’s case and police are not certain whether he was involved. He later recanted his confession and afterwards maintained that he had nothing to do with Georgia’s case.  He was paroled in 1974, but arrested again for the sexual assault of two young girls, and in 1987 was sentenced to twenty years in prison. This sentence ran consecutively to the remainder of his 1947 rape/murder sentence, since he violated parole by being rearrested.  Sennett died in a Wisconsin prison in 2008. He was not the only person to confess Georgia’s kidnapping and murder; a number of other individuals, including a convicted murderer from Nebraska, confessed over the years. Nothing could be proven against any of them and most of them later recanted.  Georgia’s case received additional attention ten years after she vanished, in 1957, when authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Edward Theodore Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. A photograph of Gein is posted with this case summary.  Investigators uncovered a gruesome scene at his farm which is still legendary; many body parts and items such as lampshades made from human skin were located. Almost all of them turned out to be from local cemeteries; Gein confessed only to the murders of two tavern keepers. He was declared insane and sent to a mental hospital, where he died in 1984.  Gein is considered a possible suspect in Georgia’s disappearance and also in the disappearance of Evelyn Hartley, who was abducted from La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1953. Neither of them have ever been found. They do not fit the profile for Gein’s known victims; both of the people he killed were middle-aged women. Gein also does not match the description of the man believed to be Georgia’s abductor, but he did own a black 1937 Ford.  Georgia’s disappearance remains unsolved.
Georgia Jean Weckler – Details of Disappearance Georgia was last seen near her farm home in rural Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin at approximately 3:30 p.m. on May 1, 1947. A neighbor gave her a ride part of the way home from the Oakland Center school, where she was a third-grader, and dropped her off at the entrance to the half-mile-long driveway leading up to her home. Georgia told the neighbor that she might go into the woods and pick some flowers for a May Day basket before going home. She and her siblings normally rode their bicycles to school, but it had rained recently and the ground had been muddy, so Georgia’s father drove his children to school the morning of her disappearance. Georgia was released half an hour before her older brother and sister, and found a ride with the neighbor, who had gone to the school to pick up her own child. The neighbor saw Georgia collect a large bundle of letters from her family’s mailbox and start walking up the driveway, but she never arrived at her house. She has never been heard from again and the mail she was carrying at the time of her disappearance has never been found. Georgia’s mother was initially not concerned when the child did not arrive home; she assumed Georgia was with her father. The parents began searching at 6:00 p.m. when Georgia’s father arrived at home without his daughter. Witnesses reported seeing a dark-colored, possibly black, four-door 1936 Ford sedan with a gray plastic spotlight in the vicinity that afternoon. The car vanished at the same time Georgia did, and deep tire tracks were later found on the road, as if a vehicle had pulled out fast. The car was being driven by a blond man, 20 to 25 years old. This man is the prime suspect in Georgia’s presumed abduction. He has never been identified, though many individuals were questioned over the years. Several witnesses reported seeing a young girl struggling and pleading with a man inside a similar vehicle in Fort Atkinson shortly after Georgia vanished. The child inside the car has not been confirmed to be Georgia, but she closely resembled her. At first investigators believed Georgia had been kidnapped for ransom, as her father was a public official and a man of means. Days passed and no ransom demands were made, however. Authorities now believe Georgia was taken by a sexual predator. Curiously, prior to her disappearance, Georgia had made several remarks indicating that she especially feared being kidnapped. Buford Sennett, a convicted rapist and murderer who had just started serving a life sentence in prison, confessed to Georgia’s murder in the fall of 1947. Photographs of Sennett in 1947 and 1987 are posted with this case summary. He claimed that he and a companion he refused to name had kidnapped her for ransom purposes and given her some sleeping pills and she had accidentally overdosed and died. Sennett said he had tossed Georgia’s remains into the Blue River near the town of Blue River, Wisconsin. A search of the river turned up no sign of Georgia, however. Some ashes were found in the woods near his former hideout and were subjected to forensic testing, as a woman reported witnessing Sennett burn Georgia’s body. No clues were gained as a result of the testing. Sennett was never charged in connection with Georgia’s case and police are not certain whether he was involved. He later recanted his confession and afterwards maintained that he had nothing to do with Georgia’s case. He was paroled in 1974, but arrested again for the sexual assault of two young girls, and in 1987 was sentenced to twenty years in prison. This sentence ran consecutively to the remainder of his 1947 rape/murder sentence, since he violated parole by being rearrested. Sennett died in a Wisconsin prison in 2008. He was not the only person to confess Georgia’s kidnapping and murder; a number of other individuals, including a convicted murderer from Nebraska, confessed over the years. Nothing could be proven against any of them and most of them later recanted. Georgia’s case received additional attention ten years after she vanished, in 1957, when authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Edward Theodore Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. A photograph of Gein is posted with this case summary. Investigators uncovered a gruesome scene at his farm which is still legendary; many body parts and items such as lampshades made from human skin were located. Almost all of them turned out to be from local cemeteries; Gein confessed only to the murders of two tavern keepers. He was declared insane and sent to a mental hospital, where he died in 1984. Gein is considered a possible suspect in Georgia’s disappearance and also in the disappearance of Evelyn Hartley, who was abducted from La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1953. Neither of them have ever been found. They do not fit the profile for Gein’s known victims; both of the people he killed were middle-aged women. Gein also does not match the description of the man believed to be Georgia’s abductor, but he did own a black 1937 Ford. Georgia’s disappearance remains unsolved.
Margaret M. Patterson – Details of Disappearance Margaret and her husband William were last seen at their residence in the 3000 block of Piedmont Drive in El Paso, Texas on March 5, 1957. A neighbor came to their home to offer them some Girl Scout cookies and stated Margaret appeared to be very upset and William seemed unhappy that the visitor had come over.  That night neighbors noticed “unusual activity” at their home. They apparently left home during the night or possibly early the next morning, leaving their home in disarray with last night’s dinner dishes unwashed in the sink and clothing lying out on a bed.  The Pattersons left without disconnecting their utilities, instructing the post office to stop or reroute their mail, stopping their newspaper delivery, storing their fur coats, or boarding their pet cat, whom Margaret cherished. The cat wandered away after its owners vanished and was missing for more than four months before it reappeared at their home, malnourished and filthy.  On March 15, the Pattersons’ accountant, Herbert Roth, got a telegram with instructions on how to manage the couple’s assets and their business. The telegram was called in to a Western Union office in Dallas from a pay phone near the Love Field Airport. It was signed “W.H. Patterson”; William’s initials were “W.D. Patterson.”  William ran Patterson Photo Supply, a photography supply store in downtown El Paso. He also had an interest in a high-end boat company, property in the city of Guaymas in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, a boat in his garage, and a Cadillac, in addition to his house.  Roth was told to cancel the hotel reservations the couple had made in Washington D.C. (they had planned to attend a National Photographer’s Association there later that spring), rent out the Pattersons’ home for nine months, sell a mobile home they owned and use the proceeds to support the store, and hire Doyle Kirkland to manage the store.  Kirkland owned a rival business in El Paso, Duffy Photo Service. He also William’s friend and he was the last person to visit their house before the couple vanished.  William was having an affair with 20-year-old Estefana Arroyo Marfin at the time of his disappearance; she lived in Juarez, Mexico. Marfin said she saw him in the early morning hours of March 6, the day after he was last seen in El Paso, and he told her he had some important things to tell her and that “when they come for me, I’ll have to go in a hurry.” She later recanted her statement.  Business associates of the couple told authorities that William and Margaret left for an extended vacation to Florida and later sent word that they wouldn’t be returning. A friend reported them missing on August 15, five months after they were last seen.  None of the Pattersons’ friends and acquaintances could identify any of Margaret’s relatives or anything else about her background. Her six siblings, who all lived in the midwest, were eventually located after her disappearance.  Margaret had been raised on a farm near Owensboro, Kentucky, left home at a young age, and at one point worked as a hostess at the Hotel Vendome in Evansville, Indiana. After her marriage to William she cut herself off from her family, who disapproved of him, and by 1957 they hadn’t heard from her in over twenty years and assumed she was dead.  The Pattersons’ lawyer got a letter after they disappeared, dated May 29, 1957, postmarked Laredo, Texas with no return address. The letter said William and Margaret were leaving the country and would not be returning, and gave instructions on how William wanted his business and other property disposed of.  It was all left to non-relatives, which was surprising, as William’s father and sister were still living at the time and they would be the logical heirs. William left one-quarter shares of his business each to Herbert Roth, Doyle Kirkland, and a 24-year-old employee, Arthur Moreno.  The remaining quarter of the business was to be divided among William’s other employees. Moreno was to be given the Pattersons’ house and furniture, and Kirkland got their vacation cabin, tools, boats and William’s Cadillac.  The letter was typewritten and the handwritten signature read “W.D. Patterson.” Handwriting experts compared the signature with known samples of William’s writing and although it was similar, they found several “discrepancies” and said they couldn’t be sure whether he’d signed the letter.  The document, in any case, had no value as a will because Margaret, who co-owned William’s business, had not signed it and William’s signature had not been witnessed.  An inquest was convened to investigate their disappearances, but it couldn’t come to any conclusion. One witnesses testified at the inquest that he’d lied to friends and said he’d been in touch with William in June 1957; he said he’d done that because William asked him, if he were to ever disappear, to make it sound like he was all right and would return soon.  Kirkland claimed he’d been awakened in the middle of the night of March 5/6 by a call from someone claiming to be William, who said he and Margaret were going away for awhile, but he admitted he’d been so sleepy when he answered the phone that he couldn’t be sure that the voice was really William’s. The Pattersons’ lawyer testified about the letter he’d gotten.  After the couple’s disappearances, William’s father stated his son “made his living doing sleight-of-hand tricks” and had “taken off” before. He claimed he had expected the couple to disappear and thought they were alive. However, after several years passed without his hearing from his son or daughter-in-law, he changed his mind and said he thought William was dead.  There were numerous sightings of Margaret and William in both Mexico and the United States, but none were confirmed.  In 1984, the case was reopened after a witness came forward and said he’d been hired to clean the Pattersons’ home after they went missing and found blood around and underneath the water heater in the garage and a piece of human scalp stuck in the propeller of William’s boat. He said he also saw one of the Pattersons’ associates take bloodstained sheets out of the home and put them in the trunk of a car.  The witness said he didn’t come forward sooner because he was an undocumented immigrant and didn’t want to come to the attention of the authorities. He died in a car accident two years after giving his statement to police, but what he said is still on file. His account has not been confirmed.  William and Margaret were declared legally dead in 1964, but their case was never closed. After their disappearances, it was rumored that the Pattersons’ Piedmont Drive residence was haunted. Their disappearances remain unsolved. Investigating Agency El Paso County Sheriff’s Office 915-538-2291 Source Information The El Paso Times The Doe Network The El Paso Herald-Post Th
Margaret M. Patterson – Details of Disappearance Margaret and her husband William were last seen at their residence in the 3000 block of Piedmont Drive in El Paso, Texas on March 5, 1957. A neighbor came to their home to offer them some Girl Scout cookies and stated Margaret appeared to be very upset and William seemed unhappy that the visitor had come over. That night neighbors noticed “unusual activity” at their home. They apparently left home during the night or possibly early the next morning, leaving their home in disarray with last night’s dinner dishes unwashed in the sink and clothing lying out on a bed. The Pattersons left without disconnecting their utilities, instructing the post office to stop or reroute their mail, stopping their newspaper delivery, storing their fur coats, or boarding their pet cat, whom Margaret cherished. The cat wandered away after its owners vanished and was missing for more than four months before it reappeared at their home, malnourished and filthy. On March 15, the Pattersons’ accountant, Herbert Roth, got a telegram with instructions on how to manage the couple’s assets and their business. The telegram was called in to a Western Union office in Dallas from a pay phone near the Love Field Airport. It was signed “W.H. Patterson”; William’s initials were “W.D. Patterson.” William ran Patterson Photo Supply, a photography supply store in downtown El Paso. He also had an interest in a high-end boat company, property in the city of Guaymas in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, a boat in his garage, and a Cadillac, in addition to his house. Roth was told to cancel the hotel reservations the couple had made in Washington D.C. (they had planned to attend a National Photographer’s Association there later that spring), rent out the Pattersons’ home for nine months, sell a mobile home they owned and use the proceeds to support the store, and hire Doyle Kirkland to manage the store. Kirkland owned a rival business in El Paso, Duffy Photo Service. He also William’s friend and he was the last person to visit their house before the couple vanished. William was having an affair with 20-year-old Estefana Arroyo Marfin at the time of his disappearance; she lived in Juarez, Mexico. Marfin said she saw him in the early morning hours of March 6, the day after he was last seen in El Paso, and he told her he had some important things to tell her and that “when they come for me, I’ll have to go in a hurry.” She later recanted her statement. Business associates of the couple told authorities that William and Margaret left for an extended vacation to Florida and later sent word that they wouldn’t be returning. A friend reported them missing on August 15, five months after they were last seen. None of the Pattersons’ friends and acquaintances could identify any of Margaret’s relatives or anything else about her background. Her six siblings, who all lived in the midwest, were eventually located after her disappearance. Margaret had been raised on a farm near Owensboro, Kentucky, left home at a young age, and at one point worked as a hostess at the Hotel Vendome in Evansville, Indiana. After her marriage to William she cut herself off from her family, who disapproved of him, and by 1957 they hadn’t heard from her in over twenty years and assumed she was dead. The Pattersons’ lawyer got a letter after they disappeared, dated May 29, 1957, postmarked Laredo, Texas with no return address. The letter said William and Margaret were leaving the country and would not be returning, and gave instructions on how William wanted his business and other property disposed of. It was all left to non-relatives, which was surprising, as William’s father and sister were still living at the time and they would be the logical heirs. William left one-quarter shares of his business each to Herbert Roth, Doyle Kirkland, and a 24-year-old employee, Arthur Moreno. The remaining quarter of the business was to be divided among William’s other employees. Moreno was to be given the Pattersons’ house and furniture, and Kirkland got their vacation cabin, tools, boats and William’s Cadillac. The letter was typewritten and the handwritten signature read “W.D. Patterson.” Handwriting experts compared the signature with known samples of William’s writing and although it was similar, they found several “discrepancies” and said they couldn’t be sure whether he’d signed the letter. The document, in any case, had no value as a will because Margaret, who co-owned William’s business, had not signed it and William’s signature had not been witnessed. An inquest was convened to investigate their disappearances, but it couldn’t come to any conclusion. One witnesses testified at the inquest that he’d lied to friends and said he’d been in touch with William in June 1957; he said he’d done that because William asked him, if he were to ever disappear, to make it sound like he was all right and would return soon. Kirkland claimed he’d been awakened in the middle of the night of March 5/6 by a call from someone claiming to be William, who said he and Margaret were going away for awhile, but he admitted he’d been so sleepy when he answered the phone that he couldn’t be sure that the voice was really William’s. The Pattersons’ lawyer testified about the letter he’d gotten. After the couple’s disappearances, William’s father stated his son “made his living doing sleight-of-hand tricks” and had “taken off” before. He claimed he had expected the couple to disappear and thought they were alive. However, after several years passed without his hearing from his son or daughter-in-law, he changed his mind and said he thought William was dead. There were numerous sightings of Margaret and William in both Mexico and the United States, but none were confirmed. In 1984, the case was reopened after a witness came forward and said he’d been hired to clean the Pattersons’ home after they went missing and found blood around and underneath the water heater in the garage and a piece of human scalp stuck in the propeller of William’s boat. He said he also saw one of the Pattersons’ associates take bloodstained sheets out of the home and put them in the trunk of a car. The witness said he didn’t come forward sooner because he was an undocumented immigrant and didn’t want to come to the attention of the authorities. He died in a car accident two years after giving his statement to police, but what he said is still on file. His account has not been confirmed. William and Margaret were declared legally dead in 1964, but their case was never closed. After their disappearances, it was rumored that the Pattersons’ Piedmont Drive residence was haunted. Their disappearances remain unsolved. Investigating Agency El Paso County Sheriff’s Office 915-538-2291 Source Information The El Paso Times The Doe Network The El Paso Herald-Post Th
Audrey Alta Moate – Details of Disappearance Moate was last seen at Frenier Beach, near Laplace, Louisiana on November 24, 1956. That morning, a hunter and his son saw a blue four-door sedan parked five yards from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. A man and woman were in the backseat. They were later identified as Moate and Thomas Hotard.  Three hours later, another hunter noticed the same sedan, and saw Hotard in the backseat in a strange position. The hunter did not investigate. The next day, the first two hunters saw the car again in the same place, and this time they went to check on it.  Hotard’s body was inside the car. He had been shot in the back; someone had pressed a shotgun against the rear window glass and fired. Moate was nowhere to be found and she has never been seen again.  On the ground nearby were the partial contents of a woman’s purse, and female clothing and shoes were found on the floor of the car. Small footprints, as if from a woman’s bare feet, lead from the car into the woods nearby. The prints were spaced far apart, indicating the woman had been running.  Along with the bare footprints were the tracks of a man’s boots. Five feet away from the car, it appeared as if a struggle had taken place and a set of car keys was found on the ground. The footprints ended at a road leading to the main highway, and a single tire track, possibly from a motorcycle, was located.  At the time of her disappearance, Moate was divorced and the single parent of three children. She was employed as a buyer at Kaiser in 1956. Hotard’s and Moate’s families believed the two were only good friends, but in fact they had been having an affair for two years. Hotard was married.  After Moate’s disappearance, her car was found at the cafe where Hotard had picked her up. The keys found at the scene of Hotard’s murder turned out to fit Moate’s car’s ignition.  On December 6, two weeks after Moate’s disappearance, her former mother-in-law received a call from someone identifying herself as Moate. The caller said she was in trouble and needed help, then hung up. It has not been confirmed that the caller was Moate, although her mother-in-law believed she was.  Moate has never been located and Hotard’s killer was never identified. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Audrey Alta Moate – Details of Disappearance Moate was last seen at Frenier Beach, near Laplace, Louisiana on November 24, 1956. That morning, a hunter and his son saw a blue four-door sedan parked five yards from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. A man and woman were in the backseat. They were later identified as Moate and Thomas Hotard. Three hours later, another hunter noticed the same sedan, and saw Hotard in the backseat in a strange position. The hunter did not investigate. The next day, the first two hunters saw the car again in the same place, and this time they went to check on it. Hotard’s body was inside the car. He had been shot in the back; someone had pressed a shotgun against the rear window glass and fired. Moate was nowhere to be found and she has never been seen again. On the ground nearby were the partial contents of a woman’s purse, and female clothing and shoes were found on the floor of the car. Small footprints, as if from a woman’s bare feet, lead from the car into the woods nearby. The prints were spaced far apart, indicating the woman had been running. Along with the bare footprints were the tracks of a man’s boots. Five feet away from the car, it appeared as if a struggle had taken place and a set of car keys was found on the ground. The footprints ended at a road leading to the main highway, and a single tire track, possibly from a motorcycle, was located. At the time of her disappearance, Moate was divorced and the single parent of three children. She was employed as a buyer at Kaiser in 1956. Hotard’s and Moate’s families believed the two were only good friends, but in fact they had been having an affair for two years. Hotard was married. After Moate’s disappearance, her car was found at the cafe where Hotard had picked her up. The keys found at the scene of Hotard’s murder turned out to fit Moate’s car’s ignition. On December 6, two weeks after Moate’s disappearance, her former mother-in-law received a call from someone identifying herself as Moate. The caller said she was in trouble and needed help, then hung up. It has not been confirmed that the caller was Moate, although her mother-in-law believed she was. Moate has never been located and Hotard’s killer was never identified. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Lauren Elizabeth Thompson – Details of Disappearance Thompson was last seen in Rockhill, Texas on January 10, 2019. At 2:04 p.m., she called her mother, sounding frantic. She asked to speak to her children, but they weren’t at home, so she asked her mother to tell her children and her father that she loved them and was sorry. She also stated if she got out of this, she would never use drugs again. Her mother thought she heard a man talking in the background.  At 2:24 p.m., Thompson called 911, sounding disoriented, saying she was in the woods and someone was chasing her and she was being shot at.  The call lasted about twenty minutes before her phone battery died. She has never been heard from again. Police were dispatched to the area, and found Thompson’s car stuck in a ditch just west of Rockhill, off FM 1794. They found no sign of Thompson, however.  Police talked to three people who were with Thompson the day she disappeared. One of them said they had been in the area fishing, and that he had been in the car with Thompson when she got stuck in the ditch. He said he told her he was going to walk home to get another vehicle to pull the car out of the ditch, but she ran off into the woods.  Investigators believe Thompson may have actually been run off the road as opposed to accidentally driving into the ditch; they found paint transfer on her car and on another vehicle. One of the three alleged witnesses is now deceased. Thompson’s case remains unsolved.
Lauren Elizabeth Thompson – Details of Disappearance Thompson was last seen in Rockhill, Texas on January 10, 2019. At 2:04 p.m., she called her mother, sounding frantic. She asked to speak to her children, but they weren’t at home, so she asked her mother to tell her children and her father that she loved them and was sorry. She also stated if she got out of this, she would never use drugs again. Her mother thought she heard a man talking in the background. At 2:24 p.m., Thompson called 911, sounding disoriented, saying she was in the woods and someone was chasing her and she was being shot at. The call lasted about twenty minutes before her phone battery died. She has never been heard from again. Police were dispatched to the area, and found Thompson’s car stuck in a ditch just west of Rockhill, off FM 1794. They found no sign of Thompson, however. Police talked to three people who were with Thompson the day she disappeared. One of them said they had been in the area fishing, and that he had been in the car with Thompson when she got stuck in the ditch. He said he told her he was going to walk home to get another vehicle to pull the car out of the ditch, but she ran off into the woods. Investigators believe Thompson may have actually been run off the road as opposed to accidentally driving into the ditch; they found paint transfer on her car and on another vehicle. One of the three alleged witnesses is now deceased. Thompson’s case remains unsolved.
Francis was last seen in Santa Ana, California on April 9, 1979. He had gone to work that day with his father, Dennis, who delivered water tanks to businesses and private homes.  After Dennis finished work, he left Charles at the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Lyon Street while he went to unload his truck. He didn’t want his boss to find out he’d taken Charles along with him, because children were not allowed to ride in the trucks. Dennis told his son to walk to an address in the 300 block of south Lyon Street and wait to be picked up.  When Dennis went to the designated location ten minutes later, Charles was gone. His father searched the neighborhood for half an hour, then notified the police.  Charles’s parents were fighting over custody of him at the time of his disappearance. His mother had legal custody, but he had lived with Dennis for most of his life. He and his father had traveled from Colorado to California three weeks beforehand, in order for Dennis to attend a custody hearing scheduled for April 26. Authorities looked into the possibility that one of the child’s parents was hiding him, but found no evidence to support this theory.  Convicted child killer James Crummel is the prime suspect in Charles’s disappearance, as well as in the 1995 disappearance of 9-year-old Jack Phillips from Big Bear Lake, California. He was a violent serial sexual abuser a record of child molestation dating back to the 1960s. All but one of his known victims were boys in roughly the same age group as Charles and Jack.  A photo of Crummel is posted with this case summary. In August 1967, he abducted a fourteen-year-old Wisconsin boy, molested him and beat him almost to death. He served five years of a thirty-year sentence for the crime. In 1983, he was convicted of the February 1967 murder of an Arizona boy and sentenced to life in prison, but the conviction was overturned in 1987 because of ineffective counsel. He ended up pleading guilty to kidnapping in the Arizona case and was released later that year.  In 1997, Crummel was charged with the murder of a thirteen-year-old neighbor boy, James Wilfred “Jamey” Trotter. Jamey disappeared in 1979. In 1990, Crummel “discovered” the teen’s skull, but it wasn’t identified until 1996. After his murder arrest, investigators approached Crummel about Jack’s case and he offered to confess to Jack’s murder if prosecutors would not seek the death penalty for the Trotter murder.  The deal was turned down and Crummel was convicted of Jamey Trotter’s murder in 2004 and sentenced to death. In June 2012, he committed suicide on death row by hanging himself with an electric cord. He didn’t leave a note.  Charles is missing under suspicious circumstances and investigators believe he may have met with foul play. His case remains unsolved.
Francis was last seen in Santa Ana, California on April 9, 1979. He had gone to work that day with his father, Dennis, who delivered water tanks to businesses and private homes. After Dennis finished work, he left Charles at the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Lyon Street while he went to unload his truck. He didn’t want his boss to find out he’d taken Charles along with him, because children were not allowed to ride in the trucks. Dennis told his son to walk to an address in the 300 block of south Lyon Street and wait to be picked up. When Dennis went to the designated location ten minutes later, Charles was gone. His father searched the neighborhood for half an hour, then notified the police. Charles’s parents were fighting over custody of him at the time of his disappearance. His mother had legal custody, but he had lived with Dennis for most of his life. He and his father had traveled from Colorado to California three weeks beforehand, in order for Dennis to attend a custody hearing scheduled for April 26. Authorities looked into the possibility that one of the child’s parents was hiding him, but found no evidence to support this theory. Convicted child killer James Crummel is the prime suspect in Charles’s disappearance, as well as in the 1995 disappearance of 9-year-old Jack Phillips from Big Bear Lake, California. He was a violent serial sexual abuser a record of child molestation dating back to the 1960s. All but one of his known victims were boys in roughly the same age group as Charles and Jack. A photo of Crummel is posted with this case summary. In August 1967, he abducted a fourteen-year-old Wisconsin boy, molested him and beat him almost to death. He served five years of a thirty-year sentence for the crime. In 1983, he was convicted of the February 1967 murder of an Arizona boy and sentenced to life in prison, but the conviction was overturned in 1987 because of ineffective counsel. He ended up pleading guilty to kidnapping in the Arizona case and was released later that year. In 1997, Crummel was charged with the murder of a thirteen-year-old neighbor boy, James Wilfred “Jamey” Trotter. Jamey disappeared in 1979. In 1990, Crummel “discovered” the teen’s skull, but it wasn’t identified until 1996. After his murder arrest, investigators approached Crummel about Jack’s case and he offered to confess to Jack’s murder if prosecutors would not seek the death penalty for the Trotter murder. The deal was turned down and Crummel was convicted of Jamey Trotter’s murder in 2004 and sentenced to death. In June 2012, he committed suicide on death row by hanging himself with an electric cord. He didn’t leave a note. Charles is missing under suspicious circumstances and investigators believe he may have met with foul play. His case remains unsolved.