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  1. #1
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    OH - "The Red Shoe Mystery" - Lola Celli, 24, Grandview Heights, Feb 1946

    Lola Celli
    Missing since February 1946 from Grandview Heights, Franklin County, Ohio
    Classification: Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: about 1922
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 24 years old
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. She was conversant in five languages at the time of her disappearance.
    Clothing: Celli had been wearing a pair of red suede Cuban heels.
    Other: She was a Logan County teacher at the time of her disappearance.

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Celli was last seen leaving the home of her parents in Grandview Heights, Ohio in February 1946 to go shopping.

    Some would come to know the case as "The Red Shoe Mystery" after a motorist claimed to have seen Celli arguing with a man in a car along Olentangy River Road shortly after she disappeared from Grandview Heights. During the spat, a red shoe was tossed or fell out of the vehicle, the motorist said. That piqued police curiosity; Celli had been wearing a pair of red suede Cuban heels. But no shoe was ever found.
    Celli had been gone only a year when a cryptic missive suggested she might have been the first of a serial killer’s victims. The note, created with mismatched type styles cut from magazine headlines, warned: "You dumb fools, I want a corpse, a girl’s blood cadaver to kiss and cut up. Get to me before it is too late."

    Among the items in the Grandview Heights file is a Dispatch society-page clipping from several years after the Celli case broke. The new-bride photos include the picture of a woman said to be "Miss Bernice Scherr." Yet, it was Lola Celli, the very image newspapers across Ohio ran after her disappearance. When that picture was published it stirred up the case all over again.

    The Celli file is now as thick as the Columbus White Pages, and is still an open case at The Grandview Heights Police Department.

    Investigators
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Grandview Heights Police Department Detective Carol Harper 614-488-7901


    Source Information:
    The Columbus Dispatch
    The Doe Network: Case File 1900DFOH

    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1900dfoh.html
    Last edited by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed; 04-30-2010 at 11:55 PM. Reason: updated doe network link

  2. #2
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    Apr 2005
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    Five years after the disappearance, Police Chief Robert Livingston made the statement that he felt the "Miss Celli is still alive".

    Ten years after the disappearance, in August of '56, Livingston told reporters that the case had been closed, based on statements from the Marshal of neighboring Marble Cliffs, John Guy. Livingston stated that Guy had told him that he knew where Celli was living, but that he would "not break a confidence" and reveal her whereabouts. Guy himself was not available for comment. The mayor of Grandview stated that Livingston should close the case if he was satisfied with Guy's word.

    In September, Guy returned from vacation and told reporters that his statements had been greatly exxagerated. He stated that "to my knowledge, I have neverseen Lola Celli either before or after she disappeared". He stated that he had "heard some things" in the previous months that "may materialize in the coming months" in regard to the case.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    I don't understand. What do they mean by the new bride was Celli, but then they say that she is missing? Maybe it just looked like her.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2005
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    Ohio
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    I interpret it as it was a picture of Lola Celli that they had, by accident or design, but in the place of the bride's picture. It's hard to tell, though. I wish I could read the article they copied it from, to put it in context.

    It reminds me of something that happened back in the early forties, when a magazine published a picture of a screaming, scowling thoroughly evil-looking baby and said it was Adolf Hitler's baby picture. It turned out to be retouched baby picture of a kid from Cleveland. No one knows how the magazine came by it or when they decided it was Adolf Hitler or anything.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by meggilyweggily
    I interpret it as it was a picture of Lola Celli that they had, by accident or design, but in the place of the bride's picture. It's hard to tell, though. I wish I could read the article they copied it from, to put it in context.

    It reminds me of something that happened back in the early forties, when a magazine published a picture of a screaming, scowling thoroughly evil-looking baby and said it was Adolf Hitler's baby picture. It turned out to be retouched baby picture of a kid from Cleveland. No one knows how the magazine came by it or when they decided it was Adolf Hitler or anything.
    I believe that your interpretation is correct. I do not have the source paper, but that is also the way I understood the write-up. It was likely a mistake in which the real bride photo got accidently switched with that of Lola Celli.

    In regard to your story about the crying baby: I had not seen that particular photo, but I would think that it was either published by Life Magazine - or done as a spoof about a regular feature that Life used to publish. It was Life's practice in the late 1930's and early 40's to publish photos of smiling babies. Sometimes, they would publish baby photos of persons who were in the news at the time. And sometimes they would "spoof" themselves about it.

    As an example, I have a copy of Life dated 11 April 1938. On the last page was a baby photo of Paul V. McNutt - at the time High Commissioner of the Philippines. On that same page were three photos of crying babies which had been sent in by a reader who complained that Life showed too many pictures of smiling babies and he wanted to correct the wrong impression that the magazine was giving, "since the average child spends most of its waking time bawling about one thing or another."

  6. #6
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    Sep 2004
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    Vital Statistics Updated...

    Lola Celli
    Missing since February 1946 from Grandview Heights, Franklin County, Ohio
    Classification: Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: about 1922
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 24 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'4"
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Black hair; brown eyes.
    Clothing: A gray fur coat, gray hat, aqua dress trimmed in red and red suede Cuban heels.
    Other: She was a Logan County teacher at the time of her disappearance. She was conversant in five languages at the time.

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Celli was last seen leaving the home of her parents in Grandview Heights, Ohio in February 1946 to go shopping.

    A motorist claimed to have seen Celli arguing with a man in a car along Olentangy River Road shortly after she disappeared from Grandview Heights. During the spat, a red shoe was tossed or fell out of the vehicle, the motorist said. That piqued police curiosity; Celli had been wearing a pair of red suede Cuban heels. But no shoe was ever found.

    Celli had been gone only a year when a cryptic missive suggested she might have been the first of a serial killer’s victims.

    Among the items in the Grandview Heights file is a Dispatch society-page clipping from several years after the Celli case broke. The new-bride photos include the picture of a woman said to be "Miss Bernice Scherr." Yet, it was Lola Celli, the very image newspapers across Ohio ran after her disappearance. When that picture was published it stirred up the case all over again.

    Investigators
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: Grandview Heights Police Department Detective Carol Harper 614-488-7901

    Source Information:
    The Columbus Dispatch
    The Doenetwork.org

  7. #7
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    Apr 2005
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    I'm just bumping this up. I just ran across this while researching something else (as usual) and found it interesting.

    One thing I found of interest is the fact that a couple of days after Lola Celli disappeared, the husband and son of her parents' next-door-neighbor also disappeared. If this is true, I wonder if any serious investigation was done to see whether there was a connection. Perhaps Lola left first, and the man and his son left a couple of days later to meet her???

    Another item of interest - the wedding picture in the paper, which was supposedly Miss Bernice Scherr but was Lola's picture. I assume this was just a mistake, but I was unable to find anything clarifying the mistake.

    The message from someone indicating Lola may have been his victim doesn't seem to ring true to me - more likely just someone wanting to garner attention. But who knows?

    I'd love to hear what others think about this, maybe something knew has arisen since the last posts almost a year ago.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2004
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    New england
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    when brides were to be married back then did they just show the bride in the paper? or was the groom also in the picture reason i ask is they said her picture was in the paper for a wedding annoucment so i assume the paper got the pictures mixed up or she was alone in the picture. i wonder who the man was she married maybe we could start a search with that name?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smile22
    when brides were to be married back then did they just show the bride in the paper? or was the groom also in the picture reason i ask is they said her picture was in the paper for a wedding annoucment so i assume the paper got the pictures mixed up or she was alone in the picture. i wonder who the man was she married maybe we could start a search with that name?
    I don't believe the article I read mentioned the groom's name, just the bride's name. I think more than likely only the bride's picture appeared in the paper. Like you, I assume the photos just got mixed up, but I'm not sure just how that might have happened.

  10. #10
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    Here's another question. Lola apparently left her parents' house to go shopping. I wonder if she was driving, walking, or taking public transportation? No mention is made of finding her car, so I'm assuming she was not driving.

    Anyone know the answer? Thanks. I intend to check some newspaper archives for more info, but won't have time for that until this weekend, so until then I'm just throwing out ideas \.


  11. #11
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    Aug 2005
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    The South, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by meggilyweggily
    I interpret it as it was a picture of Lola Celli that they had, by accident or design, but in the place of the bride's picture. It's hard to tell, though. I wish I could read the article they copied it from, to put it in context.

    It reminds me of something that happened back in the early forties, when a magazine published a picture of a screaming, scowling thoroughly evil-looking baby and said it was Adolf Hitler's baby picture. It turned out to be retouched baby picture of a kid from Cleveland. No one knows how the magazine came by it or when they decided it was Adolf Hitler or anything.
    Hitler baby photo here.

    As to the missing woman, what an odd story. I'd like to read more about it.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2005
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    From a "60th anniversary" story about Lola Celli in the Columbus Dispatch:



    -snip-

    A decade after the disappearance, a Franklin County Court bailiff said Celli had simply run away with her lover, to escape a strict and overbearing family, and was happily residing "within a 300-mile radius of Columbus." He later recanted.

    In 1949, a California woman who had been a neighbor of the Cellis reported that her husband and 4-yearold son had gone missing a few days after Celli was last seen. Nothing came of her contention that her errant husband and Celli might have been secret lovers.
    -snip-

    The article also mentions that the case file on Lola's disappearance is as thick as the white pages of a phone book, so obviously a lot of investigation went into this case.

    The Franklin County Court baliff's comments about Celli running away with her lover to escape a "strict and overbearing family" make me wonder if he knew something, or was just voicing his opinion. Since he later recanted, I'm thinking the latter.

    But I'm still wondering about the neighbor's husband and son missing a few days after Lola vanished. It seems like the odds of three people from the same street disappearing within days of each other would be pretty high, especially if the disappearances were not related to each other in some way. Could the missing husband be a secret lover, or perhaps a secret killer?

  13. #13
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    Apr 2005
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    Need help from my fellow "sleuths"

    I am still researching the disappearance of Lola Celli, and need some help from you guys.

    One area that I need to look into further is Lola's family life. She was from a close-knit Italian Catholic family, with a younger brother and a younger sister. Lola was a teacher, and apparently came home every weekend to be with her family. She was single, and her parents knew of no boyfriend.

    Although I have done considerable research on life in the 1940's, I have some questions for those of you of Italian heritage:

    1. Would her parents have pressured her to find a man and get married? She was in her 20s and was an attractive woman. Remember that she vanished in 1946, so we're dealing with what the family values would have been in those days.

    2. Would her parents have accepted a non-Italian and/or non-Catholic boyfriend for Lola?

    3. Is there anything specific to an Italian family that a non-Italian might need to know in order to understand the family dynamics?

    I would appreciate anyone with knowledge of the above to send me a private message. I would like to contact you directly, either by phone or e-mail, to discuss this.

  14. #14
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    In addition to the request I posted previously, I would also like to hear from anyone who grew up in the Grandview Heights, Ohio area (or Columbus, Ohio, for that matter), especially if you remember what it was like there in the 1940s.

    Thanks very much!

  15. #15
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    Apr 2005
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    Updated information on Lola Celli

    I had the privilege of talking to Lola's niece last night, who was able to tell me many things I didn't know about Lola. Later this week I will be talking to Lola's only remaining sibling, who was just 14 years old at the time Lola disappeared.

    One interesting thing I learned was that Lola was born in Italy. I knew her parents were immigrants, but for some reason had assumed the children were born in the U.S. Both Lola and her brother Felice ("Felix") spoke no English when the arrived in this country. They were put in the same grade at school, even though Lola was a year older. Lola and her brother became excellent students and were exceptionally bright. Her brother went on to get his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

    With regard to Lola's disappearance, the family was truly at a loss to explain it. They felt from the beginning that Lola had been kidnapped, because she was not the type of person to cause her family any worries. They were very close knit - in fact, the first time Lola lived away from home was when she started teaching in West Mansfield, Ohio. But she came home to visit every weekend.

    It appears that many of the stories reported over the years were less than factual, which added to the family's anguish. There were the usual reported sightings that never panned out, and tips that led nowhere. Ten years after her disappearance, it was reported that her case would be closed because the marshal of the neighboring town claimed that he knew Lola was alive and well and living "within 300 miles of Columbus." He later claimed his statements were exaggerated, but hinted that he knew something that might "materialize" later on. Nothing else was heard in regard to this.

    This has been called the "red shoe" mystery because a motorist reportedly saw a woman fighting with the driver of a red couple, and a red shoe fell out of the window. The description of the shoe was similar to what Lola was wearing (red with "Cuban" heels). Unfortunately, the police were never able to locate the shoe, so that possible lead was lost.

    I'll post more information later.

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