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  1. #31
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    52nd Anniversary

    Just bumping since today, October 24, marks 52 years since Evelyn vanished.

  2. #32
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    interesting

    I post this tentatively because I haven't looked into the case at all yet and have only read a post or two:

    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    About the one and only window being open I'm guessing maybe it was an oversight by the homeowner. I do believe the home was brand new and they had just moved in recently. That is the reason the ground was so muddy.

    Police found pry marks on one of the bedroom windows, so it appears the abductors tried other windows first. Maybe this basement window was accidentally not locked all the way and it wasn't hard to open. . . .
    I watched a TV show on where they hired a burglar to test peoples home security by burgaling their home while they were away(with their permission & knowledge.) One of his favorite tactics was to look for a window that was unlatched, even if it was on an upper floor of a 2 story home. I guess I am wondering if this was done by someone with experience in home breaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    . . .Even though the neighborhood was brand new, like something out of "Leave it to Beaver"--full of young families, bad things can happen anywhere.
    I agree. In fact I believe it was even more likely to happen given the fact that it was a "brand new" neighborhood. I am wondering if it was one of the new families or if this was more something done by someone that was working over the new burglary pickings of a recently built neighborhood. Its almost guaranteed to have stuff worth taking since all things are new.

    And in a new neighborhood that was recently built (if thats the case) I would be looking at who would have been burgling the homes. I don't know whether people should be looking at some local (but not part of that neighborhood)burglars or whether this would have been some part of a more pro bunch that moved around to follow new neighborhood building. I don't have experience in that.

    Was burglary the main objective here or was the perp just someone with burglary in their background? If he had that background but had stepped "up" to bigger crime then he might have a local burglary record.

    I will read more about the case as I still have a couple more questions such as :Where was the home situated? Was it the first home or one of the first homes to be seen if you came into the neighborhood? Was it just the newest? Was there anything to make it a better first choice for a burglary than choosing another home on that date? Who moved them into the home?

    Guess I better go do some reading.

  3. #33
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    Interesting thoughts Docwho3.

    Investigators have looked at all angles of this case, and it seems burglary wasn't the motive, as nothing material was missing. Whoever broke into that house that night seemed intent on getting Evelyn as there was a violent struggle and they seemed determined to get her out of that house and away with them. Maybe at first they had burglary on their mind, then saw this young girl in the house alone and had other ideas. If it was rape, they could have done it right there(not sure if they knew about the baby in the house) but they seemed intent on taking her to another place. As mentioned before, it appears Evelyn fought her attacker(s) and one would think they might have given up at this point as it was getting too hard but it appears they were not going to let her go and they hurt her badly (with all the blood left behind). It is such a mystery, was it for burglary, or rape, did they know Evelyn or were they looking for any young girl, was this a spur of the moment crime or a long thought out one? One of the many things mentioned in the book is Evelyn wasn't this family's usual babysitter, and investigators wonder of the usual babysitter was the supposed target.

    I have been to the neighborhood and the house is near a corner, and at that time since the neighborhood was so new, there were no trees, and gravel roads. It was very stark, and one could have seen the house from a ways away. Today , of course there are trees everywhere and the arealooks quite different than it did 52 years ago. All of the houses were new at that time, so there seemed nothing special about this house.

  4. #34
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    Evelyn Hartley's Doenetwork file:

    Evelyn Hartley
    Missing since October 24, 1953, from La Crosse, Wisconsin
    Classification: Endangered Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: November 21, 1937
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 15 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'7"; 126 lbs.
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Blue eyes; brown, straight hair. Hartley wears eyeglasses, but did not have them on when she disappeared.
    Clothing: She was last seen wearing size 16 red denim White Stag jeans, a size 34 plain white Ship n' Shore blouse, and white bobby socks.

    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Hartley, a 15-year-old Central High School student disappeared October 24, 1953, from the home of a La Crosse State College professor where she was baby-sitting. She was supposed to call her parents during the evening but did not. Her father tried to call several times that day and never got an answer. He became worried and went to the house to check on his daughter.

    Hartley's father found all the windows in the house locked except a basement window in the back. Bloodstains were found around that window and in the grass of the yard, and there was a bloody handprint on the side of the house next door. The furniture inside the living room was disarranged. Hartley's eyeglasses, which were broken, and one of her shoes were on the living room floor. Her other shoe was found in the basement. There was no other trace of Hartley inside the home. The twenty-month-old girl she had been baby-sitting was found unharmed, sleeping in her crib.

    Tracker dogs traced Hartley's scent as far as the street, leading authorities to believe she had been taken away in a car. They believe she disappeared at approximately 7:15 p.m. She never was found though there was an intensive search. It remains one of La Crosse's greatest unsolved mysteries.

    Police suspect Edward Theodore Gein may have been involved in Hartley's case. He was visiting relatives in La Crosse, just blocks from the home where she was babysitting, on the night of her disappearance. In 1957, authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. 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 also considered a possible suspect in the disappearance of Georgia Jean Weckler , who was abducted from from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin in 1947. 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.

    Investigators

    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: La Crosse Police Department 608-785-5962
    Or
    FindEvelynHartley.org Source Information:
    La Crosse Tribune
    FindEvelynHartley.org
    The Charley Project
    Case Updated on: May 28, 2005

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Evelyn Hartley
    Missing since October 24, 1953, from La Crosse, Wisconsin
    Classification: Endangered Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: November 21, 1937
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 15 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'7"; 126 lbs.
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Blue eyes; brown, straight hair. Hartley wears eyeglasses, but did not have them on when she disappeared.
    Clothing: She was last seen wearing size 16 red denim White Stag jeans, a size 34 plain white Ship n' Shore blouse, and white bobby socks.

    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Hartley, a 15-year-old Central High School student disappeared October 24, 1953, from the home of a La Crosse State College professor where she was baby-sitting. She was supposed to call her parents during the evening but did not. Her father tried to call several times that day and never got an answer. He became worried and went to the house to check on his daughter.

    Hartley's father found all the windows in the house locked except a basement window in the back. Bloodstains were found around that window and in the grass of the yard, and there was a bloody handprint on the side of the house next door. The furniture inside the living room was disarranged. Hartley's eyeglasses, which were broken, and one of her shoes were on the living room floor. Her other shoe was found in the basement. There was no other trace of Hartley inside the home. The twenty-month-old girl she had been baby-sitting was found unharmed, sleeping in her crib.

    Tracker dogs traced Hartley's scent as far as the street, leading authorities to believe she had been taken away in a car. They believe she disappeared at approximately 7:15 p.m. She never was found though there was an intensive search. It remains one of La Crosse's greatest unsolved mysteries.

    Police suspect Edward Theodore Gein may have been involved in Hartley's case. He was visiting relatives in La Crosse, just blocks from the home where she was babysitting, on the night of her disappearance. In 1957, authorities in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrested Gein for murdering a local female tavern keeper. 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 also considered a possible suspect in the disappearance of Georgia Jean Weckler , who was abducted from from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin in 1947. 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.

    Investigators

    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: La Crosse Police Department 608-785-5962
    Or
    FindEvelynHartley.org Source Information:
    La Crosse Tribune
    FindEvelynHartley.org
    The Charley Project
    Case Updated on: May 28, 2005
    About the bloody handprint - was LE able to determine whose blood it was? I'm assuming it was Evelyn's, although it could have belonged to one of the kidnappers. She probably put up quite a struggle.

    It appears Evelyn was not a little petite girl (at age 15 wearing a size 16 pants and a size 34 top), so it seems like dragging her through that window definitely would require two people.

    I can understand the perpetrators getting into the house through an unlocked basement window, but why use that same window to carry Evelyn out of the house? Going through the front door would have been much easier. The tracking dogs tracked her scent to the street in front of the house, leading LE to assume she was taken away by car.

    I wonder how dark it was at 7:15 p.m. in the latter part of October? Were there streetlights in that neighborhood?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    About the bloody handprint - was LE able to determine whose blood it was? I'm assuming it was Evelyn's, although it could have belonged to one of the kidnappers. She probably put up quite a struggle.

    It appears Evelyn was not a little petite girl (at age 15 wearing a size 16 pants and a size 34 top), so it seems like dragging her through that window definitely would require two people.

    I can understand the perpetrators getting into the house through an unlocked basement window, but why use that same window to carry Evelyn out of the house? Going through the front door would have been much easier. The tracking dogs tracked her scent to the street in front of the house, leading LE to assume she was taken away by car.

    I wonder how dark it was at 7:15 p.m. in the latter part of October? Were there streetlights in that neighborhood?
    Actually, Evelyn was only 125 pounds and stood at 5 feet 7 inches. I think the sizes were different then. A size 16 wasn't the same as today's size 16. It sounds to me she was tall and slim. I have seen full length pictures of her in the high school yearbooks (copies obtained from LaCrosse Library) and she appears slim.

    About how dark it was, I was just emailing back and forth the other day with the LaCrosse Library and asking what the weather was like that day, time of sunset etc. The newspaper from that day states the evening was fair skies, and a low of 37 degrees. Wisconsin didn't observe daylight savings time until 1957, so the sun set at approx. 4:48pm. So, it must have been quite dark at 7-7:30pm, except there was a full moon that night.

    There were not any streetlights yet, as the neighborhood was still so new.

    In the book, other scenerios are mentioned about how Evelyn was taken out of the house, since taking her out of the basement window doesn't make much sense. On thought was maybe she threw her shoe down into the basement when she heard some noise, and she ran out the front door (with abductors behind her) and the door locked as it shut behind her. She may have been running towards the side of the house when she was pummeled by the abductors as they struck her, most likely her head, due to all that blood. The blood trail led across back yards and stopped at a street in front of a house that was sort of kiddy-corner to the back of the house she was babystting at. So she was dragged through backyards and past garages and houses before supposedly put into a car. They do believe the blood on the house was Evelyn's.

    In the book it mentions a man who was driving past the house around 7:15 (on his way to pick up his brother in law )and saw two men supporting a woman who was staggering through the yards. He dismissed it as people partying as it was the college homecoming that night(Actually, that is where the family who Evelyn was babysitting for was, at the game). A few minutes later he saw the same people in a car passing by him (still in the neighborhhood) and one of the men was in the backseat with the woman and she seemed to be leaning forward. This witness is still alive today wand was interviewed in the book. He remembers the night clearly and wishes he would have thought more about what he had seen but of course didn't think much of it until he had heard the next day about Evelyn vanishing.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    Actually, Evelyn was only 125 pounds and stood at 5 feet 7 inches. I think the sizes were different then. A size 16 wasn't the same as today's size 16. It sounds to me she was tall and slim. I have seen full length pictures of her in the high school yearbooks (copies obtained from LaCrosse Library) and she appears slim.

    About how dark it was, I was just emailing back and forth the other day with the LaCrosse Library and asking what the weather was like that day, time of sunset etc. The newspaper from that day states the evening was fair skies, and a low of 37 degrees. Wisconsin didn't observe daylight savings time until 1957, so the sun set at approx. 4:48pm. So, it must have been quite dark at 7-7:30pm, except there was a full moon that night.

    There were not any streetlights yet, as the neighborhood was still so new.
    Thanks so much for that information. I figured there probably were no streetlights in this new neighborhood. Without many trees, however, the full moon probably made it light enough to see where you were going.

    I didn't realize that sizes were different in Evelyn's day, I appreciate you pointing that out to me.

    So Evelyn was pretty tall for a 15 year old girl. I wonder if someone watching her might have thought she was older?

    It's just hard to figure out how/why she was targeted. Was there any investigation of the family she was babysitting for? I wonder if someone might have had some grudge against them.

  8. #38
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    more info

    Good resource page!
    This leads to actual pictures of the newspaper reports of the day.
    If you magnify these you can actually read the reports of the time.
    I found this very helpful.
    http://lplcat.lacrosse.lib.wi.us/dig...ct/hartley.htm


    Also,since someone mentioned ED Gein, I found s site about Ed Geines that mentions that although it was '57 before the law officially knew much about him they are sure his first victem(that they know of) was in '51 or '52 or maybe as early as '47
    http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k.../vanish_4.html

    Also since there was some speculation about the shoe print showing possible link to a whizzer motorbike here is some links about the bike
    Whizzer bike current pic:
    http://www.extreme-scooters.com/whizzerindex.htm
    Whizzer website
    http://www.geocities.com/whizzer_17044/main.html
    New AND old whizzer pics
    http://www.geocities.com/whizzer_17044/images/

  9. #39
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    Evelyn's case file on The Charley Project:

    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/...ey_evelyn.html

    For those of you interested in this case I again highly recommend the new book "Where's Evelyn?". It is a self published book and can be bought by contacting Susan Hessel (author) at shessel3248@charter.net

    It includes a chapter about some new clues that have come to light in the past few years. Law Enforcement has investigated these new clues but are so backed up with currect cases that Evelyn's cold case is on the backburner which is frustrating. The new clues are basically a tape recording that has come to light of some men talking in a bar in 1968 and one of the men(now deceased) is practically admitting he was involved in Evelyn's disappearance and that she is buried in such and such a location near LaFarge, Wi. I'm not sure if that exact location is known though. The book mentions that even if the location is someday found, there is no guarantee Evelyn is still there. Due to passage of time, the fact that she may not have been buried very deep and what animals can do, and the fact that the area has had flood problems though the years. I do hope if they ever find the location, maybe something will still be there and they can identify her. The idea of her still being alive and suffering from amnesia has been discussed, but is highly unlikely. It is sadly believed who ever took her that night murdered her and disposed of her body somewhere in the wilderness.

    The LaCrosse Tribune website has several recent articles on this case. if you go their site just put Evelyn Hartley in the archive search and many of these articles will come up, including one about this tape recorder "confession".

  10. #40
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    Thanks joellegirl and docwho3 for the links.

    The Crime Library mentions that Ed Gein may have killed Evelyn, but I agree with other posters on this thread - it just doesn't seem likely.

    I have a question that someone might be able to answer - had Evelyn ever babysat for the family in that house before? I wonder how she was referred to them.


  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    Thanks joellegirl and docwho3 for the links.

    The Crime Library mentions that Ed Gein may have killed Evelyn, but I agree with other posters on this thread - it just doesn't seem likely.

    I have a question that someone might be able to answer - had Evelyn ever babysat for the family in that house before? I wonder how she was referred to them.
    Yes,it is believed Evelyn had babysat for them once before, in the summer of 1953. I can't remember where I read this (I think in the new book) so I'm not 100 percent sure.

    Evelyn's father, Richard Hartley, and the family she was babysitting for, the Viggo Rasmusens, knew each other as both men were professors at the University of LaCrosse. The Rasmusens were at the homecoming game with
    their 7 year old daughter, while leaving Evelyn in charge of their
    20 month old daughter.

    Whenever something tragic happens to someone, we always here how wonderful and perfect they were that we often think all these people couldn't have been so nice. But in Evelyn's case is appears true. She was an honor student, daughter of a professor, third of four children in a respectable family. She was involved in many activities in school, yet was quiet and a bit shy, yet dependable and mature. She played the piano, liked sports. She had some close friends, one who was interviewed for the book. This best friend still gets emotional when thinking of what happened to her friend.

    So I don't think Evelyn had some dark side that led to her abduction. She did not appear to be some wild girl with lots of boyfriends. Just your typical straight A girl with glasses, who was nice yet kind of shy, but very involved in her high school experience.

    No one could think of anything bad to say about her.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    Yes,it is believed Evelyn had babysat for them once before, in the summer of 1953. I can't remember where I read this (I think in the new book) so I'm not 100 percent sure.

    Evelyn's father, Richard Hartley, and the family she was babysitting for, the Viggo Rasmusens, knew each other as both men were professors at the University of LaCrosse. The Rasmusens were at the homecoming game with
    their 7 year old daughter, while leaving Evelyn in charge of their
    20 month old daughter.

    Whenever something tragic happens to someone, we always here how wonderful and perfect they were that we often think all these people couldn't have been so nice. But in Evelyn's case is appears true. She was an honor student, daughter of a professor, third of four children in a respectable family. She was involved in many activities in school, yet was quiet and a bit shy, yet dependable and mature. She played the piano, liked sports. She had some close friends, one who was interviewed for the book. This best friend still gets emotional when thinking of what happened to her friend.

    So I don't think Evelyn had some dark side that led to her abduction. She did not appear to be some wild girl with lots of boyfriends. Just your typical straight A girl with glasses, who was nice yet kind of shy, but very involved in her high school experience.

    No one could think of anything bad to say about her.
    I certainly never thought there was a dark side to Evelyn that caused her to become a victim. It doesn't sound like she was the type of person to associate with any "unsavory" characters.

    I wish I could figure out why they brought her out through the basement window instead of the front door. There has to be a good reason, as the basement window exit would have been much more difficult than exiting through the front door to their waiting car.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    I certainly never thought there was a dark side to Evelyn that caused her to become a victim. It doesn't sound like she was the type of person to associate with any "unsavory" characters.

    I wish I could figure out why they brought her out through the basement window instead of the front door. There has to be a good reason, as the basement window exit would have been much more difficult than exiting through the front door to their waiting car.
    Oh, I know you weren't thinking of a dark side. I was just mentioning it as it has come up before wondering if she had some boyfriend over etc(not that that is a bad thing usually).

    I added to one of my earlier posts(where I was describing her height and weight) and I mentioned how the book has scenerios about why she may have beem taken out of the house in a way different from the basement window. I guess the window theory is mainly because one of her shoes was found in the basement, and her blood was outside on the ground,and of course the window was opened and all the other windows and doors locked.

    I agree it does not make sense to exit through the basement window. There must be more to it that we may never know.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by joellegirl
    Oh, I know you weren't thinking of a dark side. I was just mentioning it as it has come up before wondering if she had some boyfriend over etc(not that that is a bad thing usually).

    I added to one of my earlier posts(where I was describing her height and weight) and I mentioned how the book has scenerios about why she may have beem taken out of the house in a way different from the basement window. I guess the window theory is mainly because one of her shoes was found in the basement, and her blood was outside on the ground,and of course the window was opened and all the other windows and doors locked.

    I agree it does not make sense to exit through the basement window. There must be more to it that we may never know.
    I'm going to order that book when I get some "spare" money, it sounds interesting.

    The other theories for how Evelyn wound up outside the house are feasible. Do you know if the doors in that house locked automatically when they were closed? If they did, then it's possible that Evelyn ran outside and the door locked behind her. If they didn't, then I don't see how the door became locked.

    It sounds like the man driving by at 7:15 actually saw the abduction taking place. Certainly if these were people innocently helping an intoxicated friend, they would have come forward after the news of Evelyn's disappearance became known.

  15. #45
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    I'm not sure if anyone knows what the doors were like. I would think there should be something in the police files as they usually investigate all the little details. I doubt the doors did that though, unless it was a freak thing or the abductors stopped to lock the door on their way out which is unlikely.


    I agree, I think the man driving by did see Evelyn being abducted.

    I guess you could call this my top "cold case" as it is the first one I learned about way back when I was around 11-12 years old. My father was growing up in LaCrosse at the time it happened and I learned about the case from him and my grandmother both who, like most LaCrosse residents who were there at the time, remember the aftermath very well. This is why we are in LaCrosse once or twice a year, visiting family. I always take the time to drive by that house. It just looks so normal. Hard to believe what occured there. Of course that is how it is with all the cases we discuss here-scary things happening in places that seem so normal and safe.

    Cases that are a close 2nd with me are the Lyons sisters,Beverly Potts, Janice Pockett...

    I am surprised that the La Crosse Tribune makes no mention of the case in today's paper.. Maybe it is because they just did an article in August when Evelyn's graduating class had it's 50th reunion and about the book coming up.

    Her abduction has become a part of LaCrosse lore and legend, with just about everone knowing about the case, even if they weren't around then. And the ones who were there remember what they were doing and how it affects them to this day.

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