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Thread: WI - Evelyn Hartley: Vanished While Babysitting, 15, La Crosse, 24 Oct 1953

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    WI - Evelyn Hartley: Vanished While Babysitting, 15, La Crosse, 24 Oct 1953

    Hi, I mentioned Evelyn in my "Cold Cases That Haunt Me Thread" but here are some more links:

    http://www.findevelynhartley.org

    http://www.lacrossetribune.com/artic...s/02second.txt

    The second link talks about a man who has come forward with a tape recording done in a bar in 1968, where a man says he and another man killed Evelyn. I am wondering why the man who had the tape didn't say something in 1968. I know these men could have been lying, but again there could be some truth to the story. It has always been suspected that Evelyn's abductors took her south out of LaCrosse on Rt 14. Clothes believed to be Evelyn's and the jacket and shoes of one of the abductors were tossed aside that road. And the town that the men mention on the tape-LaFarge- is in that direction. I and my family were in LaCrosse recently to visit relatives and I was talking with a local woman there who said she heard on the news that this story is really being seriously looked into and it is offering new clues (like the article says). I believe both of the men are dead now so we may never know the total truth or where they buried Evelyn.I'm guessing the authors who are writing Evelyn"s story are saving some of the new findings for the book, which I hope comes out soon. Of course if something big happens like solving this case I'm sure it will be on the news right away! So I ask my relatives often and check the LaCrosse Tribune online. I'm not sure if Evelyn's parents are still alive (Evelyn would be 65-almost 66 now) but I believe at least one of her siblings-a younger sister- is still alive. I sure hope this poor family can finally have some closure.
    Last edited by CarlK90245; 10-21-2012 at 02:59 PM.

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    In newspaper archives there was a POW returned from war recently when Evelyn went missing. When questioned, he said he "found a companion" that night... went to drive in... last time he saw her she was walking down the street.

    I'm still digging into more papers but why would this guy not be looked into more. That's all the article said.


    Cannot find where police looked into this guy further. A witness had said she saw him and someone looking like Evelyn with him that night.

    Now, reading another article from 1963... 10 years later something suspicious pops out of the article. Her father, a bio professor went "looking" for his daughter when she didn't come home from babysitting. He found the 20 month old baby sleeping and the living room in disarray. Well, how would he know she was "gone" if no one got home yet to find anything. Why would he go looking for his daughter when she wasn't missing. Then he tells reporters he doesn't want to talk about it and bring it up anymore as he has 2 other children and they're (him and his wife) doing their best to raise them.

    GOD, I'd be begging the media to make more stories. Back then, this wasn't as big news as things are today.

    hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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    Evelyn

    Quote Originally Posted by blueclouds
    In newspaper archives there was a POW returned from war recently when Evelyn went missing. When questioned, he said he "found a companion" that night... went to drive in... last time he saw her she was walking down the street.

    I'm still digging into more papers but why would this guy not be looked into more. That's all the article said.


    Cannot find where police looked into this guy further. A witness had said she saw him and someone looking like Evelyn with him that night.

    Now, reading another article from 1963... 10 years later something suspicious pops out of the article. Her father, a bio professor went "looking" for his daughter when she didn't come home from babysitting. He found the 20 month old baby sleeping and the living room in disarray. Well, how would he know she was "gone" if no one got home yet to find anything. Why would he go looking for his daughter when she wasn't missing. Then he tells reporters he doesn't want to talk about it and bring it up anymore as he has 2 other children and they're (him and his wife) doing their best to raise them.

    GOD, I'd be begging the media to make more stories. Back then, this wasn't as big news as things are today.

    hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Actualy, those articles are leaving out key points. The reason Evelyn's father went looking for her was that whenever she babysat, she would call home an hour later to let her parent's know she was ok. When she didn't call, her parents got worried and the father went to the house to check on her. When he arrived and there was no answer on the door, he walked around the house and saw a basement window opened. What he found inside were obvious signs of a struggle-- his daughter shoes and glasses on the floor and mud.. He called police and whn they arrived the found pools of blood outside the basement window. Her father actually did take a lie dectector test to clear himself, and he was at the police station practically every day for months after Evelyn vansihed hoping to get some answers. Perhaps the article from the 1960's was when he had given up hope and didn't want to talk about it anymore.

    I've never heard of the POW story but I don't think he had anything to do with it.From the evidence at the crime scene, Evelyn was in no condition to be out with a man at a drive in and walk home. Evelyn arrived to babysit at 6:45pm that night(actually the father of the baby picked her up and drove her over-he and his wife were family friends), and the mom instructed her to put the baby down at 7pm and cover her 15 minutes later. Then they left to attend the college homecoming game.Evelyn was the kind of teen who could be trusted to do as she was instructed. Eveyln's abduction is believed to have occured between 7-7:15pm because the baby was found "uncovered" and neighbors did hear screams at that time but dismissed it as children playing. Another witness came forward saying he was driving past the home at about that time and saw a man waking with a young woman and that the woman was staggering and he was supporting her. He just thought it was some people who did too much partying. A few moments later he saw who he believed to be the same couple in the backseat of a car with the woman leaning forward and another man in the front seat. It is believed that who ever took Evelyn broke in the basement window, surprised her in the livingrom where a struggle ensued explaining the mud on the floor, one of Evelyn's shoe and her glasses. He supposedly dragged her downstairs where her other shoe fell off and out the open window where the other man gave her a blow to the head causing heavy bleeding The next morning a trail of blood was found for a couple of blocks and stopped at the street, which explains the man dragging the woman who was staggering to the waiting car. A massive search began for her and draged on from months. Citizens-mainly teenage boys came in droves to volunteering take lie detector test just to clear themselves and help narrow down the search. I guess hearing this story all of my life from relatives who lived in LaCrosse when it happened, I truly believe Evelyn was take against her will by two total strangers that must have decided to lurk in that new subdivsion that night to see what they could find, and saw a young girl through the window who appeared to be alone and decided to take her and do harm. Her family was completely heartsick, patricipated in the searches etc, but did eventually move away.

    Blueclouds, where did you find that article from the 1960s? Id like to read it. Thanks for your post-I hope explained the story better to you, especialy why her father went looking for her that night.

    The book "Getting Away With Murder" by Ed Baumann has a very detaled account of this entire case. It was evident Evelyn was badly injured and take aganst her will. I actually drove past the house where this happened recently, and it is your typical 50's style ranch subdivision. Hard to believe such horrible thing happened there.

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    I meant to add that when the parents got worried that she didn't call, they tried many times calling her but got no answer. They waited some more, trying not to worry and then the father decided to take a drive and check on her. His daughter missing, the baby alone, and the open window, her shoes and glasses and mud on the floor prompted him to call the police. Because it was dark he didn't see the blood outside, but the police saw it when they shined their flashlights by the open basement window. The mud on the carpet and the footprints outside did match the mud on the shoes found along the highway. If I am rambling please forgive me-it is quite late here. I hope this helps.

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    I have found them on the www.newspaperarchive.com there is a free 2 week sign up to check out the articles if you want. They will charge you after the 2 weeks though, so you need to inform them prior to that NOT to charge you if you don't want the yearly subscription to the site. If you don't have credit card, I can email you the articles or post them on a private site as I'm not allowed to "distribute" them. Copyright laws but you could see them privately. Let me know, PM me or leave a message here or try to read them yourself. There are a lot of articles on there so you could read more info. I, myself have not even got through all of them about Evelyn.

    Thanks for the input with the dad. Journalists print what they like and not knowing all the background can make some comments suspicious.

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    Thanks for the link about the articles blueclouds! I will start readng tomorrow!

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    what always struck me in this case was that the baby was never harmed, my answer is why? i guess they didnt want to touch the baby, i do hope that they find her body, its so sad if her parents were alive they would be in their what 80s 90s

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    Evelyn

    Yes, it is a miracle the 20 month old toddler was not harmed. I've read that her family and she herself believe it was a miracle. I'm guessing the abductors didn't know there was a child in the house, or because the child slept through the whole thing and didn't interrupt they didn't harm her.Or maybe they had no desire to deal with a toddler, they just wanted Evelyn. I have read that that family(who Evelyn was babysitting for) did remain in LaCrosse but moved to a different house, and the Hartley family appears to have stayed in the LaCrosse area until the early 1970's. It appears Evelyn's father has died, but not sure about her mother. She had an older brother and a younger sister as well, and even another older brother who died of polio before Evelyn was abducted.. That poor family, lost one child to disease and another to (most likely) murder.

    Just posting again as it is not showing up on the thread
    Last edited by joellegirl; 07-07-2004 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Isn't appearing on thread

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    Evelyn

    I'm posting this again as my first post isn't showing up.

    Yes, it is a miracle that the 20 month old toddler was not harmed. I have read that her family and she herself are still amazed she wasn't harmed. I'm guessing that the abdcutors didn't know there was a toddler in the house, or because she slept through the whole thing and didn't interrupt, they didn't bother with her. Or maybe they just ddn't want to deal with a toddler, they just wanted Evelyn.

    The family that Evelyn was sitting for moved to another house but did remain in LaCrosse. From what I've read the Hartley family did remain in the LaCrosse area until the 1970's. It appears Evelyn's father has died but I'm not sure about her mother. Evelyn had an older brother and a younger sister who I am guessing are still alive. She did have another older brother who died of polio before she was abducted. That poor family, lost one child to disease and another to (most likely) murder.

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    Physical Evidence

    One wonders what physical evidence was left behind at the crime scene. Fingerprints, footprints, blood on broken window, fibers, weapons or break-in tools, etc. Probably a lot that went un-noticed back then could have led to solving the case today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    One wonders what physical evidence was left behind at the crime scene. Fingerprints, footprints, blood on broken window, fibers, weapons or break-in tools, etc. Probably a lot that went un-noticed back then could have led to solving the case today.
    Richard, here is a link to an article in the LaCrosse Tribune that you might find interesting. The lengths the police and citizens of La Crosse went to trying to solve this case back then is quite impressive and I agree that if they only had today's technology this case just might have been solved early on.

    I am waiting anxiously for the book on Evelyn to come out. I noticed the website the authors had no longer works, and there hasn't been any mention of the book for a long time. I keep in touch with a person who works at the LaCrosse Library and he said one of the authors comes in to the archive dept and he is going to let me know the progress as soon as he sees her again. I hope they didn't decide to not follow through on the book.

    http://www.lacrossetribune.com/artic.../02hartley.txt

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    Basement Window Scenario?

    The part of the story that doesn't make much sense is the part about the intruders dragging the girl all the way down the basement, and then trying to get her out the back window. It would have made far more sense for them to have simply exited through any door. That is probably what they did, since the father seemed to have no problem entering the house to find the baby asleep.
    Was the house a "split level" type home with normal height windows in the back? Or was it like most pre 1953 houses with casemate windows for the basement? It would have been hard enough to enter a house through a casemate window, let alone going OUT that way with a struggling girl.
    I wonder if any of that blood exists today for DNA testing?

    joellegirl, check your mail box, this site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    The part of the story that doesn't make much sense is the part about the intruders dragging the girl all the way down the basement, and then trying to get her out the back window. It would have made far more sense for them to have simply exited through any door. That is probably what they did, since the father seemed to have no problem entering the house to find the baby asleep.
    Was the house a "split level" type home with normal height windows in the back? Or was it like most pre 1953 houses with casemate windows for the basement? It would have been hard enough to enter a house through a casemate window, let alone going OUT that way with a struggling girl.
    I wonder if any of that blood exists today for DNA testing?

    joellegirl, check your mail box, this site.

    I have always wondered myself why the abductor(s) dragged Evelyn all the way back downstairs and out the window instead of using the front door. But evidence shows she was dragged down into the basement because one of her shoes was found on the basement floor (the other was on the livingroom floor along with her glasses and mud left by the abductor's shoes). Also, her blood was found right outside the basement window, as well as on the side of a neighbor's house,and a blood trail leading through backyards and to a neighboring street. When the father came to check on her because she hadn't phoned home as was her practice(he and his wife,- Evelyn's mother- were getting worried because it had been almost two hours and she hadn't called-she always called within an hour of her arrival), he found the front door locked, and he could see the lights on and the radio playing (she had been listening to the local college homecoming football game-where the people she was babysitting for were in attendance). After banging on the door and windows, he found the basement window pryed (spelling) open (it is on the side of the house and is in a window well) and that is how the father entered the house, the same way the abductor apparently did. He saw his daughter's shoe, then crept up the stairs to find only the baby alseep in her crib, but Evelyn was gone. As i mentioned before her other shoe, glasses and mud was on the carpet. Feeling a terrible sence of dread the father ran across the street to a neighbors and phoned police (he thought it best not to use the phone at the house Evelyn was abducted from in case there were fingerprints on it). By the way, the father was cleared right away in having anything to do with his daughter's disappearance. He vouluntarily took a lie detector test as did many citizens of LaCrosse. She is thought to have been abducted between 7:00-7:20pm because her instructions were to put the baby to bed at 7pm and cover her 15 minutes later. Evelyn was a dependable girl and could be trusted to do as she was told, and the baby was never covered. Also neighbors heard screams about that time but looked outside and saw nothing.

    I have seen the house twice recently and have seen a picture of it taken right after the abduction. In 1953 it was a newer small ranch-two bedroom-maybe three and the basement windows had a window wells around them. It appears the abductor entered the window , snuck up the stairs and surprised Evelyn in the livingroom where it appears a struggle ensued. She propbably didn't hear him coming as she was listening to the radio. It is thought another abductor was waiting outside the basement window to pounce on her as she was pushed out. With all the blood around, it appears she was hurt badly at this point. In an earlier post on this thread I mentioned a witness who saw a man supporting a young woman who was staggering and he later saw them sitting in a backseat of a car with the woman leaning forward with another man in the driver's seat. He thought they had been drinking and dismissed it. It is believed this was the abductor dragging a badly injured Evelyn to a waiting car and from there is the big mystery of where she was taken.

    Today the house has been sided, has a two car garage added, and changes done to the way the roof angles on one side, but the windows (now with shutters) are all in the same place, including that basement window. It is quite eerie to see that. I've read the family sold that house quickly. I'm sure the current owners know the history, but I couldn't live in a house where something like that happened. I've also seen the house Evelyn lived with her family at that time, it is an older Victorian about a mile and a half away. Having family in LaCrosse, my family and I are there at least once or twice a year.

    So yes, I wonder too why once they had a hold of Evelyn they didn't leave out the front door. Seeing the basement window,

    the abductor must have been skinny. Evelyn I believe was tall and thin as well. I might be able to post a link to newspaper picture of the window-I will try and see if i can find it. I have only seen the window from my car as we passed by, so mabye closer up it is bigger.

    Richard, I got your pm and will be answering soon.

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    Here are some links to newspaper articles on the Hartley case. I believe the 2nd link has a picture of the basement window I mentioned in my above post.

    Page One: "Our Greatest Mystery"

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00120012.jpg

    Page Two:"Our Greatest Mystery"

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00130013.jpg

    Page One:"Hardly a Trace.."

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...ey00140014.jpg

    Page Two: "Hardly a Trace..."

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00150015.jpg

    One of many articles right after the abduction:

    Page One:

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00060006.jpg

    Page Two:

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00070007.jpg

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    The link to the first page of "Hardly a Trace.." didn't work so I'll try it again:

    http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/digit...y/00140014.jpg

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    Book no longer in the works

    Not sure how many members here are interested in this case like I am, but I though I'd mention I learned that the book that was being written about Evelyn is no longer in the works. I was told the person sponsoring it ran out of money. I am disappointed as I think it would have been an interesting book and maybe could have helped solve the case (small chance but the more an old case like this is kept in the media the better chance of maybe someone coming forward with any info, if there is any.) Maybe someone else can take over as it appeared the writers worked hard at it and it's a shame to see that work go to waste.

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    Hi I am just wondering not only why they took her out the basement window, why did they hurt her so badly in kidnapping her? What I mean is when someone is kidnapped they usually hurt them after they kidnap them. So what was the point? if there were two of them like they think and they took her by surprise they could have easily overpowered her and taken her out the front door.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TisHerself
    Hi I am just wondering not only why they took her out the basement window, why did they hurt her so badly in kidnapping her? What I mean is when someone is kidnapped they usually hurt them after they kidnap them. So what was the point? if there were two of them like they think and they took her by surprise they could have easily overpowered her and taken her out the front door.
    I've always wondered that too . My guess is maybe they didn't mean to hurt her so badly at that point, but they wanted to silence her (several neighbors reported screaming at about 7:15 pm but dismissed it as children playing ,which I think they meant older children and /or teenagers, since it was after dark and and it was the college homecoming night), and hit her too hard or something to that effect. The fact that blood was splashed against a neighbors house also shows possible signs of a struggle. It appears Evelyn did scream for her life, and even after being injured had lurched up against the neighbors house in trying to break free or in a semiconcious state.

    These questions and many more are part of why Evelyn's disappearance has not been forgotten by LaCrosse residents. As a paragraph in "Getting Away with Murder "by Ed Baumann puts it
    "October 24, 1953 will most be remembered (around LaCrosse) as the night a bright young bobby-soxer names Evelyn Grace Hartley disappeared in a horrible splash of blood, leaving behind her jacket, glasses and shoes.The tragic disappearance of the 15 year old babysitter remains Wisconsin's number one unsolved mystery. And the ghastly fate she quite possibly met is almost beyond human comprehension."

    Evelyn forever vanished into the darkness, leaving behind many unanswered questions.

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    Book on Evelyn Hartley 1953 Disappearance Coming Out This Fall

    I just read in the LaCrosse Tribune that the book on Evelyn Hartley, 15 year old babysitter who was abducted in 1953 from LaCrosse Wi and never found is finally coming out.

    Link to article:

    http://www.lacrossetribune.com/artic...ews/00lead.txt

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    Link to Evelyn's case on The Charley Project:

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

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    joellegirl-I'm impressed with your knowledge of this case. Do you know if anything was ever heard or found of the two girls (16 year-old Helen Owens and 15 year-old Barbara Brown) who disappeared from Rhinelander, 200 miles from Lacrosse, the week before Evelyn vanished?

    I look forward to the book.

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    I was very very young when I first heard about Evelyn, and her case is what sparked my interest in unsolved disappearances. I have family who lived in LaCrosse at that time (and still do live there), so that is how I first learned about the mystery of Evelyn Hartley. I have researched her case for years, seen the house (from the outside)she was abducted from, and the house she lived in. I am very glad the book will be finally coming out this fall.

    Shadowangel, amazingly I have never heard of those two missing girls from Rhinelander. That is very interesting. Do you have more details? I have a vague memory of reading about another missing girl in Wisconsin around that time but I can't remember her name. I wonder if these two girls were found shortly after? I know there was a very extensive search for Evelyn and things were done like opening new graves to see if she had been buried in one, so I think they would have looked into the case of the two missing girls as a connection. Where did you first read about the two girls?

    Thanks for posting!

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    The story of the two girls was basically a footnote to an article about Evelyn when her disappearance occured. As the article goes, the two girls were hitching a ride with three boys when the car they were travelling in had a flat tire. The three boys left the girls and went to get the tire repaired. When they returned, the girls were gone.A later article, a few weeks into the Hartley investigation, stated the sherriff believed the girls had ran off to Milwaukee, since one of the girls had once mentioned to a friend that she would like to go to Milwaukee.
    How's that an in-depth investigation? Seems like the typical '50s good girls wouldn't ride with boys anyway thing to me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel
    The story of the two girls was basically a footnote to an article about Evelyn when her disappearance occured. As the article goes, the two girls were hitching a ride with three boys when the car they were travelling in had a flat tire. The three boys left the girls and went to get the tire repaired. When they returned, the girls were gone.A later article, a few weeks into the Hartley investigation, stated the sherriff believed the girls had ran off to Milwaukee, since one of the girls had once mentioned to a friend that she would like to go to Milwaukee.
    How's that an in-depth investigation? Seems like the typical '50s good girls wouldn't ride with boys anyway thing to me...
    Very interesting. I must have missed this story in all my Evelyn Hartley research. Is it in Newspaper Archives? I only had a brief membership and remember lots of Hartley articles. I sure hope their disappearance was given more attention that it appears and that they were found. I did a google search but didn't find anything.

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    Yes, the articles were in NewspaperArchives.com. I couldn't find anything further. I can try to link the articles somehow.

    Is it true that the only door or window found open was the one used by the kidnapper?

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