CA - Linda Lovell, 25, & Stephen Packard, 18, Westport, 10 June 1974

Discussion in 'Mendocino County' started by burblestein, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Linda Lee Lovell and Stephen Locke Packard
    Missing since June 1974.
    This is a joint posting.
    For separate accounts unraveling their intertwined cases, see Linda Lee Lovell and Stephen Locke Packard. There is uncertainty in the date and place(s) of their respective disappearances. Add to that the fact that they were both jointly and singly reported missing in several different jurisdictions, and it becomes apparent that this thread should serve as a record of their joint activities. The links to their individual cases will be supplied below after they are also posted.

    BASIC CASE:
    25-year-old Linda Lovell and 18-year-old Stephen Packard were hitchhiking north on the Pacific Coast in June 1974. Packard called home on 10 June 1974, from Stinson Beach CA. Lovell mailed postcards home from there. That was her last known contact.

    The pair's goal was the World's Fair in Spokane WA. After visiting that, they planned to be in Missoula MT for the Fourth of July holiday.

    On 20 June 1974, one of Stephen's traveler's checks was cashed in Westport CA in Mendocino County, 170 miles and 4 hours 30 minutes drive north of Stinson Beach. Here's their most probable route up the coast, as the pair were tourists and the inland route wasn't particularly scenic. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Wes...ec74239ba!2m2!1d-122.6444263!2d37.9004816!3e0

    Overhead view of Westport. Store is in the center. https://www.google.com/maps/place/W...5c3a10d8406f7e!8m2!3d39.6383445!4d-123.784591

    Ground view of the Westport store: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Westport+Community+Store/@39.638401,-123.784545,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1s-wcl-lhsctK0%2FV4PS_-5CEiI%2FAAAAAAAAAGU%2F1Ww0mYWF8KYLsHyKvnOMh6r1wjTAoFNYQCLIB!2e4!3e12!6s%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com%2F-wcl-lhsctK0%2FV4PS_-5CEiI%2FAAAAAAAAAGU%2F1Ww0mYWF8KYLsHyKvnOMh6r1wjTAoFNYQCLIB%2Fs114-k-no%2F!7i1024!8i768!4m5!3m4!1s0x8081d33817774185:0xd65c3a10d8406f7e!8m2!3d39.6383445!4d-123.784591!6m1!1e1

    If Steve actually did cash that traveler's check, it cannot be known whether Linda was also in Westport. Conversely, neither of them may have made their way to Westport. Whether Steve cashed the traveler's check does not seem to be authenticated.

    Sources:

    Doe Network: http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/2999dfmt.html

    National Missing Person Directory: http://www.missingin.org/reg7331/stephen_locke_packard.htm

    Charley Project: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/l/lovell_linda.html

    There are mysteries within this mystery:

    So whose relatives were they supposed to meet in Spokane, Linda's or Steve's? Or both?

    Just what was their relationship to one another? How did they know one another? The age difference makes a romantic relationship less likely.

    Possible scenarios: She hitches out of Missoula (it says somewhere.) Conjecture that he graduates high school in Provincetown, flies Boston or NYC to SFO. They meet by chance in San Francisco and form a traveler's alliance; his protective brawn, her worldly wisdom.

    Seems unlikely also. What is the connection between these two?
     
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  3. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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  4. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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  5. Ozoner

    Ozoner Active Member

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    In what fantasy universe does a seven-year age difference make a romantic relationship unlikely?

    I've lost count of how couples I've known where the age difference was twenty years or more; a seven-year difference is nothing.
     
  6. Coleraine

    Coleraine New Member

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    Stephen Locke Packard's name sounded vaguely familiar so I checked Google and realized that he was the son of a Provincetown artist, Anne Locke Packard. I found an article that references her son's death and indicates that Linda was his girlfriend (see paragraph 7). The article is titled "Building Provincetown: The History of Provincetown Told Through Its Built Environment."

    It also provides interesting description of Stephen's family: "Mystery and fascination surrounded them; the Packards were like old-fashioned outlaws. They had energy, flair, bravado, charm; and they were generous and kindly and sexy, in part because they created their own laws, their own society.”

    https://buildingprovincetown.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/621-commercial-street/
     
  7. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Great find, Coleraine! Not MSM, but informative. This is the first source I have seen that calls them romantic partners. I am not saying a seven year age span makes a difference in all, or even most, couples. However, a 25 year old woman has 7 years experience past high school. An 18 year old boy coming out of high school doesn't have that experience. So it's easy to wonder, Where's the common ground for a relationship?

    Then again, there was the time factor. Either they hooked up within less than two weeks in early June 1974, or they knew one another before the trip. And one was from Provincetown, but the other was from Missoula. So how would they know one another? So, you can see why I was skeptical.
     
  8. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    If there was a pre-trip romantic relationship, Stephen was a minor when it began. If that matters for anything.
     
  9. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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  10. Alleykins

    Alleykins Well-Known Member

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    RBBM for clarity.
    Not necessarily. I guess it would have depended on where they landed. If they landed in Sacramento, that appears to be under 3 hours away from Stinson Beach. Take into consideration flight time and the three hour time difference between the east and west cost and it's doable if they were able to get a ride right away from the airport. They could have called/written right when they got there, just to let their folks know they arrived. Does anyone know for sure where they landed?
    ETA: San Fran is even closer.
    What I really want to know is how a woman from MT meets a man from the tip of the Cape prior to the internet. It really has no bearing on the case, I'm just curious. How people met, especially from so far away, has always fascinated me.
     
  11. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Actually, Alleykins, the question is how does a grown woman from MT meet a school boy from MA? She maybe vacationed in Provincetown and met him then? And who knows whether any given piece of info is relevant until the case(s) are resolved?
     
  12. Coleraine

    Coleraine New Member

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    There's a problem with the NY Times article in which June 10th is referred to by Stephen's mother as the Saturday. In 1974, June 10th was on a Monday. So I'm thinking the June 10th date for their departure is incorrect. I've seen one of the sites--not sure which one--state the date of departure as Stephen's birthday, which was June 6th. And if Stephen and Linda did hitchhike cross country, as his mother states was their plan, then they made fantastic time (4 days!) to reach Stinson Beach and call on 6/10/74. Maybe they did hop on a jet at some point...

    Alleykins, I'm really curious about how they met, too. I'm so fascinated by this case! Thank you, burblestein, for bringing it to the forum.
     
  13. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    I have speculated that Stephen departed MA on his birthday; I don't recall that as a given fact in any source. There is a source that says his 18th birthday (6 June 1974) was the last time he was seen.

    And while they may have hitched to the airport and flown out in time to call home per Alleykins, I am skeptical about that. Would they not have gotten a ride to the airport to guarantee catching their flight? And how about the ride from the destination airport to Stinson Beach? Let's not forget that travel was slower in 1974, both air and ground. Back in those days, my long haul trucker uncle used to run coast to coast in 96 hours...and he was known to pick up hitchhikers to keep him amused and awake.

    So far as Linda is concerned, the Times article relates that she was seen after authorities say she was hitching out of Missoula because she was seen in MA.

    At any rate, I want it verified Linda was in Stinson Beach, and I want to know if she subsequently left.
     
  14. Coleraine

    Coleraine New Member

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    Okay, if you don't recall it, then I must have been confused because you're certainly more well-versed in this case than I am. In any case, I was assuming, since you've included it in all 3 of the threads concerning this couple that both Lovell and Packard made contact with family from Stinson Beach--Lovell via post card and Packard via phone call. At least one of your sources is the Santa Maria PD missing person report. Is this where the Stinson Beach info originated?
     
  15. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Stephen's mother's claim the couple left P-town MA on the 10th. Other sources have them in Stinson Beach (Marin County) the same date. However, Santa Maria PD doesn't quite have it that way; they say Stinson Beach but give no date.
     
  16. Alleykins

    Alleykins Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know if Stephen called home collect or reverse charges when he called from Stinson Beach? Because that would have shown up on the phone bill and would have been proof positive at least he was there. His mother also said in that article that the post cards stopped after three weeks, which would have put his last known date of contact after when his last traveler's check was cashed. But, that depends on three weeks from when, I guess.
    But, you're right, if they left on the 10th, like his mother stated, and they were hitch hiking, there's no way they'd get there that fast, so it appears something may be on the time line here.
     
  17. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    That's a great thought about the phone charges, Alleykins. I do wonder if that bill would still be available after all these years.

    I have doubts about the mother's accuracy, though not about her truthfulness.

    The problem I see with these two intertwined cases is that they have been reported missing in so many places. Because the information on them is scattered everywhere, it's not collected in one spot. I am trying to centralize that info.
     
  18. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Today, I sent forth inquiry letters requesting Missing Person Reports on this pair. I asked both the Sheriff and the City Police in Spokane about Linda, and the Marin County Sheriff about Stephen. Here's hoping the replies will supply more leads.
     
  19. Alleykins

    Alleykins Well-Known Member

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    It's possible but it would take a subpoena to get the phone records. Even though the call was made prior to divestiture, last I knew Verizon still had access to the old legacy systems used by Ma Bell, and those records go waaay back. I know this because when my current company bought the Verizon territory in northern New England they ran those old billing tapes by mistake and billed customers going back to the 60s. I figure if they can do it by mistake, they should be able to do it on purpose, but I wonder if that would even be necessary. If he did call collect, the call would have gotten billed on the next billing cycle, which possibly wouldn't have come to the end of the month, beginning of July, as the phone company used to bill a month behind back then. If that's the case, then I hope either his mum or investigators would have kept a copy of it. It would have shown up at about the time they suspected something was wrong.
     
  20. burblestein

    burblestein Member

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    Fascinating.
     
  21. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    The one fact that seems very significant is that Stephen had $800 in travelers checks but only $20 was cashed on June 20th in Westport. I think it is a safe assumption that had someone stolen his travelers checks, they would have cashed all of them, not just the one (as I recall, $20 was the smallest denomination). It is highly likely that Stephen was alive and well in Westport June 20.

    I really doubt they were in Stinson Beach June 10th. I hitchhiker in Calif in the 70's and a presentable couple should have been able to hitch from Stinson to Westport (174 miles) in a day easily. If they really were there on that date, they went somewhere else first or were hanging out somewhere they didn't need much in the way of money.

    I think they cashed the check in Westpoint and proceeded north where something bad happened before the $20 ran out. In the 70's, a thru hitchhiker who was sleeping rough in a sleeping bad and eating in convenience stores, could manage on a few dollars a day. Assuming Linda also had some money, they could have made it well up the Oregon coast.
     

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