- Apr 8, 2013
- Reaction score
On August 6,1975, Laurel Mitchell, 17, was last seen leaving work at Epworth Forest in North Webster in Kosciusko County at 10:15 p.m. The next morning, she was found dead in the Elkhart River in Noble County.
Now detectives need help identifying four or five young people, ages 16 to 22 at the time, who may have performed as a singing group at the Cokesbury Inn inside Epworth Forest the night Laurel went missing. Its believed the group stopped at the towns fire station at 10:30 p.m. for assistance with their vehicle.
One of the subjects mentioned the town of Delphi that they were from. Just basically what were trying to do is find out who these people were from Delphi that may have seen something being that they were at the same location that this young girl worked at, said Sergeant Kim Riley with the Indiana State Police.
At 10 p.m. Laurel was getting off work at a restaurant at Epworth Forest near North Webster. Her plan was to walk just down the road to Adventureland, a local amusement park. "She was to meet friends there, and she never made it there," says Knisley. "A friend saw her at the big stone columns and waved at her as she walked by the columns, and that is the last she was seen"...
Her body was found the following morning by some fishermen who were fishing along the Elkhart River near Diamond Lake in Noble County. It was found about 15 miles from where she vanished. An autopsy determined she drowned, but Laurel was a strong swimmer. Some of her clothes were found inside out. And newspaper articles from that time indicate there was evidence of rape and that she had bruises and scrapes. Her death was ruled a murder...
Police still look into the case, and they have their theories. "I don't know if it was a sexual assault that went to the next level," says Detective Sergeant J.D. Ayres with the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department, "because I think she knew who she was with." Knisley agrees. Her parents passed away last year without having learned the truth about their daughter. The hope is one day Knisley will know.