MA MA - The Missing, The Mystery - Smith College, 1925-1947

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by shadowangel, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Frances St John Smith, pretty 18 year-old coed, disappeared on Friday, Jan 13th, 1928 from the campus of Smith College in Northhampton, MA. She was beleived to have last been seen in the area of her dorm, then vanished. Frances was the daughter of a wealthy family from NY. Over the next several weeks, there were many reports of sightings of the young woman, but none could be substantiated.

    This case brought to mind the case of Alice M. Corbett, 19, who vanished from her dorm at Smith College on Friday, Nov 13th, 1925. There were reports that Alice had been acting strangely...There were reports of sightings over the months after her disappearance, but Alice was never confirmed to have been seen again.

    Nearly a year later, Frances was found in the Connecticut River near the town of Long Meadow, snagged under a tree near the shore. Finding no obvious sign of violence, LE surmised she had drowned accidentally or committed suicide.

    In 1947, Ann Straw, also a pretty young student at Smith College, disappeared from her parents' vacation home on Lake Squam in NH on July 21st. Her body was found floating on the lake a year later, on Friday, August 13th, 1948. Again, due to the lack of obvious violence, her death was ruled accidental. She was still wearing the pajamas she was last seen wearing a year before.

    Some of the reports indicate a fourth girl also vanished from Smith College between 1925 and 1947, but I am still looking for that one. Anyone who can find the fourth girl missing from that time period, plase post.
     
  2. Loading...


  3. gardenmom

    gardenmom Former Member

    Messages:
    3,328
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Interesting. Serial killer? Coincidence? How long has the significance of Friday the 13th been around?
     
  4. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Another point on the recovery of Frances' body...She was known to wear several relatively expensive rings on her right hand. When her body was found, all the fingers on the right hand were missing.
     
  5. Mullins

    Mullins New Member

    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It is interesting. I haven't researched the actual origins of that day much, but I have looked into the movie somewhat. I did that when satisfying my curiosity regarding Princess Doe---her body being found near the boy scout camp where the movie was filmed. As I recall, there was a serial killer out west somewhere that struck on Friday the 13th some---I think it was zodiac---

    Here are some links:
    http://www.crystalinks.com/friday13th.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=751011&page=1
    http://www.fridaythe13thfilms.com/home.html


     
  6. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Had she been dead for a whole year? What did the autopsy indicate as to date of death?
     
  7. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This case gave me a peek into the state of "forensics" at the time. When first pulled from the water, the body later identified as St John Smith was stated to have been in the water at least two years. She had, in fact, only been missing 13 months. The autopsy on Straw appears to have consisted of looking for any obvious signs of violence....Knife wounds, gunshot wounds, etc. By the state of decomposition, authorities stated she "probably" died the night she disappeared. It was further stated she "most likely" drowned.

    Now that I think about it, both girls were found 13 months after they disappeared...There's that damned "13" again.
     
  8. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    63
    This might be the fourth case you are seeking. Paula disappeared from neighboring Vermont and was also a college student at the time.

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Paula Jean Welden
    Missing since December 1, 1946 from Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont
    Classification: Endangered Missing
    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: 1928
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 18 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'5"; 122 lbs.

    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Blonde hair, worn in a long bob; blue eyes. Fair complexion with much color; nose slightly "turned up"; cleft in chin. Walks with a long, springy step, has erect carriage; athletic type.
    Marks, Scars: Grayish scar on left knee; vaccination mark on right thigh; small scar under left eye under eyebrow.

    Clothing: Red parka jacket with fur trimmed hood, blue jeans, white sneakers with heavy soled Top-Sider size 6 1/2 or 7. She was also wearing a small, gold Elgin ladies wrist watch with narrow black band. This watch has repairer's marking, 13050 HD, scatched on the inside of back case.

    Other: At the time of her disapperance, Welden was an art student interested in water colors, oils, pencil and charcoal sketching. She had assisted a mural painter and also done black and white illustrations. She had also done waitress work. She liked skating, bicycling, hiking, camping, swimming, square dancing and playing the guitar.
    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Welden was a student last seen at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont on the afternoon of December 1, 1946. Some reports state that Welden disappeared while taking a walk on the Long Trail near Glastenbury Mountain.

    Vermont had no state police force at the time. Then-Governor Ernest Gibson called in police from New York and Massachusetts to help in the search. It also persuaded local legislators to support creation of the Vermont State Police.

    According to reports, seven people vanished from the Long Trail on Glastenbury Mountain between 1945 and 1950.

    Police suspect foul play. Welden was never found.

    Investigators
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: Vermont State Police - Police Chief Richard Gauthier 802-241-5355

    Source Information:
    Burlington Free Press 10/30/05
    In the Shadow of Glastenbury
    The Doe Network: Case File 1784DFVT

    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/1784dfvt.html
     
  9. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    According to the reports (two mention the fourth girl), all attended Smith College. I'm still looking.
     
  10. Stella

    Stella Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Maybe this will help. Years ago, I read a book by or about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She graduated from Smith College in 1928. The book stated that either a roommate or classmate of AMW went missing and was never found. If I remember correctly, she got dressed up to go shopping on a Saturday and was last seen leaving campus on foot, headed for the bus stop.
     
  11. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I do not know if the Smith College disappearances are related, but in the late 1920's, there were a large number of abductions which took place on the east coast of the US by "white slavers" who brought young women and girls to Atlantic City, New Jersey. That town was completely corrupt at the time, from the top down, and it was not until the early 1930's that things started to get cleaned up.
     
  12. Mcarroll

    Mcarroll New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is a bit earlier than the time period you mentioned. In September 1908, Esther Hilbert disappeared from her mother's vacation home in Chesterfield Mass. She was to start as a freshman at Smith College the following Monday. A search of nearby woods by 100 men failed to find her. Unfortunately, she was found dead a few days later - she apparently shot herself.
     
  13. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Great case. I see this is now going to be one of my pet cases. But WTF is up with that girl wearing the same PJs she disappeared in?
     
  14. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I took this to mean that she most likely had died the night she was last seen...Her remains didn't surface until a year later. However, I found that odd--Would a body that had been decomposing under water float to the surface after a year?
    Could her remains have been kept elsewhere and placed into the lake on a Friday the 13th? I couldn't find any other info on the cases, but then again I haven't looked into it in quite some time.
     
  15. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Maybe it floated because of gases within the rotting corpse. how badly was it decomposed and how intact were the PJS and was it a major paper that reported this?
     
  16. hmg

    hmg New Member

    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
  17. hmg

    hmg New Member

    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh and few more things to reply to other people in this post:
    -I believe AML was speaking of St. John Smith (AML was class of '28)
    -Long Meadow is actually one word-- Longmeadow, might help with subsequent research
    -Hillary Waugh wrote a fictionalized account of the Paula Welden case based on research he did at Smith College which could account for this elusive 4th girl. The police gave Waugh some insider information about some previous "disappearance cases" from Smith, most of which appeared to be resolved according to Waugh, and he integrated those into the book as well. Waugh's book is called "Last Seen Wearing…" and was published in 1954.
     
  18. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Exactly how many "missing" cases were solved?
     
  19. Sarahsmom85

    Sarahsmom85 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just came across an old missing persons flyer for Alice M Corbett, I was trying to find out if she was ever found. From all I have put together she is still missing. I have tryed to find information about her but have found little. The flyer has two photos of her and offers $1000 reward. I take it that she came from a weathy family. If anyone know anything or how I can find out more about Alice please let me know. I think it is very interesting.
     
  20. Stella

    Stella Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    In searching, I found another missing Smith coed. Anne Shaw walked away from her parents' summer home in Holderness, Massachusetts in July of 1917, never to be seen again. Is it a coincidence that so many girls from Smith have gone missing or turned up dead? It's just weird. Any more info on Miss Shaw requires pay-per-view, which I can't afford.
     
  21. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

    Messages:
    2,374
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Alice Corbett, mentioned in my original posting, left a note in her room which indicated she was in a "confused state of mind'. One of Alice's friends and fellow classmates, Jean Robeson, was found dead in her dorm room after Alice went missing. The stated reason was asphyxiation from "illuminating gas".

    I've found reports of lots of weird things related to girls from this school. An August '53 headline reports a Smith College senior was found semi-conscious under the porch of her parents' home after stating she was going hiking. Various reports of girls going missing and turning up hundreds of miles from home. Even a report of the probable suicide from mid-October 1891 of Laura Presboy (or Presbrey).

    The death of Robeson got me to thinking...Would long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas at low levels cause this type of behavior, indicative to me of brain damage?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice