PA PA - Ilonka Cann, 22, Huntington Mills, 26 May 1970

State police, DA conducting search in Luzerne County​

Authorities say the search by state police off Cann Road in Huntington Township is related to a decades-old missing persons case.


I could be wrong but from the photo in the news link I get the impression LE is looking in a specific area. I wonder if they received a new bit of information??
 
State police and the Luzerne County district attorney’s office are involved in the search of several ponds that are being drained in hopes of finding a woman who disappeared 52 years ago. 22-year old Llonka Cann, was reported missing by her husband, Charles Cann, a Berwick School teacher at the time who said he arrived home from work to find his wife missing and their 15-month old son alone and crying.

Authorities searched the family farm and surrounding areas — including bringing in a scuba team to scour a pond on the property — but found no sign of the woman, who was reportedly pregnant at the time. Officials are only saying they are conducting the search and following up on a decades-old missing person case. The search is the next step in a long investigation and all information related to the search is under seal. Authorities add if today's activity results in any information which can or should be made available to the public it will be released.

The pregnant mother vanished on May 26 of 1970. Sources close to the case say her husband returned home that day to find their 15-month-old baby alone and crying, there was no sign of Ilonka.

Despite numerous searches by police over the last six decades, no sign of Cann was ever found.

Harless said this new search is giving the family hope.

“You know when I heard about it I was just hopeful so hoping that it means something that’s there going to be some kind of result that you know maybe my sister that we’ll know what happened to her,” Harless said.

Eyewitness News reporter Andy Mehalshick asked Harless if she knows what might have happened.

“Of course, there’s been speculation but it’s speculation,” Harless explained.

She said her sister was a loving person and deserves justice.

“She was kind probably that’s the first and foremost. She was thoughtful, she tried to make everybody around here feel comfortable. She loved little animals she would taken the baby animals home nurture them. She would expand that to people times ten,” Harless concluded.

Investigators have not officially confirmed this search is part of the Cann disappearance.

Officials only said the search is part of a decades-long missing person investigation.

Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce released a statement saying the search warrant affidavit has been sealed by the court. That paperwork, once it is unsealed, should provide some insight as to why investigators are searching that property near Shickshinny.
 
That search is taking place in the area of Cann Road near the intersection of Waterton Road. The area has been sealed off by police. Eyewitness News saw a marked state police vehicle securing the area as well as other unmarked police vehicles coming and going from that area.

Eyewitness News reporter Andy Mehalshick spoke with Cann’s sister several years ago at an event at Wilkes University that was the focus of missing persons.

“It’s always on your mind. You go on live a life and it could be a good life but I always miss her,” said Anita Harless, Ilonka Cann’s sister.

“The state police and our office are conducting a search of a rural property in Huntington Mills, followng up on a decades-old missing persons case. This search is the next step in a long investigation. All information related to the search is under seal. So do not expect to have further comment in the near future. If today’s activity results in any information which can or should be made available to the public, we will notify everyone in the media so it can be released. Otherwise, we cannot comment further on the investigation.”

A RELEASE FROM THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
 
Gray Hughes discusses
Time stamp 7:10 on his clock upper right
 
Wow. So Ilonka's inlaws decided to notify her in local newspaper that they're taking it to court to adopt her son cause she abandoned him for more than six months. Wow. That's something else.
Also husband constantly in the spotlight for violent behaviour towards neighbours. Yeah... really "mysterious" case.
 
'Seems the extensive property search yielded nothing.
“All information related to the search is under seal. So do not expect to have further comment in the near future. If today’s activity results in any information which can or should be made available to the public, we will notify everyone in the media so it can be released. Otherwise, we cannot comment further on the investigation.”
Or maybe they did found something, just keeping it close to the chest.
 
Fire Destroys Home At Center of Missing Person Case


It has a paywall, but the only thing in the article anyway is this:

"A raging fire that broke out Monday morning tore through and destroyed a Huntington Twp. home that was the site of a renewed search over the summer for a pregnant mother who abruptly vanished 52 years ago."

Found another article that is no more illuminating.

 
Last edited:
Were they searching only the husband's house then, or residences of his (equally heavily involved in violent events reported in local newspapers at the time) family were also searched?
 
Fire Destroys Home At Center of Missing Person Case


It has a paywall, but the only thing in the article anyway is this:

"A raging fire that broke out Monday morning tore through and destroyed a Huntington Twp. home that was the site of a renewed search over the summer for a pregnant mother who abruptly vanished 52 years ago."

Found another article that is no more illuminating.


This would be the second fire family members suffered in the years since Ilonka disappeared. (See post #32)
 
Wow. So Ilonka's inlaws decided to notify her in local newspaper that they're taking it to court to adopt her son cause she abandoned him for more than six months. Wow. That's something else.
Also husband constantly in the spotlight for violent behaviour towards neighbours. Yeah... really "mysterious" case.
My apologies. I wasn't aware that it was obligatory for people to make such announcement in press in order to have any legal thing done. So apparently inlaws did what they had to do to take custody of the kid.
But... my point remains the same. Cause Ilonka's husband, in order to get a divorce would have to do same thing: buy an ad in local newspaper to "notify" her about the court date. He decided to not do that but instead went for bigamy. Why? To not risk spiking bit too much interest in the community and prevent someone from possibly recalling something important about the day when Ilonka disappeared?
 

53 years missing...​

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Ilonka Cann, age 22, Missing since 26 May 1970​

  • Missing Since 05/26/1970
  • Missing From Huntington Mills, Pennsylvania
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 22 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 130 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Cann was pregnant at the time of her disappearance.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Cann's nickname is Tootsie. Her hair was long at the time of her disappearance.

Details of Disappearance​

Ilonka was last seen at her home in Huntington Mills, Pennsylvania on May 26, 1970. Her husband of two years, Charles Cann II, saw her at 7:20 a.m. before he went to his teaching job at the Berwick Junior High School.

hen he returned home at 3:30 p.m., Ilonka was gone and the couple's fifteen-month-old son was alone in the house, crying in his crib upstairs. She has never been heard from again. Charles reported her missing the next day. An extensive search of the area, including a dive team checking a nearby pond, turned up no indication of Ilonka's whereabouts.

In 1971, the year after Ilonka's disappearance, Charles began seeing another woman, Grace P. Brown. Grace moved into the home he'd formerly shared with Ilonka and took Charles's last name, and the couple lived together until 1987, without Charles ever filing for divorce from Ilonka or trying to have her declared legally dead.

In 1987, Grace filed for divorce, saying her cohabitation with Charles made him her common-law husband. Charles claimed they had never been legally married and he was still married to Ilonka; Grace said they were presumed married in 1972.

Ultimately, the court ruled that Grace and Charles had entered into a common-law marriage on June 1, 1982 and that Grace could proceed with her divorce action. The divorce was granted in 1990. Charles appealed, and the appeals court ruled that, even though he had never tried to have her declared legally dead, Ilonka was presumed deceased as of 1977, seven years after her disappearance.

In the summer of 2022, authorities searched a pond and a wooded area near Cann Road for evidence in Ilonka's case. This location was on the property where Ilonka went missing. Investigators haven't said whether their search turned up anything of value.

There has been no indication of Ilonka's whereabouts since she went missing, and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are unclear.

Investigating Agency​

  • Pennsylvania State Police 570-542-4117

Source Information​

 
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Jan 14 2023
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''An extensive search of the area, including a dive team checking a nearby pond, turned up no indication of Ilonka's whereabouts.

The investigation continues to this day, with investigators recently draining two ponds and excavating an island on the Cann property in July 2022.''

Anyone with information is urged to contact PSP Wilkes-Barre at 570-822-5400 or anonymously contact the Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers Toll Free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS (8477) or online at Tip Form

Jan 14 2023
'LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — A $5,000 reward is on the table for tips that might heat up a Luzerne County homicide investigation that went cold more than five decades ago.'
 

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