MP case out of Iceland

I found this five-part series in The Oregonian about Esther Gavin, a war bride of Icelandic origin who disappeared in 1952 or so. I found an article in the Icelandic press on the same case.

It’s a very sad story: At 18, Ragna Esther Sigurðardóttir married an American soldier she barely knew, and moved to Oregon, halfway around the world from home and hearth. They had two kids. Her husband, Larry Gavin, beat her badly on a regular basis and it may have been his beating her while she was pregnant that caused their daughter to suffer from mental disabilities that eventually lead to her being institutionalized in childhood. Eventually, Esther (as she was now called) got a divorce, but even though she had custody, her children were taken from her and put up for adoption and their names were changed. It wasn’t until quite recently that Esther’s Icelandic relations tracked them down, and the daughter turned out to have died in 1999.

Robert [Esther and Larry’s son] said his last memory of his mother is watching her cower as Larry held a knife over her. He grew up believing he had witnessed her murder.

I smell something familiar. I’ve read, and written, so many similar accounts on Charley the years.

Ragna Esther Sigurðardóttir Gavin has been missing for sixty years. If she’s alive she’d be 83 today.

4 thoughts on “MP case out of Iceland

  1. Matagot January 8, 2012 / 3:12 am

    Wow… just wow. This is such a heart breaking story. Esther was a beautiful woman just starting out on her journey. She was conned by Loathsome Larry into believing she would have a new exciting life in America, and raise a family.

    I only wish that Larry had been arrested for murdering Esther, so he could serve out the remainder of his life in a prison cell, rather than on a Florida beach.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    • Meaghan January 8, 2012 / 8:40 am

      Well, think of all the Nazi war criminals who lived out their lives — some of them not even anonymously — in Boca Raton. Larry was in good company.

  2. Kristianna September 8, 2012 / 9:19 pm

    Luckily there was a very happy ending to the story of Esther. She married a career Navy man and moved to the East coast, they were blessed with three beautiful children and ultimately settled in Alabama upon retirement from the Navy. I speak the truth because I am one of Esther’s granddaughters. Please look at the latest stroy by Anne Saker that will be posted as a part 2 of the War Bride series from December 2011. It’s an AMAZING story of survival and Esther’s refusal of being considered a victim. The story will run in the Oregonian tomorrow and is available currently on their website. Case Closed.

    • Cattt September 9, 2012 / 2:08 am

      Thanks for the update, Kristianna! It’s so cool when relatives comment on Charley.

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