Article about the missing Guthrie family

I was sent this article about Leslie, Timothy and Julie Guthrie, a mother and her two young children who dropped off the face of the earth in Katonah, New York in 1977. It reveals some more info on their disappearances. Among other items of note, it seems they disappeared on February 5, not February 6 as their NCMEC poster says. February 6 was the date they were reported missing.

It’s a strange case, with the lack of any evidence at all. Since Timothy Sr.’s been ruled out as a suspect, and there are no indications of foul play but no indications of a voluntary disappearance either, and since the car is missing, I wonder if it wasn’t a simple vehicular accident. I have no idea what the terrain is like in the Katonah area but wonder if Leslie possibly drove into a lake or river and their car is still submerged with them inside.

The case reminds me of Mary, Jessie and Fannie Stuart, another mom and two kids who vanished without a trace in 1977. But that was in California, and in that case the husband/father is a suspect.

Fun fact: the “Detective DiBiase” quoted in the article is actually the younger brother of Tad DiBiase, aka the “No Body” guy.

21 thoughts on “Article about the missing Guthrie family

  1. Melissa April 14, 2012 / 6:32 am

    Could be that she disappeared intentionally too….but considering she didn’t take any money, clothes, possessions etc, that’s not as likely. What a mystery.

  2. Justin April 14, 2012 / 6:40 am

    The article also mentions the Bedford Police Department has one other missing persons case. George Primavera who vanished from a parking lot on March 17, 1988 from Bedford Hills.

  3. Judy April 14, 2012 / 7:48 am

    Megan you are probably right.

  4. Saffy April 14, 2012 / 8:02 am

    that’s my guess. If the car has vanished, then it’s probably a case of an accident- the car went off the road, over a cliff or into water.

  5. Peter Henderson April 14, 2012 / 8:22 am

    Hi, Meaghan

    I think you could be correct.

    I needed to do a bit of researching as I could not remember if I-684 had been completed before 1977, it had, in 1974. I live just over the boarder in western Connecticut but as I was born and had family in New Rochelle, NY. I traveled that route frequently when I was younger.

    Prior to ’74 Leslie Guthrie would have used the Saw Mill Parkway to get from Katonah to White Plains and it may have been the route she was most familiar with. The Saw Mill’s entrance is also closer to Grandview Ave. then the Katonah entrance to I-684.

    Grandview Ave has a pond right at its intersection with Cherry Street, the most direct route to the Saw Mill. But assuming they were already built, houses would have prevented her from going into the water at that location. If she had somehow gone in Lily Pond someone should have seen a disturbance in the vegetation.

    Traveling down Cherry Street Leslie would have entered the Saw Mill at the Haines Road Entrance in Bedford Hills. But if she missed it, lets say the kids distracted her, she would have had to turn around at, you guessed it, Lake Mane.

    If Leslie had entered the Saw Mill successfully then the question is, would she have done what my dad did all those years ago driving to New Rochelle; take side routes to avoid traffic.

    One side route between the Saw Mill and I-684 is State Road 120 (King street). It goes directly by Kensico Lake, crossing over it at two separate points, then travels by Rye Lake just before it intersects I-684. If by chance she turned off 120 to use the Mt. Kisco road to go to White Plains she would have traveled by the length of Kensico Lake, and crossed over it at the Rye Bridge, which looks to be about 800 feet long..

    Many of Westchester Counties roads are very old. They are throwbacks to a time when New Rochelle was,” 45 Minutes from Broadway.” My dad loved to drive them because they are very scenic but they also can be very dangerous because they were designed for far less traffic, traveling at a much lower speed.

    Anyhow if that’s what happened then there is a chance that someday Leslie, Julie and Timothy will be found. After all Kathleen Wrinkle was last seen in Cleveland, Tennessee on February 22, 1956 and she and her 1951 Chevrolet BelAir were recovered 45 feet deep in Tennessee’s Parksville Lake, on May 9, 2008.

    • Meaghan April 14, 2012 / 8:28 am

      Good points. I’m glad someone could contribute first-hand knowledge of the region.

  6. amy April 14, 2012 / 12:52 pm

    I am glad that Peter Henderson could give you a first hand lay out. All I did was Google map the village of Katonah and I saw several places where a car could go into the water. Of course, the roads were more rural in 1977, so there would be a greater chance even then.

  7. Kim April 15, 2012 / 3:23 am

    I am thinking she drove into a body of water too. I have no idea why searches just do not take a better look in lakes to search for missing cars. At any given time there are probably several cars at the bottom of any lake and canal. You would think once in a while they would be searched to see if they can uncover anything. Her poor children.

  8. Peter Henderson April 15, 2012 / 8:55 am

    Hi All,

    I decided to do a little more research.

    Feb. 5, 1977 was a Saturday. The high temp for the day was 32, with a average temperature of 26. There was .21 inches of precipitation which translates into a inch or two of snow at that temperature range.

    The winter of 76/77 was the first winter I was married. Looking back there ware a number of major snowstorms and I can remember how difficult it was to get to work. I had a rear wheel drive Toyota Celica. Great little car, good gas mileage, but pretty much useless in snow. Not that much different then the Ford Maverick that Leslie was driving

    The Maverick was originally conceived and marketed as a subcompact “import fighter”. It was designed to be a less expensive option for those people who loved the Ford Mustang but could not afford it.

    Not sure but the 300 Series listing seems to refer to the engine which would have been a V8. It’s not clear from the news report or NamUs profile but it sounds like Leslie’s Maverick had the “Luxury Decor Option” which would include Wimbledon White body paint and a vinyl green top. It came in both two door coups and four door sedans.

    From the standpoint of a SAR diver it would stand out because it has huge federally mandated 5 MPH crash bumpers. (Those first 5 MPH crash bumpers were as ugly as sin)

    I really wish I knew where in White Plains Leslie’s parents lived. It would enable us to prioritize a possible route. But then so many things could have happened. If she promised the kids McDonalds for instance, she may have taken a route that no one would suspect.

    • Justin April 15, 2012 / 4:55 pm

      Man, Peter. When you do research, you REALLY do research. I’m impressed.

    • Jen April 18, 2017 / 3:39 am

      Hi Peter,
      I know that Leslie grew up in Hastings, NY on Farragut Avenue, she met and fell in love with Timothy Guthrie. She attended Curry college in Massachusettes and left b/c she wanted to be with Timmy. He went to Vietnam was injured came home. I’m not sure when they married. They lived in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. And Mentor Ohio. Julie was born Jan 1971 in Ohio and the son Timmy in 1973 in Ohio. Timmy the husband was transferred to NY for work. They moved to Katonah and lived on Grandview, I heard it was a stressful time. Timmy wasn’t coming home when he said he would. He would promise to be there for Julie’s party and he didn’t show. There were many times like that. She would get upset, he was no longer nice to her, she was unhappy. Her Mother (Anne) found out Timmy was cheating on Leslie and told her. These problems and issues really weighed on her, she went to a psychiatrist and her general practitioner who prescribed her medicine for anxiety and depression. She was extremely upset, living in Katonah for 1 year and a 1/2 and not too many friends to turn too. Timmy was her world and her mother Anne loved him like a son, Leslie felt very alone and needed someone in her corner. Timmy was on a “business trip”, so she put the kids in the car and drove out to Ohio to see her old friend Wanda. She called her mother (Anne) on the way driving out there and asked her to tell her husband Timmy she was driving to Wandas, she had to figure stuff out. Apparently, Timmy stopped what he was doing and followed her out there and drove them home. I think he flew and drove back in the car with Leslie and the kids. I am not sure of logistics. I don’t think she was there very long but she was a mess when she got back. She stayed with her mother and went to a lawyer in town.she said she wanted a divorce, she had to get away from him. I suspect his anger got intense and she was scared. The lawyer told her to calm down, go home and think about it. She should come back the next day if she still felt the same way. It was the end of the day and I don’t believe she went back. It was the next day she disappeared with her mothers car, her kids Julie and Timmy.
      After she got back from Wanda’s things were tough, she stayed at her Mom’s that week and drove home to spend time with the kids. They would go to the movies or
      McDonald’s in Bedford Hills.
      Her mother had moved to Columbus ave in Harrison, NY and worked at IBM in Armonk. That day she dropped her mother in the parking lot at work and she was supposed to be back by 5pm to pick her up. She never showed.
      I’m not sure why she took her mothers car, she had a car in her driveway in Katonah. It’s possible Leslie called her mother upset and her mother picked her up and brought her to her house. That would be why she didn’t have her boots so she borrowed her mothers which would be 2 sizes too small and she gave her money for gas b/c it was her mother’s car and she knew it needed gas.
      Leslie was very outgoing, friendly, and liked people. She liked antiquing and driving on back country roads.
      She played the piano and the viola. She had a great appreciation for music.
      Driving from Katonah to Armonk you could take 120 kings St, 684, whippoorwill, or saw mill. Knowing her Rte 120 Kings St. would be the most likely route for her to drive. I would be interesting in seeing the Kensico reservoir and Rye lake looked at. They are a few places with slippery road, high winds and cold weather you could go off the road and into the reservoir. It was a cold one, if if was frozen she may have slid a distance out then broke through and sank? The wind could cover the tracks really fast. I heard they searched a reservoir, not sure which one?
      I also wonder if any have been drained or dredged b/c you could rule that out.

    • Jen April 18, 2017 / 3:42 am

      Hi Peter, just to let you know. I am family member of Leslie’s, I should have started my comment with that.

      • Janet Guthrie August 17, 2018 / 4:15 pm

        Jen, I am also a family member. Leslie is my Aunt. Julie and Timmy are my cousins. May I ask how are you related? My Uncle, Julie and Timmy were visiting our family in Bethel CT when my Aunt Leslie called to have the kids dropped of in Katona.

      • Jenaflyr January 11, 2022 / 4:54 am

        Janet Guthrie

        Leslie is my Aunt too. Julie snd Timmy were my cousins too. I didn’t realize Tim and the kids were at his brothers farm in Bethel that same day. So, Leslie called there and then Timmy drove them to Katonah? I knew there was something to do with your brothers farm realize it was the same day.
        I hope we can touch base.

  9. marycarney April 16, 2012 / 10:32 pm

    As I’ve posted before, I think there are more than a few ‘disappeared off the face of the earth with their vehicle’ persons in bodies of water. My cousin WOULD have been one of those, except for a woman who was up in the middle of the night letting her dogs out heard the splash of his car hitting the water. (He was lost and drove down a boat ramp that looks EXACTLY like a two-land country road in the dark) He drowned before he could be located, but we are grateful to know his fate.

  10. Shelby November 30, 2012 / 6:27 pm

    I used to live off Route 120 and took the Saw Mill Parkway every day to Katonah to skate at the Harvey School Rink. There were ponds on both sides of the parkway near the exit I used to take, and when I went to White Plains, I would always take the Kensico route, coming out not too far from the area where the department stores were (Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and then, eventually, the Galleria Mall). I agree, she could have gone off the road into one of the many bodies of water in the area, or simply have missed a curve (of which there are many) and gone down an embankment in a wooded area. Many areas between White Plains and Katonah are still very wooded, and there are a good number of swamps off the Saw Mill, too.

  11. Shelby November 30, 2012 / 6:32 pm

    I should add that my mother knew George Primavera, the other MP mentioned in the article. Rumor had it at the time that his (former) business partner, with whom he had a dispute, had him killed on contract. My mother’s boss, who was a friend of Primavera’s, was so unnerved that he hired a receptionist and made their building buzzer-enter only after Primavera’s disappearance. Looking back at it, there may have been even more to the story. I was young at the time, but I still remember my mom’s disbelief when he disappeared. I wish I could remember the name and/or nature of his business.

      • Laura Smith May 28, 2015 / 8:03 am

        Thank You

  12. RA January 21, 2013 / 10:20 am

    George Primavera was my mothers cousin. He was an architect. And that is the story we got also, that there was a contract out on him. We were also told not to pursue it.

  13. laura April 3, 2013 / 9:26 pm

    I saw the picture of your mothers cousin on a missing persons web site. I noticed that he was the same height as a unidentified john doe found in Kingston, NY, about 6 months after Mr. Primavera went missing. The john doe was badly decomposed, and there wasn’t any facial reconstruction shown. There was a photo in his wallet of a man and a baby. Police don’t know if the picture is of the john doe or not. The body found was described as wearing nice clothing. Maybe you could take a look at it, if you haven’t already. I found the john doe story on the doe network.

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