A long-ago disappearance and a repressed memory

I wrote up the case of Maxine Beatrice Green last night. The details, if true, are pretty horrifying. According to Maxine’s daughter Norma, her ex-husband, Hobart, raped Maxine and beat and strangled her to death and buried her body in a river bottom.

The problem with Norma’s story is that she says she repressed the memory and it only came back to her 25 years after the fact, and she has exactly zero hard evidence to support it.

That Norma herself believes the murder happened is evident in the fact that, after the police wouldn’t listen to her, she used her own money to have the alleged burial site excavated. That Hobart murdered his wife I can also well believe; he was a demonstrably violent man who later beat his baby son to death and buried the body on his farm.

But nothing turned up at Norma’s excavation site except a few buttons and some animal bones. They should have found at least Maxine’s purse, or part of it, or some of the contents of it, as Norma remembers the purse being buried with her mother.

It’s possible, I suppose, that every part of Norma’s story is correct EXCEPT the burial site. But I have some other questions:

  1. What about Norma’s sister, who was also alleged to be present at the murder and burial? What is she saying? How old was she at the time; was she old enough to remember any of this?
  2. What about Hobart’s girlfriend, who was also said to have been there? She is unnamed in the news articles. Does Norma know her identity, and was she ever interviewed?
  3. Maxine and Hobart had four other children. Where were they on the night in question, and do they remember anything?

I think Hobart must be dead by now. I can find no record of his death, but he’d be nearly 90 today and I can’t find him listed as an inmate in the Missouri Department of Corrections database.

Given how old the case is, and how Hobart was already in prison for life, I can understand that the police were reluctant to invest a lot of resources in this. But six children grew up with their mother, and it would be nice to know why, and where she is now.

Let’s talk about it: Ann Marie Burr

This week’s “let’s talk about it” case is the abduction of eight-year-old Ann Marie Burr from her home in Tacoma, Washington on August 31, 1961.

WHAT happened is clear enough. This is an “every parent’s nightmare” scenario: a child taken from her own home in the middle of the night, never to be seen or heard from again. The mystery here is WHO DID IT. Because there are a lot of people who believe, with very good reason, that little Ann Marie was a then-teenage Ted Bundy’s first victim.

Ted knew Ann and her family and lived just blocks from their home. He was only fourteen years old at the time of her abduction, but it’s not unheard of for a serial killer to begin at that age, and Ted was extraordinary even by serial killer standards. Independent evidence — the size of the footprint outside the Burr family’s living room window — suggests whoever took Ann was young.

Ann Rule herself, Bundy’s biographer and onetime friend, believed Ted was involved. In her book — if I recall correctly, I read it several years ago and no longer have a copy — she said someone had contacted her once claiming they had been a high school classmate of Ted’s and at one point Ted invited to take this person “to see a body.”

The whole “did he or didn’t he?” question has occupied the minds of Bundy hobbyists since his serial murder career exploded onto the national news in the 1970s and 1980s. I don’t really have a strong opinion on the subject and I don’t pretend to be an expert on Bundy.

Rebecca Morris published a book about it, Ted and Ann, in 2013. I read it and thought it was excellent, and it’s got 4 of 5 stars on Amazon with 251 reviews. I highly recommend the book; if you’ve got a Kindle it costs just $4.99.

So do you guys think Ted Bundy took Ann, or do you believe it was someone else entirely? Let’s talk about it.

Select It Sunday: Iva Foss

Chosen by Becki, this week’s Select It Sunday case is Iva Mildred Foss, who was 60 when she vanished from Johnstown, a small community in eastern New York. It’s one of Charley’s older cases; she’s been missing for 54 years this week. They’re pretty sure they know what happened to Iva. I would still like to know more about this case, however. For example, was her car ever found? And since they seem to have the specifics of her (presumed) death, then, did any criminal charges result?

Flashback Friday: John Butler

This week’s Flashback Friday is John Arthur Butler, a tall, skinny fifteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Newport Beach, California on August 21, 1961 — nearly 53 years ago. If still alive, he’d be almost 68 today. He’s not the only John Butler on Charley; there’s also a John Clifton Butler, much older, also missing from California.

Young John’s case was added to the NCMEC a few years ago and he has an AP now as well as two pictures. I don’t have much on him, but his fate is pretty obvious: last seen surfing. Surfboard found but no sign of surfer. I suppose it’s possible he met with some other fate, but the circumstances strongly indicate he drowned.

Woman missing for over half a century is found alive

Lucy Johnson, who disappeared from Surrey, British Columbia all the way back in 1961, has been found alive. The police had thought her husband killed her — he didn’t report her disappearance for four years, which naturally looks suspicious — but it seems she took off on her own and started another family. She is 77 years old and lives up north in the Yukon now. That province borders Alaska, where Lucy was originally from.

Lucy Johnson’s husband died in the nineties, but she has two children and her daughter is still alive; I’m not sure about her son. From the article I can’t tell if they have reunited or not. If I were her children I would be both happy and angry. I don’t have a lot of respect for anybody, man or woman, who walks out on their kids without a word.

This case reminds me very much of Ragna Esther Gavin, another long-term missing and presumed woman who turned out to have simply walked out of her life. Yet another reminder that with the missing, you can never really give up hope.