Thinking aloud about Winifred Long

I updated Winifred Long‘s case today with info I snagged from a newspaper archive. The new information is pretty significant, I think.

The only obvious theory that presents itself here is that her husband killed her. I’m not saying that because I believe it — I believe nothing. I only think it would just be the simplest explanation.

Yet there is a problem with that: Mr. Long (his first name was Alvin, btw) was a war veteran and lost both of his legs to a grenade blast. His arms and hands worked just fine, well enough for him to make a living as a carpenter, so he could still have killed his wife. But I don’t think it would have been possible for him to dispose of the body so thoroughly without help.

And who knows, it could very well have NOT been him at all. Over a million couples get divorced per year; very few of those divorces result in murder. Perhaps Winifred met a random predator at the bus stop; perhaps he offered her a ride home in his car and that’s why she didn’t buy a ticket.

What I would REALLY like to know is this: did the police test-drive Winifred’s car? And if they did, did the car in fact have a faulty transmission?

Australian woman found over 50 years after she disappeared

In late 1962, a Melbourne, Australia woman named Janina Wojcik told her husband she was going away on an extended vacation. She was in her forties at the time. A few months later, she still hadn’t sent word or returned home, so her family reported her missing. The investigation went nowhere, the case went cold and Janina’s husband eventually died without ever finding out what happened to her.

Well, the police just confirmed that they’ve located Janina and she died in Canberra, Australia (something like six and a half hours’ drive from Melbourne) of natural causes in 2010, at the age of 87.

Janina was used to moving around: she became a displaced person in Europe in World War II, then emigrated to Australia. It appears she left with another man, whom she married in 1977, and they lived together until his death in 1994. There is no mention of any children from her first marriage, and by the time of her second I would think she’d have been too old.

As longtime readers of this blog well know, I think walking out on your family without even leaving a goodbye note saying it’s not foul play is an awful thing to do. But I am trying to cut Janina some slack here: she was a victim of war, apparently traumatized; one of the articles quoted a niece saying she “suffered from paranoia.” I’m glad, anyway, that from all appearances she went to a better life and wasn’t murdered.

This reminds me of similar cases where adults left of their own accord and turned up many decades later, and they’re either alive and well or they lived out their lives and died at a ripe old age years before: the Rains-Kracman/Uphoff case, the Gavin case, the Johnson case, etc.

A few articles:

Woman who vanished from her Melbourne home 54 years is found dead aged 87 in Canberra

Police say missing Altona woman died in Canberra six years ago

Mysterious Altona woman disappeared and created a new life for herself interstate

Some very cold cases

They’re still trying to find Eileen Williams, a nineteen-year-old girl from Ontario, Canada who disappeared while hitchhiking to Prince Edward Island in 1962:

Police all but rule out the possibility Williams either committed suicide or simply chose to deliberately disappear on her own to never be found by friends or family. The most practical assumption, a former detachment commander for Montague RCMP told The Guardian a few years back, is that the young woman was picked up while hitchhiking and met her untimely end some point thereafter at the hands of the driver and/or other occupants of the vehicle.

And they’re searching for a girl who’s been missing from Oroville, California since 1973. She was fifteen at the time and lived in a group home. She was listed as a runaway, but the cops got a tip that her body was buried in the foundation of a local home, and they’re digging. I wish they would release the MP’s name. I have no idea who she is and I’m quite sure she’s not one of my cases.

And they’re still trying to identify Princess Doe, a teenage girl who was found brutally murdered in a cemetery in Blairstown, New Jersey in 1982. For awhile they thought it was Diane Dye, who ran away from California in 1979, but she’s been ruled out. They have a pretty good idea who Princess Doe’s killer is, but no idea who she herself is. I’m confident they can give a name to her. After all, they were able to identify Dorothy Gay Howard 55 years after her death.