Back in 2016, I wrote about one of Georgia's most iconic and unsolved missing persons cases - - the 1965 disappearance of Mary Shotwell Little. That post can be found here.
Poking around online to see if there had been any updates, I came across a local news story from November (found here) in which it was stated that former police officer John Fedack, along with a dozen retired detectives, profilers and prosecutors, have gained the cooperation of the Atlanta Police Department, along with their existing files, to review the case and, hopefully, solve it. Interestingly, the dozen or so persons who are working with Fedack have chosen to remain anonymous due to the "nature of this case."
I have to wonder what that means exactly. This case is more than 52 years old. Why the anonymity? Unless, of course, any suspect or suspects may be the bigwigs or big fish I alluded to back in 2016 . . .
Regardless, I still believe Mary Shotwell Little's disappearance was and is connected to the murder of Diane Shields in May of 1967. There are simply too many coincidences - - Diane taking over Mary's position at C&S Bank after Mary's disappearance, Diane rooming with the same friends Mary did, Diane being two months away from marrying, Mary being a newlywed of only six weeks, Diane allegedly receiving mystery flowers in the week before she died, as Mary did - - to say they are not.
I still think both women had a stalker. In my initial post, I theorized that stalker could be a man who either worked at C&S or worked with C&S, which would put him in close proximity with both Mary and Diane. One thing I didn't consider at the time was that the stalker could have been a woman.
Homosexuality was much less understood in 1965. A female who developed an unnatural fixation on Mary would have been just as frustrated as a man; maybe more so. A lesbian may have been looked upon as being "sick," "unnatural," or even mentally ill. Could such a person have attempted to reach out to Mary and, after being rebuffed, exploded in a violent rage? Could such a person have reacted with jealousy over Mary's recent marriage to Roy Little? And could this person, nearly two years after Mary's disappearance, have felt the same attraction to Diane Shields? Could Diane then have fallen victim to the same rage and frustration?
Since Mary was never found, it's not known if she was sexually assaulted -- but Diane was not. This could certainly fit a particular type of male stalker but it could also nicely fit into that of a female.
A female perp would also be much lower on the list for the PD, if at all. Most were convinced that if Mary was indeed abducted, it was by a man and for the purpose of a sexual assault.
Another thing that continues to stick with me is the report that Mary's mother asked the detectives to cease their investigation in 1967, only two years after Mary went missing. I find that baffling. Not knowing what has happened to your loved one must be far worse than having the closure of knowing, no matter how painful. Why would a parent do this?
Well, for one - - because you know where your child is. That would suggest that Mary organized her own disappearance, involved her family in it, and her family continued the subterfuge to the authorities. Could she have done this? Of course, anything is possible. For what reason? As previously speculated, she certainly could have found something very unsavory or dangerous going on at C&S and felt her life was in danger. It's extreme, sure, but weirder things. Perhaps then Diane Shields, in taking over Mary's job, also stumbled upon the same mess and was not fortunate enough to extricate herself from it. If this did happen, Mary has managed to remain hidden for over half a century.
A further reason for Mary's mother to request a halt on the investigation would be in order to save another child. She's lost one and she doesn't want to lose another. That would indicate that one of Mary's siblings had killed her, the rest of the family knew and were circling around to protect that sibling. Possible? Sure. But I don't think it happened in this case.
By all accounts, Mary had a solid, loving relationship with all members of her family. There is no account of any friction, other than a tale of Mary wanting to go to New York at one point prior to her move to Atlanta and her parents refusing. She didn't mention anything to her husband, her co-workers or her girlfriends. And a family dispute would not explain the telephone calls or the flowers.
I guess it's possible that the Shotwell family, by 1967, had already emotionally buried Mary and simply wanted to move forward.
|Decatur, where Mary lived, in 1965|
So let's go back to the female stalker/admirer theory. If it was a woman and a woman who killed Mary out of jealousy, anger, frustration or anything else, could she have pulled this off? Yes. Especially if she had help - - like brothers, male relatives or friends. She could have driven Mary's car back to the lot at Lenox. She could have left a few items of Mary's clothing behind, neatly folded, in order to insinuate that an attack had taken place. She could have been the mystery woman in North Carolina. Why North Carolina? She could have known it was Mary's home state and was attempting to throw the investigation off track, out of Atlanta and away from her.
And perhaps the same thing went down with Diane Shields. Perhaps there was help with Diane as well, or perhaps help wasn't available this time and that's why Diane was left in the trunk of her car.
|The Belvedere Apartments, Mary's home, today|
This case continues to mystify, confuse and sadden me. I would like to see justice done for Mary, if she did not leave under her own accord, and for Diane.