January 26, 2018

Updates on the Mary Shotwell Little Case



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.

Would Mary have been afraid or hesitant to go with another female that night?  What if she had seen someone she  knew, or encountered a woman who asked for help?  Sure, today we might be more wary but this was 1965.

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
I think the biggest problem, the biggest question, in this case is the North Carolina connection.  If someone did abduct Mary, why take her to North Carolina?  If indeed they did.  The mystery woman in both Esso gas stations could never positively be identified as Mary Shotwell Little.  The attendants never got a good look at her, as she kept her face down.  If it was Mary, why didn't she cry out for help?  Try to make a run for it?   The credit card slips, using Mary's credit card, were supposedly in Mary's handwriting, identified by her family.  But was it possible her family was mistaken?  Was it possible they wanted to believe she was alive so badly they convinced themselves it was Mary's writing?  Could it have been someone who had seen Mary's writing and was able to duplicate it enough to get by?

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
I do think everyone close to both Mary and Diane should have been thoroughly investigated.  Mary's husband was out of town the night she vanished - - if her abductor was indeed a stalker, I think he or she knew that.  Mary wasn't grabbed outside her apartment or taken from inside her home, while her husband was gone.  She was taken the one night she went out during his trip.  And he was due back the following day.  The co-worker she dined with that night absolutely knew that.  Was she investigated?   We only have her say so that she and Mary parted company after eating and some brief window shopping, with Mary heading to her car in the Yellow Lot alone.  

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.


16 comments:

  1. Mary was a distant cousin of mine and I have always been interested in this case. I was born in the year she disapeared so I have no personal knowledge of her or her family. What intriges me is that her father according to his 1940 draft registration, worked for The National Gypsum co which was located at the C&S Bank in Atlanta which is where Mary ended up working. If there was something criminal going on and the family new then maybe they helped her to disapear. Also her mothers obituary does not mention Mary in any manner, so if Mary ran off with someone she may have been disowned. Or her sister Judy who did the obituary did not want to mention her. Just a couple other angles.

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    1. Hi Windy,
      I'm sorry for your family's loss. I can't imagine having a family member just disappear.

      Thank you for the information on Mary's father. It does shed a new possibility on her disappearance. I have always been baffled as to why, only two years into her missing persons investigation, her mother would ask the police to stop looking. If they knew she had voluntarily disappeared, that could explain it.

      Also of note is that Mary's mother's obituary does not even mention Mary? I suppose Judy could have considered that since Mary's whereabouts are currently unknown, she didn't want to mention her but it does seem a little odd.

      Thank you for stopping by and posting. I hope Mary's case will be solved.

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    2. Prostitution and money laundering was big with the Dixie mafia that existed in those day's. Corruption even in the police department existed then. Maybe a connection existed at the bank and both discovered something while working there. Sounds to me both women knew the person well.

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    3. We are no longer anonymous. If you listen to the award winning podcast Five Roses, you will hear from all of us. Also, we have separated the cases. We have determined that there is nothing But a minor connection between the two crimes. We have new information that we cannot share. There is a new Facebook page Justice Waiting:The Murder of Diane Shields. A new email: tellmeaboutdiane@yahoo.com.

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  2. Makes you wonder if she knew something and was put into Witness Protection.

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    1. My gut tells me Mary has been dead a long time but anything is possible. I guess it would depend on if there was something going on at the bank. It's certainly a mystery.

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  3. This was well written.

    After reading these two posts about this case, I can only draw the same conclusion - conspiracy to commit murder. The trip to North Carolina was a red herring. It was to throw off the investigation so no one could connect the dots. Whether C&S Bank had a hand in her disappearance, her supervisor specifically, or a personal confrontation with a previous lover was responsible, the mystery still lingers.

    While it's horrible to not know the exact fate of Mary Little, it does bring a different perspective on the possible theories that may have unfolded. Her mother demanding law enforcement to cease the investigation almost speaks of a possible cover-up, a trail that most likely leads back to the family. Perhaps this entire debacle was family related. Sometimes, and I don't mean every case, but a majority of cases involved someone close to the victim.

    With how well you deduced the possible outcome of this case, I think you should consider writing a book about it.

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    1. Thank you so much! Wow, what a compliment - - I hadn't thought about writing a book on this case but you never know.

      Really sad that there was no closure on Mary's case for her friends and family. We can only hope that there will be. Better delayed closure than none at all.

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  4. Greetings...I have a question regarding Roy (Mary’s husband). I have repeatedly read that he “was out of town on business” but that is all. There is very little elaboration on his whereabouts. I have read that the he was heavily looked at as a suspect-so I’m curious as to why there is very little about him. A Reddit user claimed to be the babysitter for Roy & his second wife (Wanda?) & their children & claimed Roy was VERY controlling & uncomfortable to be around. His second wife left him. Is there more information on Roy’s alibi floating around somewhere other than “the police cleared him-he was out of town”? If Roy was in fact controlling perhaps her family did help Mary disappear in order to get away? Maybe Roy (or whoever was looking for Mary) tried to get information out of Diane about Marys whereabouts & was killed when she couldn’t provide Mary’s whereabouts? Just a thought. On another note: I, too, found the desire of the investigators currently working on Mary’s case to stay anonymous EXTREMELY interesting...& a bit strange. Thanks for reading!

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    1. The AJC reported at the time that Roy was in auditors training for the bank in Lagrange, GA with several other co-workers. He had to be summoned back to Atlanta when Mary went missing.

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    2. One of the worst things that has happened in this Little case is that Roy has carried a cloud over his head that is totally unwarranted. His reputation needs to be rehabilitated in his lifetime. Hopefully soon.

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  5. I was a child when this happened but it still interests me such a strange happening. If I remember correctly a woman Susan Doty went missing from Sears in Buckhead also about this time. Hope one day it will be solved

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    1. I hadn't heard of Susan Doty but I will definitely look into it. Thank you!

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    2. I googled Susan Doty, as I had never heard of the case either. From what I could find she was found a short time after she went missing and a man named Larry Davis was convicted of her murder.

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  6. Lori, I am so glad that you are showing the attention to this past horror that was so easily forgotten. Yes, you should write a book. Diane Shields was my first cousin. She was a beautiful, caring, sensitive but naive in some ways having come from a small country town. I don't know how long it was after she moved in with the girls where Mary had lived but she soon moved into her sister's apartment in Atlanta. I am sure that her sister knew why but I never heard why. Since I have worked for a group of executives that owned allot of property in Kentucky and three banks, I have a theory about what may have happened to Diane and Mary. They may have found the bank was laundering money and were asked to do some things they knew were illegal as a cover-up. Maybe one of the girls Diane roomed with was involved with a big shot in the bank or owner of bank. She went along with the laundering and knew about how they were doing it. She heard Mary or Diane discussing it with the girls and told the (Big Fish) and it was decided they had to go. I can associate through my experience in working as an executive assistant for the owners of 3 banks and several shopping centers and equine centers in Kentucky. I was naive too. I had had no experience with such high rollers that owned so much properties and banks. Soon one bank was found to be under-capitalized which brought the attention to the FBI. By that time I realized I was working for Mafia and found another job. I could tell you more of the cover-up and how they reacted when being caught. One man was found dead in his car in a lake in Zurich Switzerland. Of course, they went by his teeth to identify him. Another story. At any rate, Jake......from Tennessee was running the same racket and got caught. Unfortunately, some of these guys bought their way out of their situation. I don't know how but I feel I am fortunate to be alive because I could have told a story of a big cover-up but left before all this went to court. And this is why I think Diane and Mary were killed. The Big Shots who owned the bank controlled the Presidents of the bank. The Presidents were merely puppets to do as they were told. This is why I think Diane and Mary are dead. Incidentally, Sandra Shields Holder, Diane's sister left Atlanta soon after this to go back to her hometown where she felt safe. And I am sure those executives have gone on to have a great life. My sorrow will always be with me over Diane. Thanks for caring and writing but be careful what you may uncover. I am sure there are probably families that know what these men did and they don't want to ruin their stellar reputation.

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    1. Anonymous, I am so sorry for your loss. I know it must be compounded by the fact that Diane has not received justice by having her killer held accountable. Hopefully one day . . .

      I feel fairly certain that Mary and Diane were connected and fell victim to the same person or persons. Again, I hope that one day justice will be obtained for them.

      Thank you for posting. You might be 100 percent correct on what led to the sad circumstances. Here's hoping we'll get an answer to this troubling case.

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