I have always had an interest in cases involving strange disappearances. To me, there is something eerie about a person just vanishing. I have been to places where lost or missing people were last seen, and there is just something weird about being in a place like that. I am still committed to driving down to Ocilla, Georgia where Tara Grinstead disappeared so that I can drive by her house. However, since I posted that article on Halloween Day, I have received several comments at the site, as well as several emails about her disappearance. One gentleman, who like me has always been interested in strange disappearances, emailed me about another case that happened right here in Atlanta.
On October 14, 1965, Mary Shotwell Little disappeared. She was a secretary for the C&S Bank, which is now Bank of America. Mary had recently been married to a bank examiner and was living with him in an apartment in Dekalb County. Mary did not have any children. She was 25 years old, a sweet person, hard worker, and loyal employee. She and a coworker went to dinner the night she disappeared, and the last her friend saw of her was when she was walking back to her car in the Lenox Square parking lot in Atlanta. Before going to eat with her friend she had purchased groceries and put them in her car.
When Mary did not show up to work the next morning, her boss asked about her, and her friend with whom she had dinner the night before told him where she had seen her last. Her boss phoned the security personnel at Lenox Square and asked them to see if her car, a pearl gray 1965 Mercury Comet, was still parked in the lot. No car was found matching that description. Calls to her home went unanswered. Her boss got worried. Roy Little, her husband, was contacted, and he immediately returned home from a banking trip south of Atlanta. Around the middle of the day, Little's boss became annoyed that he had not heard anything, so he decided to drive over to Lenox Square to see if he could find her or her car. He found her car parked in the yellow lot. What he found inside seemed to come straight out of a nightmare. The groceries she had purchased the night before were still in the car undisturbed. There were bloodstains in the vehicle, and there was a pair of women's underwear in the console, neatly folded.
The case was turned over to Lt. Jack Perry of the Atlanta Police Department. Detective Perry was a well-respected, well-known homocide detective with a high success rate in breaking cases such as this. Upon investigating, Perry found out that Little had been receiving flowers from an unknown person days before her disappearance. She had also recently been receiving phone calls at work that seemed to upset her. She was heard saying that the person calling could come by and see her whenever he/she liked, but that she could not come over there. She was also heard to say, "I'm a married woman now." Who this was, and where "there" was, noone ever knew. She did not speak about these phone calls at all with her friends, family, or coworkers. In addition, Mary had been making weird statements in the days before her disappearance, saying she was afraid to be home alone and in her car alone. Noone knew if she was just being paranoid, or if she was having problems with her husband. Her husband was never really a suspect because he had an airtight alibi and would not have profited at all from her disappearance.
A month after her disappearance, Perry learned that Little's credit card had been used in North Carolina. This was a big lead. Little was originally from Charlotte and had family there. Perry thought that Little might have returned to her hometown without telling anyone. However, the strange fact remained that her car had been returned to where she had disappeared and she had left her groceries in the car. Also, why were various pieces of women's undergarments with bloodstains on them still in the car, folded neatly between the console at that? In addition, police had discovered that there was a thin red film all over her car, as if she had been down a dirt road. Even more perplexing was that the car was not there early the morning after she disappeared when her boss called Lenox Square security, but when he drove over there himself, it was back in the lot as described above. Had someone driven off in her car after she finished dinner with her friend and then driven it back before her boss arrived on the scene at midday? This was strange. Perry learned that the first time her card had been used was in Charlotte in the early morning hours of October 15th, not long after she had disappeared from Atlanta. Whoever got her, or if she left herself, must have driven very quickly to Charlotte, as it is a long drive from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, especially given that the highway system in 1965 was not what it is today. Then the question arises, "Did Mary then turn around and drive the car back to Atlanta?" If so, why? She could not have, for a few hours after her card had been used in Charlotte at a gas station, it was used again in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her signature appeared on both receipts, and authorities and family members confirmed that the signature was hers.
Perry decided that he had better go to Charlotte and Raleigh to interview the gas station attendants to see if they remembered anything about the transactions. Surprisingly they did. The gas station attendant at Charlotte said that he remembered a woman using the card, but that she had a cut on her head, was trying to hide her face, and seemed to be traveling with a man who was giving her orders. The gas station attendant in Raleigh told Perry that he remembered helping a woman who was traveling with two men, and that she was bloody, even having blood on her legs. Once again, Perry was stupified.
The Mary Shotwell Little case was never solved, and furthermore, the police file on her is missing. Jack Perry never could get over the fact that this was the one case he could not solve at all. He died of cancer in July 1995, never knowing what happened to Mary Little. She had no enemies, was not disliked by many people at all, and had no criminal or sordid past. There are some theories out there that she suffered from a psychological disorder and made herself disappear. You can click on this link for a website run by a researcher who contacted me via email about the Tara Grinstead case and believes that Grinstead and Little suffered from the same disorder and that this caused their disappearances. Here it is: http://www.visionandpsychosis.net/Mary_Shotwell_Little_Diane_Shields.htm
There is another site that includes a nice article about the disappearance; it was written by a journalist and researcher. http://www.buckhead.net/history/mystery/msl_a.html
I doubt that Mary Shotwell Little is still alive, but it is possible that the psychological disorder theory is plausible. I would love to hear ideas about this.