In 1965, 25-year old Mary Shotwell Little served as a secretary at the Citizens & Southern Bank in Atlanta. She had been wedded to her spouse, Roy Little, for six weeks. On October 14, while Roy was out of town. Mary had a feast with a co-worker at the Piccadilly Cafeteria in the Lenox Square Shopping Center. At 8:00 PM, Mary was noticed heading towards her parked car, a gray 1965 Mercury Comet.
When Mary did not show up for the job the next morning and could not be reached at the house, her boss, Gene Rackley, called the Lenox Square Shopping Center to inquire if her Mercury Comet was parked there, but they told they could not discover it. At around noon, Rackley traveled to the shopping center himself and discovered the Mercury Comet in the parking lot, so he informed the police. There would be a lot of extraordinary details surrounding Mary’s disappearance.
Mary, Car, And Bag
Women’s underwear, a slip, and a girdle were neatly folded inside the Comet. A bra was lying on the floorboard with a stocking that had been slash by a knife. Mary’s car keys, bag, and the rest of her clothes were nowhere to be discovered. There were signs of blood on the undergarments and throughout the car, along with an anonymous fingerprint in the blood on the steering wheel. Nonetheless, the amount of blood was small enough to indicate it had come from something as small as a nosebleed. Roy Little kept detailed mileage logs for the Comet and after correlating them with the odometer, detectives estimated there were 41 miles that could not be accounted for. No witnesses recalled noticing the vehicle parked at Lenox Square overnight, including a cop who patrolled the parking lot at 6:00 AM.
It turned out that Mary’s gasoline card was utilized twice in North Carolina on October 15. The first usage happened in the early morning hours in Charlotte (which happened to be Mary’s actual hometown) and the second happened 12 hours later in Raleigh. The credit slips were signed “Mrs. Roy H. Little Jr” in what seemed to be Mary’s handwriting. In both cases, the gas station helper recalled noticing a woman matching Mary’s explanation who avoided direct eye contact and seemed to be treating a slash on her head. She was accompanied by an anonymous male companion in Charlotte and two anonymous male companions in Raleigh, who appeared very controlling of her. Strangely, even though these sightings took place 12 hours apart, the drive from Charlotte to Raleigh takes minor than three hours.
Detectives looked at Mary’s husband, Roy Little, who did not extremely tense about his wife’s disappearance and rejected to take a lie detector test. Some of Mary’s friends hated Roy and denied to attend their marriage, but Mary always gave off the feeling she was pleased with her wedding. Roy had a rock-solid excuse since he was an hour outside of Atlanta on the night of Mary’s disappearance and since he also had no reasonable intention, he was ruled out as a suspect. Soon thereafter, Roy received an unidentified ransom call demanding a $20,000 for Mary’s recovery. The caller told Roy to go to an overpass in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, where additional instructions would be posted on a sign. An FBI agent went in Roy’s place and discovered a blank chunk of paper connected to this sign. The caller was never heard from again.
According to some of Mary’s companions, she was receiving calls at her workplace in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, which left her visibly concerned. On one occasion, Mary was overheard saying a caller: “I’m a married woman now. You can come over to my home any time you like, but I can’t come over there”. Mary also collected a dozen roses at her apartment from an unidentified secret admirer, but never told her spouse about this.
In addition, the Citizens & Southern Bank had recently hired a retired FBI agent to examine possible problems with lesbian sexual harassment and prostitution taking place on the bank’s property. Mary’s boss, Gene Rackley, asserted this was nothing more than a slight scandal involving low-level employees and that she never realized about it, but others alleged Mary had mentioned the inquiry to them. Despite these problems, Mary’s co-worker alleged she seemed to be in good spirits when they had feast together on the night she went missing.
A few days after Mary’s disappearance, a female came forward and reported that she had been accosted by a man with a brown crew cut in the Lenox Square parking lot on the evening of October 14. This man knocked on her car window to warn her the back tire was low, which turned out to be false. The incident happened only a few minutes before Mary was last noticed walking towards her car.
In 1966, the FBI interrogated an inmate at Georgia State Prison fulfilling a life verdict for killing, who alleged he knew two men who were paid $5,000 each to abduct Mary. They took him to a home in Mount Holly, North Carolina where Mary was being held captive and she was thereafter killed. The inmate claimed to have no indication who paid these two men or what the intention was. The FBI discounted this man’s story and did not find it reasonable, but cold case detectives have reexamined it in recent years.
In a creepy postscript, the female who took over Mary’s employment at the bank also wound up coming to be the victim of an unsolved killing! On May 19, 1967, 22-year old Diane Shields (who had recently left the bank and was working another job) left her workplace, but was discovered lifeless in the trunk of her vehicle many hours later. She had been strangled when a scarf and a piece of paper from a phone book were shoved down her throat. Diane was not sexually attacked and nothing was snatched from her, including her diamond engagement ring, so the intention for the killing was unfamiliar. According to Diane’s best friend, Diane had said her she was privately working undercover with the police to assist them solve the disappearance of a woman named “Mary”, but no official police record was ever discovered to substantiate this.
When the detective examining Diane Shields’ killing was quoted in the papers as telling he believed the case might be related to Mary Shotwell Little, he received from a call from Mary’s mum, who told she did not want the inquiry into her daughter’s disappearance to be followed any further. At the time, beliefs were sharply divided about Mary’s case within the police force. While some detectives felt Mary was kidnaped, others doubted that the spectacle inside her parked Mercury Comet was staged and that Mary vanished voluntarily.