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Arnold was a member of a prominent millionaire family in New York City in 1910. Her father was an established perfume importer and her family had high social standing as a result. Arnold was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and fluent in several languages, was attempting to gain notice as a writer. She resided with her family in a mansion on east 79th Street in the borough of Manhattan in 1910.
Arnold departed from her home during the morning hours of December 12; she told her mother she was going shopping for a new evening gown. Arnold's mother offered to accompany her but Arnold said she wanted to go alone. She walked to 5th Avenue and turned south. A clerk at the Park and Tilford's candy store who sold Arnold some chocolates at 1:45 p.m. said she was in good spirits. Arnold bought a book at Brentano's, a bookstore on 27th and Fifth, and had a chance encounter with a friend in the store; they chatted for a few minutes before Arnold left the establishment. She said she was going for a walk in Central Park. She was supposed to meet her mother for lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel that day but never kept the appointment. Arnold has never been heard from again. Her family believes she had approximately $25 or $30 in cash on her the day she vanished.
Arnold's parents did not initially worry when she did not return home that evening; they assumed she was spending the night with a friend. When she did not come home on the second night, her parents became concerned. Her family did not initially contact the police because they were afraid of negative publicity; they hired private investigators to search for her instead. No evidence was located as to her whereabouts, and when police were informed of her disappearance several months later, their search turned up nothing either. Arnold's father believed that she had been murdered and disposed of in a reservoir in Central Park in December 1910, but nothing was found to support his theory. Her disappearance was widely publicized and her photograph was published in newspapers all over the United States and in Europe, but the publicity yielded no viable yields.
In the investigation into Arnold's disappearance, it was discovered that she had rented a post office box in the months prior to vanishing. She kept the box's existence a secret from her loved ones. It is believed that Arnold used the box to keep rejected manuscripts from being found out by her family.
Griscom was in Florence, Italy in December 1910. He participated in the search for Arnold and stated that when she was found, he would marry her. Griscom denied any involvement in Arnold's disappearance and gave her family a letter she had written to him earlier in 1910. The note stated that one of her short stories had been rejected by the editorial staff of a magazine. Arnold insinuated that she was depressed as a result.
Authorities investigated the possibility that Arnold had staged her disappearance; before she vanished, she had asked to be allowed to move out of her parents' home and her father refused to let her go. However, the voluntarily disappearance theory was largely discredited as the months passed and none of Arnold's loved ones heard from her. Some people believed that Arnold committed suicide; others theorized she had been pregnant and died in a botched abortion. Area hospitals were checked for patients who fit Arnold's description, as some investigators thought she may have been injured and did not recall her identity. There was no evidence Arnold was admitted to any medical facility in New York City.
Arnold's case is no longer under investigation due to the amount of time that has passed since she vanished, but her disappearance remains unsolved.
Mysteries Of The Unexplained
by Helena Katz