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Elizabeth was last seen in the front yard of her home in the 300 block of south Lorimer Street in Cape Girardeau, Missouri at 4:00 p.m. on June 13, 1965. She was carrying a small pail of sand at the time of her disappearance. She has never been heard from again. An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of her. Authorities at first believed she wandered away from home and fell into the Mississippi River a few blocks away, but this theory has since been discounted because Elizabeth would have had to cross streets and railroad tracks and then go down a bluff to reach the water's edge.
In 1970, Phillip Odell Clark, a Missouri man serving a life sentence for murder, told police he'd accidentally run over Elizabeth in his car and killed her on the day of her disappearance. He said he panicked and buried her body because he'd been drinking and was afraid he'd be charged in her death. A photo of Clark is posted below this case summary. He had murdered his ex-wife's grandmother in 1966 and held five other people hostage. Clark told several different stories about where he'd put Elizabeth's body, and investigators were unable to find any evidence to support his story about her. They concluded Clark's confession was a fabrication. In 1971, he killed a fellow prison inmate and was convicted of manslaughter. He was himself murdered in prison in 1977.
In 2010, forty-five years after Elizabeth's disappearance, authorities stated they were investigating her case as a non-family abduction. They suspect a group of drifters who were staying at a nearby motel might have kidnapped her. Twice before she disappeared, members of this group tried to beckon Elizabeth towards their car.
Elizabeth is the youngest of ten children. At the time she went missing, she was in the care of her older siblings while their mother took her father to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked. Elizabeth's father died in 1970 and two of her siblings are also deceased, but her mother and remaining seven brothers and sisters are still alive. Elizabeth may resemble one of her sisters; photographs of them as adults are posted below this case summary.