Evelyn Grace Hartley
Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: October 24, 1953 from La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: November 21, 1937
Weight: 126 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown; short.
Eye Color: Blue
Clothing: Red denim "White Stag" jeans that zipped up on the side,
a pearl buttoned white "Ship n' Shore" blouse, and white bobby socks. Around
the pants was an Indian beaded belt with a metal buckle. She wore glasses.
Case Number: 53-1543
Details of Disappearance
Evelyn Hartley was last seen in La Crosse, Wisconsin on October 24, 1953. She was baby-sitting at the home of a UW-La Crosse professor on Hoeschler Drive when she disappeared. She had babysat there once before. That Saturday night was the night of the big La Crosse State Homecoming game against River Falls.
When she didn't call home at the usual time, her father, Dr. Richard T. Hartley, drove to the professor's house at 9:20pm, but found only the 20-month-old baby that Evelyn had gone to tend. The only things searchers found were Evelyn's glasses, her shoes and some blood on the ground outside the house where she was babysitting. Nothing was stolen from the house.
The abducter entered the house through an unlocked basement window. A neighbor nearby recalled hearing screams at around 7:00pm. The investigators allege that Hartley was dragged down the basement by the attacker. They found evidence that she was pushed up through the basement window and taken away. The attacker had to have a car because the trail went cold for the bloodhounds on Coulee Drive.
Although one witness said he thought he saw a man carrying a drunk girl near the Rasmusen's and another witness saw a 1941 or 1942 brown Buick, these stories could not be confirmed.
Hartley was a Central High School sophomore at the time and was described as a good student and a responsible person. She was from a religious family and sang in the choir at church. She also played piano. She did not date as she thought she was too young. She lived in a a two story shingled home on 1533 Johnson Street, with her parents and younger sister, Carolyn. Hartley never was found, though there was an intensive search.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
La Crosse Police Department
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) – Monday, March 17, 2003