When Mary Louise Day suddenly disappeared from her Seaside, California, home at the tender age of 13 on July 15, 1981, it was reportedly not very surprising to either of her legal guardians. After all, as carefully explored in ’48 Hours: What Ever Happened to Mary Day?,’ they not only didn’t raise any alarms through a missing person’s report but also didn’t talk about her for years to come. Thus, of course, they were immediately deemed people of interest once her case was brought to light in 2002 — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about them, we’ve got the details for you.
Who Are Charlotte Day and William Houle?
It was reportedly back on February 19, 1968, when Charlotte Pressler Day became a mother for the first time upon giving birth to a beautiful baby daughter named Mary in Little Falls, New York. She actually proudly shared her with her husband at the time, Charles Day, but things began wavering once they welcomed two more adorable little girls into their lives, Kathy as well as Sherrie. That’s because the toddlers were soon in and out of foster care as she couldn’t always afford to provide for them in the right manner, shortly following which she even divorced her husband.
The truth is Charlotte then became involved with a man named William Houle, who willingly enlisted into the army in 1975 and thus inadvertently helped her attain full, permanent custody of her kids. This worked out since the duo had already legally tied the knot, but Mary and Kathy were the only ones to return to their mother — their youngest sibling had been adopted by one of her foster families. Nevertheless, Sheerie managed not to lose touch with her birth brood even as the years passed, meaning she was rather well aware of their ensuing experiences in a blended household.
We say blended because Charlotte and William welcomed two kids of their own in the 1970s, daughter Billie Jeanne and son William Jr., while relocating from state to state per his stationing. Though little did anyone know things would soon get worse as the patriarch apparently began physically abusing Mary — it was so bad by December 1980 that child protective services had to be called. It thus comes as no surprise that when he was subsequently stationed in Fort Ord, California, the family moved there months before she was allowed to return to their care and be in his company.
What nobody realized is that Mary and William’s reunion would only cause more friction, just for it to result in a fight around June 15, 1971, and the former disappearing without a trace left behind. According to Kathy, she as well as her sister had stayed home on the fateful day while their guardians went out for dinner with their biological kids, only for the family dog to get incredibly sick at some point. So when everyone returned home, the soldier immediately assumed his eldest stepdaughter had poisoned him without any evidence and began violently yelling and beating her till the point her mouth bled.
The next morning, Mary was gone, and no one was even allowed to speak of her after Charollete asserted she’d run away – they didn’t call 911, file a missing person’s report, or anything. It was Sherrie who approached the authorities in 1992 as an adult before contacting them again for another investigation in 2002, during which Charlotte and William were considered people of interest from the get-go. With the former, once having claimed to her youngest that there were many locations in California where one could hide a corpse for good, it was as if they’d killed Mary and then moved on while trying to pretend she never existed.
Charlotte and William were hence brought in for questioning, only for their statements to further make investigators think Mary had actually been heinously murdered by the latter in 1981 itself. While almost every single one of the former’s remarks was found to either be baseless allegations or lies, the latter eventually conceded he had indeed hurt the 13-year-old over their loving dog that last night. He then told authorities he was 15 on an anger scale of 1-10, which is why when the youngster had tried to leave their Seaside house in the middle of their fight, he’d gone as far as to hit her with a martial arts chokehold.
Nevertheless, William clarified that although he doesn’t believe he could’ve killed Mary, his wife did later indicate to him he had “satan” in his eyes throughout the violent encounter. The then correctional officer essentially stated this demon inside him could’ve committed the offense, driving officials to return to the scene in 2003 with cadaver dogs who actually detected human remains in the area. A small child’s shoe was subsequently uncovered from deep within the dirt, on the basis of which local Californian authorities were ready to build a whole homicide case against both Charlotte as well as William.
Where Are Charlotte Day and William Houle Now?
While there’s no denying Charlotte and William faced life in prison if convicted, all suspicions against him were dropped shortly after Mary herself actually turned up in Arizona in November 2003. Although she couldn’t or didn’t want to recall precisely what’d transpired to her in the past 22 years, she did assert she had, in fact, run from home to get away from all the pain as well as dysfunction. There were some swirling theories that the couple had paid a complete stranger or a half-sibling to impersonate Mary, but even they were slashed down once DNA analysis confirmed she was who she said she was.
Since then, from what we can tell, it appears as if Charlotte and William have preferred to remain well away from the limelight in Kansas, where they’re surrounded by close relatives. It’s possible they’re now leading a good, stable, retired life, with the former likely earning a monthly pension from his last known job as an army soldier turned corrections officer. We unfortunately don’t know much else about them because they refuse to make any personal details public anymore or even give interviews regarding what they experienced in the past.