Elizabeth Ann Gill was just two years old when she disappeared from the front yard of her Cape Girardeau, Missouri, home on June 13, 1965. Although investigators initially believed she escaped the yard on her own and fell into the nearby Mississippi River, this theory was soon abandoned as evidence pointed towards an abduction.
The podcast ‘Dateline: Missing in America’ chronicles the shocking incident and even follows the police investigation that tried its best to locate the missing girl. If you are intrigued to know more about the case and want to learn if Elizabeth is still missing, we have you covered.
What Happened to Elizabeth Ann Gill?
Elizabeth Ann Gill was a lively and cheerful two-year-old who resided with her parents and nine other siblings in the small Mississippi River town of Cape Girardeau. Like most two-year-olds, Elizabeth was adored by her family and loved ones, who lovingly called her Beth. Moreover, while the toddler meant the world to her parents, reports mentioned that Elizabeth never cried when meeting strangers but would instead befriend them in an instant. Moreover, she was also pretty obedient, and her sister, Martha, insisted that Elizabeth never threw a fit or made others feel uncomfortable. However, like most children, she enjoyed playing with her siblings, and no one had any idea about the tragedy that would befall the little girl.
On June 13, 1965, the day Elizabeth went missing, Martha, her mother, and a few of her sisters were traveling from Chicago to Missouri while Elizabeth’s father had gone out of town on some business. However, the two-year-old was staying in the Cape Girardeau house with some of her elder siblings, and she was last seen playing by herself in the garden. Since Elizabeth’s siblings and a few of the neighborhood children were playing together, none of them were able to keep a watchful eye on the toddler. However, at around 4 pm in the afternoon, a few people noticed that Elizabeth was nowhere to be seen. Immediately, her siblings and their friends began combing through the nearby areas looking for the missing girl. They even went from door to door in order to see if Elizabeth had gone to the neighbor’s house, while one of the kids decided to inform the police. Hence, by the time Martha and her mother arrived at their house, the place was already swarming with law enforcement officers.
Once authorities took charge of the investigation, they organized several search parties and left no stone unturned in the search. They even used most facilities available at that time, while Elizabeth’s picture was sent to all the local police departments. However, days passed without any news of the missing girl, and Elizabeth’s family began fearing the worst.
Is Elizabeth Ann Gill Found or Missing? Is She Dead or Alive?
We are sorry to report that Elizabeth Ann Gill remains missing to this day, which makes her current status quite unclear. The day after Elizabeth went missing, a local auto parts dealer contacted the police about a suspicious couple staying at a nearby hotel. The dealer claimed the couple came to him for a car part replacement and assured him they would be in town for about a week. However, when the dealer tried to contact them about the part, he was shocked to learn that the two checked out of the hotel around the town Elizabeth went missing. When the police investigated this lead, they realized that the couple was using fake names in order to sell purses around the neighborhood where Elizabeth lived. Subsequently, the two-year-old’s family members and a few neighbors insisted they saw a woman selling purses near the Gill house. The woman in question was also seen talking to Elizabeth multiple times, although nothing seemed suspicious back then. Realizing this to be a promising lead, the police did everything in their power to locate the pair but ultimately hit a dead end.
A little more than a year after the kidnapping, Elizabeth’s father wrote a letter to then-President Lyndon Johnson requesting his permission to have the FBI work the case. However, the president turned down the request, even though he asked the FBI to add Elizabeth as a missing person to their file. Eventually, in 2003, Retired Cape Girardeau Police Department Detective Jimmy Smith renewed interest in the case by collecting DNA samples from Elizabeth’s family. However, he was shocked to learn that the original investigators did not collect much evidence from the scene of the kidnapping. Moreover, around 2010, the FBI decided to enter the investigation, and they even classified Elizabeth’s disappearance as a kidnapping. On the other hand, the missing person’s family tried to trace Elizabeth through several online ancestry sites, but to no avail.
Interestingly, when investigators poured through the letter Elizabeth’s father had written to Lyndon Johnson, they learned that the police initially suspected two different couples staying in the same motel. However, neither of them has been identified or tracked. Unfortunately, that was the last official update the case received, although the police still consider it an active investigation and have kept the tip lines open. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s family mentioned how they were contacted by two women, who both claimed to be the missing person, but a DNA result soon proved otherwise. Yet, they still hold out hope for Elizabeth’s safe return and even shared an age-progressed photo developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.