Actual Factual Georgia: Mary Little’s disappearance remains a mystery

Q: Mary Little disappeared years ago from Lenox Square. Was she found or has there been any information found out about her?

—Margaret Martin, Lawrenceville

A: This case has confounded professional and amateur investigators for 50 years. Hundreds of theories and ideas have been discussed, lead after lead has gone nowhere and tons of articles have been written, but Mary Shotwell Little has been missing since vanishing from the Lenox Square parking lot on Oct. 14, 1965.

There were plenty of clues, but none of them have led law enforcement authorities to discovering her fate.

Little’s car was found in the Lenox Square parking lot the day after her disappearance. It included underwear that had been recently worn and specks of blood (probably hers, tests revealed) on the driver’s door handle, the passenger’s window and on the front seats.

There were grass clippings in some of the blood and a red dust covered the 1965 silver Mercury Comet.

Was the 25-year-old bank employee abducted from the parking lot? Was she taken someplace and the kidnapper drove the car back to Lenox Square? Or was this Little’s elaborate ploy to slip away and head back to her native North Carolina?

Investigators later realized the Comet might have been driven 41 miles after the abduction and then returned to Lenox Square. The ensuing search involved thousands of folks and many suspects were questioned, including Little’s husband, Roy, who was out of town on business the day she disappeared. They had been married six weeks when she went missing.

Mary’s friends didn’t like Roy, and investigators thought he “wasn’t right for some reason,” a retired Atlanta detective told the AJC in 1995, but the police couldn’t implicate him.

A thorough 2004 AJC article that included interviews with law enforcement agents and people surrounding the case, also mentioned that Little’s signature was found on two credit card gas receipts in North Carolina the day after she disappeared, another lead that only added to the complexity of the case.

Retired FBI agent Jim Ponder was 83 then and still had a copy of the case file.

He thinks an unidentified man who was seen in the Lenox Square parking lot on the night Little disappeared “probably” grabbed her, “drove her somewhere, raped her and then brought her back to Lenox and switched cars. Then he drove her to North Carolina. I imagine she’s buried in the woods somewhere north of Raleigh.”