Body of Kidnapped Girl Found in Riverbed


Feb. 4, 1942, Missing Girl Found

Feb. 4, 1942: “As Coroner R.E. Williams and his aides bore the pitiful little body, still clad in her gay blue and white striped red school dress, toward town for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, the hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers turned in cold fury to the grim job of tracking down her murderer.”

Shirley Marie Bell, 6, was found in Cajon Wash, strangled with her jump rope. She was apparently abducted on her way to school. Several people reported seeing her on the handlebars of a bicycle ridden by a man headed for the desert. She was crying, one rancher said.

Searchers found the tracks of a man and a child leading into the desert. Then signs of a scuffle and Shirley’s lunchbox.

As news of the tragedy spread among the searchers and onlookers, angry mutterings that the murderer should pay with his life on the end of a rope swelled through the crowd. Sheriff [Emmet L. ] Shay said nothing at this but directed his deputies to be on the alert to guard the life of the suspect, if and when found.

Several men were questioned in the case, and in 1946 suspect John William Carlson showed a surprising amount of knowledge about the incident, although he eventually recanted his story. The killing was never solved.

“It Started With Eve” is opening at the Pantages Hollywood and RKO Hill Street, with “Confessions of Boston Blackie.”

Jimmie Fidler says: Nelson Eddy, who stands so erect, sprawls on chairs and divans.

Feb. 4,1 1942, Missing Girl Feb. 4,1 1942, Missing Girl

Feb. 4, 1942, Girl Strangled
Feb. 4, 1942, Missing Girl
Feb. 4, 1942, Missing Girl
Feb. 4, 1942, Missing Girl

Feb. 4, 1942, It Started With Eve

Feb. 4, 1942, Jimmie Fidler

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1942, A Kinder, Simpler Time, Art & Artists, Cold Cases, Columnists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Homicide, Jimmie Fidler, World War II and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Body of Kidnapped Girl Found in Riverbed

  1. CatM says:

    The bad old days. Child killers all seem to be cut from the same cloth when it comes to dispatching their victims, like they all get a manual for their birthday or something. It’s terrible that the killer was never apprehended, even more tragic that he was never apprehended and then SHOT.


  2. T. Mueller says:

    This was my Great-Aunt. Although NUMEROUS people were questioned & even charged over a period of 5 years, nothing ever came of it & the case ran cold. I remember hearing this story often growing up. It was told to all of us kids as a cautionary “stranger danger” tale. My Grandfather used to choke up every time he told it.


Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s