Missing: Loy Gillespie Evitts

Loy Gillespie Evitts/Grid AdS

Loy Gillespie Evitts (Dec 12, 1947 – missing Feb 28, 1977) disappeared more than 40 years ago. She was 29 years old.

Introduction

The Kansas City Police Department (MO) think that someone abducted Loy. This is their longest unsolved missing person’s case.

There are no new leads. They have suspended the case until they receive new information.

Police have eliminated Loy’s husband as a suspect. Thanks to him, we have Loy’s DNA in the NamUs database.

The Case

Loy disappeared from Kansas City, Missouri. This article describes the case well. In this post I just wish to discuss every question mark that popped up when I read about Loy’s case. If you have links to articles where some of my questions are answered please contact me so I can update this post.

Loy left for lunch between 3-4pm from the Miller & O’Loughlin Law Firm at the Plaza Center Building parking garage. Loy had just started working at the law firm as a legal secretary. In fact, she had been there for just a month.

I saw comments online about possible law partners or their clients who could have something to do with her disappearance. Depending on what her tasks were, who she worked for precisely, or what her privileges were inside the firm (e.g. attending all meetings or not, etc.) her work may not have anything to do with her disappearance.

Loy’s husband is Donald Evitts. They lived in Overland (Kansas) which is near Kansas City (Missouri) where Loy worked. From the papers we know this about their relationship:

The couple met in their hometown of Coffeyville in southeast Kansas. He was 19 and she was 17. They went on their first date on Nov. 4, 1965, when they went to the movies to see “Cat Ballou.” They continued to see each other while Donald earned an undergraduate degree at Pittsburg State University. In 1968, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and shipped to fight in the Vietnam War.

Back home, Loy Evitts went to study nursing in Tulsa, Okla., before she transferred to Kansas State University, where she majored in retail. Evitts let her drive his Firebird while he was overseas and wrote every week. Loy decorated a bulletin board she kept in her dorm room with his military photos.

They got married in a small ceremony on Nov. 4, 1972 [in Coffeyville, Kansas]. They eventually settled in a small bungalow in Overland Park where Don continues to live.”

We know Loy went outside to run errands. She had her watch adjusted, shopped at Country Club Plaza, and drove to a drug store for coffee. She also bought an umbrella there. Authorities found her beloved car parked in the usual spot. The new umbrella was on the car’s front seat. On the driver’s seat or the passenger seat? Did they find the coffee cup?

Twelve days later, children looking for a lost dog found Loy’ purse in southeast Kansas City. Authorities scanned the area but found nothing else. They interviewed hundreds of people and followed up on more than 1,000 leads. Husband Donald Evitts even consulted a psychic.

Statistics from NamUs
  • Approximate Height and Weight: 5′ 5″; 126 lbs.
  • White female with long blonde/strawberry hair
  • Eyes: hazel brown
  • Scar on abdomen (from surgery, C-section?)
  • Dental charts available
  • DNA on file

She was last seen dressed in

  • A hand-knit 3/4-length blue sweater with vertical maroon lines
  • maroon turtle neck blouse
  • maroon slacks
  • carrying a leather shoulder bag and a black and white pocketbook
  • wooden wedge shoes with a brown leather strap
 Undisputed

According to all papers (see resources below), the only undisputed details in this case are:

  • Loy went missing from her lunch hour on Feb. 28, 1977. Who else took their lunch at that time? Was this an established routine? If so, someone watching her could have used it to plan her abduction.
  • Her purse was found weeks later under a bridge in the southeastern part of Kansas City. Was that purse preserved? See my notes for testing with modern technology.
  • Police interviewed a man from Grandview (MO) in July 1977. This man was never charged for any crime related to the Evitts case. Are the notes from those interviews still there? Were they ever revisited years later?
  • Partial remains of a woman found on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Ark., in 1977 did not match Loy.
  • Nobody was ever charged or arrested in Loy’s case.
Possibilities with modern technology

Reading the article from Taylor News gave me ideas for further investigating this case with modern technology. That is, if all the evidence still exists.

  • It says about Loy’s yellow 1970 MG sports car that there was “not one scratch on the car body, nor even the slightest shred of fiber from Evitts’ clothing, could be found on the vehicle.” Obviously someone cleaned that car but when? It cannot have been the night before she went to work. Then during the day? Were there any CCTV cameras in the garage?
  • How about mud, did someone check the car mats? Mud holds clues about surfaces, pollen, dust, and can contain pieces of shoe soles.
  • The stick shift would be a good spot to search for touch DNA especially around the knob.
  • Loy was meticulous about her looks so the mirror in her sun visor could hold clues as well as the grip from the glove compartment.
  • Tires are an excellent source of information to see on what type of surfaces she drove last.
  • Loy Gillespie Evitts/ March 1 1987 1B There were no fingerprints from Loy on her cosmetics case. Why do we assume (as per the article, second column, half way down, see picture) that it was Loy herself who wiped the cosmetics case clean? Anyone could have done so. Was that case found in her car, her purse, or in her home? It isn’t specified and that bothers me. What exactly is a cosmetics case anyway? Do they mean a fabric bag for toiletries or a plastic compact with eye shadow, powder, blush, etc.? If we are talking about a fabric bag then check the inside around the zipper for touch DNA. The M-Vac comes to mind. If they are talking about plastic containers (for pressed powder, etc.) finding finger prints on the mirror might still be possible. We could even find touch DNA on the brushes and/or sponges.
  • Loy’s typewriter at work should have her prints on it. Modern technology can find prints even if someone else used the typewriter as well. We can separate a print that is partly placed over another finger print. The type of typewriter is interesting too. Was it mechanical or electro-mechanical? Did it use a ribbon or a writing ball? Each presents its own challenges but if preserved it is worth a shot to look at again to see what she typed last.
More Questions
  • Why did her husband felt “forced” to declare Loy legally deceased? Did Loy have a will and last testament, life insurance policy, assets? Not accusing, just wondering.
  • We do not learn from the newspaper articles what other jobs Loy had. She had only been with the law firm for about a month but she was 29 years old. She must have had another job before this one. What was that? Any enemies there?
  • Loy and Don didn’t have children. Was that a mutual choice or not? Do we know if she ever wanted children? Did she ever mention motherhood as an option for herself? Is there any chance she disappeared to have a family life?
  • Could someone from Don’s past have abducted Loy?
The Leather Shoulder Bag and Staging

Loy carried a leather shoulder bag and a purse. In itself not surprising if you go to work. The purse is personal, the shoulder bag is for work/lunch items. However, this combination has led to speculation online that Loy may have planned her disappearance. After all, the purse was found but not the leather shoulder bag. I wish we knew what kind of shoulder bag she used. Was it a satchel type? The type of shoulder bag tells us a little more about the content capacity and thus options.

What speaks against staging?

People worried about her. There are notes in articles about bad feelings as if some danger was looming hence my questions about earlier jobs and old enemies. However, there is nothing concrete. According to the papers Loy and Don were happily married with no rumours about affairs, financial disasters, or high-risk lifestyles.

What speaks in favour of staging?

Please understand that I am wondering out loud here about an option you must entertain in cases of missing persons.

If big enough Loy’s shoulder bag could hold items needed to disappear. From the way NamUs lists everything it seems she went to lunch with both the purse and the shoulder bag. Going for lunch I can imagine taking the purse. Why also take the shoulder bag? Was that shoulder bag with her in the office all morning or was it left in the car? Was she seen carrying it? These details matter. If the shoulder bag had items she needed to stage her disappearance then the dropped purse could have served as a decoy. After all, we have no proof (in the public domain) that Loy or an abductor placed the purse there. That is why we need to check that purse for touch DNA. Use the M-Vac.

I did not read anything about credit/debit cards. Were there any suspicious withdrawals in or around the time that she went missing? How much cash did she usually carry in her purse?

Where was her passport or other items of identification? We know the purse “and some other belongings” were found but what specifically was found? Where is her driver’s license?

The jewelry she wore when she went missing could it have been worth enough to disappear? From NamUs we know that she had a plaid gold bracelet with a knot in the center, a wide gold wedding band, a wide gold engagement ring with a single solitaire diamond from Herzberg, and white gold, square-faced woman’s watch. Do we know the value of all these items? Do we have pictures? Were all pawn shops in the area alerted to these items?

People have different opinions about Loy. They range from just a happy wife to a driven, ambitious career woman. Is it possible that she wanted another life? She was just 17 when she met Don.

If you look at her pictures you can see she is photogenic. With hair and makeup variations she looks completely different. Those who saw Loy during her late lunch probably saw what they expected to see: Loy as she normally dressed for work. But we don’t know whether at some point she went inside a store, changed her looks in a dressing room or public restroom, and walked out of the Country Club Plaza without anyone thinking twice.

Some people said that she’d never walk if she could drive. Maybe she did just that. Maybe she did what you didn’t expect her to do. It seems unlikely that she would walk a while on wedges in the cold in February. But what if she had different shoes in that shoulder bag?

We have no witness who heard a scream or saw her run in the street.

There is no mention of a jacket anywhere despite the fact that it was February when she disappeared. From the way NamUs lists her wardrobe it seems she was dressed for a quick errand to then quickly go back inside. But what was in the shoulder bag? A jacket? Did she have a jacket at work? Many of us leave a sweater or a scarf at work for when we get cold. Did she have extra clothes at work, maybe a gym bag in the car trunk?

These questions need answers if we wish to know what happened to Loy Gillespie Evitts.

Contact

If you have any information about this case, please contact the Kansas City Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (816) 234-5136 or call the KCPD’s TIPS hotline, where you may leave anonymous tips: (816) 434-TIPS.

Agency Case Number: 00-J81177

NCIC Number: M-552248964

Thank you for remembering the case of Loy Gillespie Evitts with us.

Resources

Taylor News

NamUs

KCMO.gov

Doe Network

US News

Kansas City Star 

Websleuths

North American Missing Persons Network