Sunday April 20, 2014
Little Girl Lost in Silver Falls AreaSalem-News.com
Cold Case from June 21, 1941 Silver Falls Area.
(SILVERTON) - The pain of losing a child never goes away. This case of ten-year-old Betty McCullough is a story passed on to family members since her disappearance in 1941.
Early morning, on June 21, 1941, little Betty woke up, slipped on a man’s shirt, put on her sister’s shoes, took a water bucket and quietly slipped by her two sleeping sisters. She was going to get water from the water pump outside. She was never seen again. No sign of her, no clues, nothing left behind.
She just disappeared in an area where previous disappearances have occurred. Six years prior to this same area, a man named Herbert Brown went for a walk and was never seen again, and earlier in the century there was reported another mysterious disappearance in the same area.
Little Betty’s parents were picking berries in a nearby berry field in an area located by the old Methany store outside of Silver Falls, now referred to as Silver Creek Falls State Park.
Days following her disappearance, her father, other family members, neighbors and police scoured the area, searching for signs of her. Nothing was ever found. It is feared she may have been picked up by a passing motorist. This little girl was subject to sudden bouts of illness and was also unable to hear or speak. She was diagnosed as only having a few years to live, possibly to her late teens, so, her survival to a long life was not an option for this little girl.
Her sudden disappearance, though, left a tear in her mother’s heart that would never mend, and a hole in the family that continues to be dark.
A niece, Lela Taylor, who grew up hearing about this story, became curious as to what could have happened. The story haunted her. Upon returning back to the Salem area in 1992, she went to the archives at the library and found only two related stories in the Capital Journal (now The Statesman).
She has been slowly gathering the little information she could find. Through the years, immediate family members who lived though this tragedy were reluctant to talk. When they did, tears would flow, or anger would rise up, as they felt being poor migrant workers that not enough time was given by the authorities to continue the search.
Lela has been fortunate enough to have met Tim King, of Salem-News, who became intrigued by this story and has offered to help her search for information on this 65-year-old cold case. Maybe somewhere in some morgue or law enforcement basement there are some unclaimed bones of a small child lying in a box.
Maybe Lela and Tim can find them. Until then, the little angel in the wind at Silver Creek Falls will have to gently soar over the hills and sigh as she waits to be found.
Lela Taylor, niece of little lost Betty
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