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Aug-06-2006 23:23printcomments

Little Girl Lost in Silver Falls Area

Cold Case from June 21, 1941 Silver Falls Area.

Images of Betty and her family
All photos courtesy: Lela Taylor

(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


Internal Comments are Closed on this story.

Angela February 17, 2010 1:56 pm (Pacific time)

I looked at this story because someone suggested Betty may have had Freeman Sheldon Syndrome, and my son does also. Her facial features do look like FSS and with having hearing loss it seems possible that is what she may have had. I guess where I am going is my son is very small for his age and I don't think he would be identified as being 7 but much younger. I think any Doe that would be considered younger than 10 could still be a possible match.

Emily April 5, 2008 10:20 pm (Pacific time)

This case has always intrigued me, enough to go further than Charleyproject to read more about her story. I had no idea ANOTHER person had gone missing from the Salem area (Herbert Brown), and perhaps his whereabouts connect to Betty's.

Hi everyone December 4, 2007 12:48 pm (Pacific time)

This little one disappeared at age 10 in 1941....Boulder Jane Doe's body was found in 1954 and she was estimated to be about about 20...that would be correct. Judy Mahoney

d'ana October 28, 2007 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

i'm not trying to be a bummer. I read that she was missing in 1941. If that's the case the doe was 17-20, that couldn't have been her, she was ten in 1941. The doe was also only a wk old, and had an appendix scar. I do ultimately believe that the doe resembles betty very much. The age and the dates don't match up.. Had it been her years later, she would not have been in her teens. she would have been alot older. I still think it's worth looking into.. I just thought i'd share what I found, if yall want yall can let me know if there was anything else that might have been similiar..

Judy Mahoney October 28, 2007 12:04 pm (Pacific time)

Hi everyone who is interested in this little girl's identity. The dna testing is going on as we speak with Boulder Jane Doe and the other prospect. I am hopeful, if this comes back negative, they will in fact do dna testing on Betty McCullough's neice. She certainly does look like her doesn't she?

Judy Mahoney January 15, 2007 12:52 pm (Pacific time)

Lela... I lost your email address... please contact me. Thank you - Judy Mahoney GMahoney2@nycap.rr.com

Judy Mahoney January 13, 2007 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

Marybeth... I have talked with her niece via email...she was very interested about the possibility... but it appears that the woman in Colorado who is handling the case believes that Boulder Jane was someone else. I did ask to have a forensic artist look at the two and compare them. Maybe someday someone will prove the two of them are one of the same. I do believe they are. Judy Mahoney

Mary Beth December 27, 2006 5:45 am (Pacific time)

I never thought of Betty as as possibly being Boulder Jane Doe. There is a very strong resemblance. Good luck with your efforts, Judy. I hope someone in Colorado stays on this to either prove or disprove that theory. Please keep us updated. Websleuths.com has postings on both Betty and Boulder Jane Doe. You can go to the site and do a search for either one and the postings should come up. I think you have to be a registered member of Websleuths to do a search. Good Luck!

Judy Mahoney December 9, 2006 5:28 am (Pacific time)

The lady from the Rock Mt. news asked me to pass along this website to you,www.boulderjanedoe.com/ - it appears to have a blog on it where people can chat.
Thanks again.

Judy Mahoney December 9, 2006 5:20 am (Pacific time)

Attn: Editor Thank you for your support...to me...it is like looking in a mirror. Is it possible for a forensic artist to compare the two? Also, how about Betty's neice...could she take a look also - I emailed the Boulder newspaper and apparently the woman who is handling this is looking into something else at the moment. Again, thanks for your comments, but once I saw those pictures, there was not a shred of doubt in my mind. Judy Mahoney

Editor December 8, 2006 7:50 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent prospect! Yes, she does look very similar, so we're keeping our fingers crossed too. Thank you for your thorough research, it could mean a lot in terms of solving this case from so long ago. Keep us informed, please.

Judy Mahoney December 8, 2006 1:25 pm (Pacific time)

Hello..! I have contacted people in Boulder Colorado, because I believe this little girl was taken at 10 yrs. old and grew up to be Boulder Jane Doe. If you look at the little girl's pictures and you look at Boulder Jane Doe's picture, you will see the resemblance immediately. Maybe time will tell...We will have to wait and see !

Anonymous November 3, 2006 2:19 pm (Pacific time)

Good Luck, but doubt you will find her whole in the wilderness.

Alexis October 16, 2006 3:04 pm (Pacific time)

Hi, My name is Alexis, I'm a student in Flagstaff Arizona Studing Forensic Science. I was researching for my midterm and came across this case. My best of wishes to the family and prayers go out to you. This case will be solved. 65 years later and people are still searching.

The Editor August 9, 2006 10:30 am (Pacific time)

Lela and I thank all of you for your comments, and we plan to continue looking into this story.

Anonymous August 9, 2006 10:06 am (Pacific time)

Hello, I am a member of Websleuths.com We are discussing Betty's case on the Cold Cases forum on the site. It is here

Bonnie August 8, 2006 11:09 am (Pacific time)

I have added Angel in the Wind to my cold cases website at mistyvisions.com. I would like to add a link if you have a website of your own. You can email it to me from my website if you wish.

Anonymous August 7, 2006 4:33 pm (Pacific time)


Anonymous August 7, 2006 9:45 am (Pacific time)

I have added Betty;s story and info to our board for the missing and unidentified Here and Prayers for the family

Susie August 5, 2006 5:46 pm (Pacific time)

I enjoyed the story! I too have a friend named Betty who disappeared in 1975 from the Portland, Oregon area and was never found. I truly know the feelings little Betty's family has gone thru. Hopefully one of these days they get get their answers!

Mary Beth August 4, 2006 10:17 am (Pacific time)

I live in Ohio and ran across this story! Thanks for publishing this. Good luck to the niece and reporter working on this. It may seem impossible after all these years to find out what happened but you never know so don't give up!

Alice August 3, 2006 8:07 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for this story! I am so glad that people still care and are willing to get involved, even if it is 65 years later.

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