What Happened to Elsie Mae Roane?

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On May 20, 1957, around 11 p.m., in West Point, Virginia, police officer Billy Haigler saw a young girl on the street carrying two suitcases. While it likely struck him as odd, he did not pay further attention to her.

Three days later, Harry Wisten Roane, who resided on Fifth Street, reported his 16-year-old daughter, Elsie Mae Roane, missing to the police. Roane, Elsie’s adoptive father, worked the third shift and returned home after Elsie left for school. He also likely slept during the day while she was going. Therefore, Roane did not realize she was missing.

Haigler reported the sighting to his supervisor once he learned of Elsie Mae’s disappearance and realized she was the girl with the suitcases.

A male friend of Elsie Mae told police he talked to her the night she disappeared. The friend said Elsie Mae was going to spend the night with a female friend, not running away. The female friend told police that Elsie Mae never arrived at her house.

Elsie was a sophomore at West Point High School, and her principal, H.A. Humphreys, described her as an “above-average” student. She may have been pregnant when she disappeared.

In 2015, police announced they had a male suspect who was around the age of Elsie Mae when she disappeared. They did not release his name but said he was still alive and around the same age as Elsie.

Elsie’s mother, Alpharetta Roane, died in 1955. Her father followed in 1968.

Daily Press, March 27, 1955

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

What about a city curfew? Haigler sees a young girl carrying two suitcases at 11 p.m. on a school night and thinks nothing of it? Why didn’t he assist and offer a ride?

Who was the male friend who last talked to her? If Elsie was pregnant, was he the father? If this is true, she may have left on her own, or the father of her baby (maybe this guy?) killed her. And is the father of her child and/or the male friend the 2015 suspect?


  • “16-year-old West Point Girl Missing”. Daily Press, May 28, 1975.
  • Robertson, Marcella. “Police Have Suspect in 58-Year-Old Missing Persons Case”. Herald Times Reporter, July 21, 2015. https://www.htrnews.com/story/news/local/virginia/2015/07/21/suspect-in-58-year-old-missing-person/30493425/

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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