- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - A family hasn’t given up fifty years after a 2 ½-year-old girl went missing from in front of her southeast Missouri home.

Elizabeth Ann Gill, whose family called her Beth, hasn’t been seen since June 13, 1965, The Southeast Missourian (https://bit.ly/1L78Sgo ) reports.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be waiting 50 years for answers,” Gill’s sister, Martha Hamilton, said.

At the time of Gill’s disappearance from her Cape Girardeau home, theories on what happened to her evolved from the possibility of her wandering off to drowning in the river to, finally, kidnapping. Authorities have chased countless leads over the years.

One of the first leads to emerge was a report of two vehicles seen in the vicinity of the home the week before Gill went missing.

Then-Cape Girardeau police chief Irvin E. Beard said at the time, “This is the best lead that we have had in the case.”

The two vehicles, one a 1965 Thunderbird and the other a 1965 Chevrolet pickup truck, were believed to be occupied by a man and a woman selling purses door-to-door in the area.

After consulting the Alabama Highway Patrol, however, authorities learned the vehicles’ Alabama license plates likely were registered to different vehicles.

The Thunderbird and the truck never were found.

Other leads from early in the search were discarded along the way.

In 1970, Phillip Odell Clark, who had been convicted of murdering a Cape Girardeau woman, came forward, claiming to have hit Gill with his vehicle and disposed of the body. The Cape Girardeau County sheriff at the time, Ivan E. McLain, decided not to pursue the lead, however, after Clark changed his story about what he had done with Gill’s body.

After CBS ran a piece on 48 Hours Crimesider in October, Hamilton said, numerous leads came into the Cape Girardeau Police Department.

“We get leads that have substance,” but also many others that don’t pan out under police investigation, Hamilton said.

The family still has private investigators working on the case.

“We certainly appreciate all the support that we’ve gotten from the community, from Facebook friends, from everyone who has reached out and tried to help,” Hamilton said.


Information from: Southeast Missourian, https://www.semissourian.com

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