- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man whose wife vanished four decades ago says he hasn’t given up all hope that the mystery will be solved.

Donald Evitts‘ wife, legal secretary Loy Gillespie Evitts, went missing after leaving work for a late afternoon lunch to run some errands on Feb. 28, 1977, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/2mueEDs ).

Police believe Loy Evitts was abducted, and it’s the Kansas City Police Department’s longest unsolved missing persons case.

As supervisor of the department’s section involving missing persons, police Sgt. Ben Caldwell said there are no new leads and the case is suspended pending new information.

Amid all the model trains in his house in Overland Park, Kansas, near Kansas City, Donald Evitts said the train-building “helps me keep my mind off what happened that day.”

He remains cautiously optimistic that someone may step forward with information that might help crack the case.

“I learned to never get my hopes up too much because they all failed in the end,” the 71-year-old Vietnam veteran said. “Surely, someone knows something.”

Police don’t suspect Evitts in the case. Last year, he supplied investigators hair from one of his wife’s brushes and other items, allowing them to collect DNA samples that were entered into a national database in the event her remains are found.

Loy Evitts was 29 and had worked for a Kansas City law firm for only a month when she took a lunch break, went to get a watch adjusted, browsed stores on the Country Club Plaza and drove her yellow sports car to a drug store, where she had a cup of coffee and bought an umbrella. She later parked in the same spot as when she arrived at work that morning. That’s when the Kansas State University alumnus and Coffeyville, Kansas, native went missing, her new umbrella still on the car’s front seat.

Twelve days later, children looking for a lost dog found Evitts‘ purse in southeast Kansas City. But a search of the area turned up empty. During the ensuing weeks, investigators interviewed more than 200 people and followed up on more than 1,000 leads.

Donald Evitts even visited a psychic at one point.

“She’s been gone this long, you can’t expect her to come back and still be alive,” he said the last month. “I don’t think she ran off but we don’t know. We just don’t know.”

Just this year, when a Kansas City police officer interviewed Evitts, he wept at discussing the loss of his wife, Caldwell said.

“He broke down and cried, much like he did in 1977 when he was interviewed by police,” Caldwell said. “He obviously is very heartbroken.”

Sitting on the porch of his childhood home in Coffeyville, David Evitts recalls his brother’s 40-year anguish.

“Don never remarried, never dated again,” he said. “Loy was the one and only love of his life.”

___

Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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