The year was 1964. Lyndon B Johnson was president. The nation was in the midst of a long and drawn out costly war in Vietnam, and an English rock band known as the Beatles arrived in the U.S. for the first time, their song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” topping the music charts in the months that follow. Yet, a cold Sunday of March of that year in the City of Elmira, Mary Theresa Simpson, a vibrant and shy 12-year-old girl disappeared without a trace.
“I just remember a little bit,” Linda Galpin, Mary’s older sister said. “I wasn’t in Elmira when it happened. I heard she came up missing a week before her birthday.”
Mary was last seen around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 1964, at the corner of East Market and Harriet Streets in Elmira. She was heading home from her grandfather’s house on Cieri Street after playing with her cousins. Later that night, Mary’s father reported her missing.
“She would never get in a car with a stranger at all, she was very shy,” Galpin said. “Our father really taught us, you know, never talk to anyone we didn’t know or anything. Sometime she wouldn’t even get in the car with one of our relatives.”
Volunteers searched looking for Mary, but she was nowhere to be found. Then on March 19th, four days after she was reported missing, Mary was found on Combs Hill in Chemung County. Her body discovered by a passerby. She was covered with large rocks, dirt and branches, still fully clothed.
So who killed Mary Theresa Simpson? Close to 55-years have gone by and this case is still open. Her family is still looking for closure. “I just don’t understand why they really haven’t found anything about it or who done,” Galpin said, “I know it’s hard for them. I also know that a lot of people who are involved are gone.”
This past September, Mary’s mother Rose passed away. She never got the closure she hoped for. It was a devastating loss for Linda, after just losing her son in a car crash last year.
The question still remains – who killed Mary Theresa Simpson? The case is still open as the Elmira Police Department continues to actively investigate. Are there any new leads? What about DNA evidence? Are police any closer to solving this case? These questions and more will be addressed in Part Two of our special report, Friday night only on MyTwinTiers.com.