You can listen to this episode on the Southern Macabre podcast!
Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I have a crazy story for y’all today! It took a long time to dig at this rabbit hole and I probably could have dug deeper, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about two women in Atlanta, Georgia who may or may not be connected.
This is going to take a while so let’s get started!
Mary Shotwell Little vanished into thin air on October 14, 1965, in Atlanta, Georgia when she was just twenty-five years old. Mary worked as a bank secretary at the Citizen’s & State Bank at the time and her husband of six weeks, Roy Little, Jr. was a bank examiner. He was out of town on business but was due to return home the next day and she was planning a party for his return.
After leaving the bank that evening, Mary drove to Lenox Square, an open-air shopping center with a grocery store and a restaurant. She bought groceries for the party, met a coworker for dinner, and then she and the co-worker did some shopping until 8PM when Mary said she needed to go home. She said that she had parked in the yellow parking area, but her friend didn’t watch her get in her car.
The next morning, her boss became concerned when she didn’t call or show up for work, something she never did. Her friend/co-worker told their boss about their dinner and shopping trip the night before which led him to call the shopping center to check if her car was still there. It wasn’t and it had not been ticketed for being parked there overnight. At lunchtime, her boss drove to Lenox Square and there was Mary’s 1965 Mercury Comet in the yellow parking area, covered in a fine layer of red dust. If you’re not familiar with dirt roads down here, they’re usually at least part red clay. That’s what the dust likely came from. What struck him as most odd was her Georgia plate had been replaced with one from Charlotte, North Carolina. You see, Mary was from Charlotte and had moved to Georgia after graduating from the University of North Carolina.
When he looked in the car he saw her groceries, her undergarments neatly folded on the center console, and blood smeared on the front seats. He called the police who found one of her stockings in the floorboard with the toe area cut off. This may not mean much to y’all today, but her undergarments were black. Back then, a woman only wore colored undergarments for her husband and hers wouldn’t be back for twenty-four hours. So, who was going to see them? Or was she in a hurry that morning and didn’t think it mattered? Her dress, London Fog pea coat, purse, wallet, and keys were all missing.
The blood inside had been smeared on the clothing after it was folded and it was smeared above the door handle, on the steering wheel, the inside passenger side window, and both front bucket seats. Since it was a small amount that had been smeared, police felt that the car had been staged. It was Mary’s blood type.
By the way, authorities never asked for the Lenox Square parking logs to see who came or went during that night. If they had, maybe they could have found out what happened to Mary.
Roy Little, Jr., her husband, was notified of her disappearance on October 15th while he was in LaGrange, Georgia on business, about 67 miles northeast of Atlanta. Police learned that many of Mary’s friends didn’t like him, some to the point that they didn’t attend the couple’s Labor Day wedding. Police became suspicious when he acted like he was more concerned about when his car would be returned from the police lab than about his new bride’s disappearance. He refused to take a polygraph on two occasions.
On the 17th, Roy said that someone named Calvin Allen called to express his condolences for Mary’s death. This was only three days after she went missing and Roy claimed that he didn’t know anyone by that name, and he didn’t recognize the voice.
In the meantime, Roy Little wrote a check for two season tickets to the Atlanta Falcons football team for their 1966 season and contacted Rich’s Department Store to inform them that he could not be held accountable for any of his wife’s purchases. Kinda strange for a man who should have been worried about his new wife.
There may have been clues before she disappeared. Just before, she received roses from an unknown sender and police have never found out who that was. Also, she was receiving calls at work that “visibly upset her”. A co-worker heard her say to the caller, “I’m a married woman now. You can come to my house any time you like, but I can’t come over there.” This makes me think that the caller was a friend of her husband’s so she could explain his presence in their apartment but would not be able to explain why she was at his place as easily.
A month later, investigators got a lead in the case that they expected would crack it wide open and lead straight to Mary. Her gas credit card had been used in the early morning hours of October 15th in Charlotte then later that evening in Raleigh. Mary had signed both receipts herself. They basically made her pay for her own abduction! Investigators flew to North Carolina to interview the gas station attendants hoping to learn further details.
Keep in mind that her car was found around noon on October 15th and only had 41 miles on it that Roy, Mary’s husband, could not account for. Charlotte is 244 miles from Atlanta and Raleigh is 407 miles away. There is no way they used her car. So where did they take her car? How did it end up with a Charlotte license plate from a stolen car? What were they driving her around in?
The investigators met with the gas station attendants, and both did remember seeing something strange. The man in Charlotte said a woman with a cut on her head came in with a man and she was trying to hide her face like she was afraid he might recognize her. There was a man with her who seemed to be giving her orders. In Raleigh, the man told of a “bloody woman” being escorted by two men. He said she even had blood on her legs. In both instances, the license plate on the credit card slips was reported stolen days before these incidents.
I can’t help wondering how these attendants saw what they did and didn’t do anything to help her. It was the 1960s when men were supposed to look out for women and children and these two didn’t even call the police after she left.
Also, the drive from Charlotte to Raleigh is only 2-3 hours, but the sightings were twelve hours apart. Where did they go? What did they do in that timeframe? Why did they drive her back to her hometown where she may have been recognized?
There was some speculation about Mary’s disappearance being tied to a sex scandal that occurred at C&S Bank the same time she went missing. The bank had hired a former FBI investigator to look into claims of lesbian sexual harassment and possible prostitution on the property. Mary apparently knew about the scandal, but police determined that it had nothing to do with her disappearance.
At one time, this case filled a large box at the Atlanta Police Department. Sadly, like Mary, it has been missing for years. All of the paperwork and evidence has either been removed or destroyed. But who would steal a missing person’s file? For what purpose? Maybe someone who knows will come forward one day, but for now this is the most bizarre missing person’s case in Georgia. Maybe in all the south.
Now, I know this is Missing Person Monday, but we can’t talk about Mary Little without mentioning the woman who replaced her at the bank and moved in with her former roommates. I’m talking about Diane Shields.
Diane was from Guntersville, Alabama, but moved to the Atlanta area after her college sweetheart married someone else. She was hired to fill Mary’s position a few weeks after she disappeared. In November, Diane’s roommate moved out.
A week later, a man came to her door pretending to sell books. He tried numerous times to get into the apartment and stated that he knew she lived alone and was aware that her roommate had moved out the week before. She called the police, but he was gone by the time they got there.
In June of 1966, Diane moved into a new apartment with lots of roommates, including a woman named Judy. Judy worked at C&S Bank as well and had been Mary’s roommate before she married Roy Little, Jr. In January, Diane had begun dating a co-worker at C&S Bank, but when the relationship failed, she took a handful of sleeping pills. She survived.
She was known to disappear without telling anyone where she was going, and she told people that she was looking into Mary’s disappearance herself. She quit her job at C&S Bank abruptly in October 1966, one year after Mary vanished. She started a new job at Associated Industries of Georgia. On the 26th she received a bouquet of five roses. She knew Mary had received roses just before she disappeared but was hesitant to call the police. She later told a coworker that she did call the police and they said the flowers came from a C&S Bank employee who had been fired for sexual harassment and had been thinking about her.
That same month, she moved again with one of her roommates, but she was rarely home because she was seeing Tommy Antle, who worked for a life insurance company. Around that time, she received two strange phone calls from a man who claimed to work for the post office and said he had a registered letter for her. She called the post office and they said there was a man with the given last name, but he didn’t work at her post office.
Diane called out sick to work and told Tommy that she was meeting a friend in College Park or East Point on December 2nd. She would not tell him who it was.
Diane and Tommy got engaged on New Year’s Eve in 1966.
Diane’s older sister, Sandra, moved to Atlanta and Diane moved in with her in March of 1967. She said she was having issues with her roommates after getting engaged to Tommy. Sandra was married to a soldier serving in Vietnam and had a boyfriend on the side.
On Friday, May 19, 1967, Sandra left at 8 AM for work and Diane left for AIG soon after. Tommy Antle had a 4 PM insurance appointment. He called and told her that it shouldn’t take more than an hour and then he would swing by to see her. Sandra got home at 5:15 PM and Diane wasn’t home yet.
AIG’s assistant vice president saw Diane leave work at 5:03 that evening.
Tommy called her apartment at 6, 7, and 8 PM, but she wasn’t home. He drove past AIG, but her car wasn’t there, and the building was dark.
Jack Mullinax claimed to see Diane in her car with two men between 7:30 and 8:30 PM.
A woman went to East Point Cleaners and Laundry at 8 PM and said Diane’s car wasn’t there at that time, but it was there ten to fifty minutes later.
Tommy drove to Diane’s apartment after he left AIG and her sister was going to see a movie with her boyfriend at 9:30. When they returned at midnight, Diane still wasn’t home.
At 1:30 AM an acquaintance reports seeing Diane with Judy, her former roommate and co-worker, at the Waffle House on Central Avenue. At 1:50, Sandra and Tommy reported Diane missing and her car stolen to the police.
Diane’s car was found by two police officers patrolling an area of East Side at 2:30 AM. There was an eight-foot-long trail of blood leading to her trunk. They found her keys in the ignition of her 1963 Chevy. When they opened the trunk, they found Diane folded in half, face-up, in between boxes and a spare tire. She was fully dressed except for her shoes and her engagement ring was still on her hand. There was a piece of cloth protruding from her bloody mouth.
She was taken to the Fulton County Morgue at 4:20 AM where it was determined that she had been dead for about four hours. She died from strangulation or asphyxiation caused by either a phone wire or a venetian blind cord. The medical examiner found a phone book page and a headscarf shoved violently down her throat and her left ear torn. She had also been beaten.
Police lifted fingerprints from the car and noted the radiator was cool to the touch. Meaning it had been parked at the laundromat for a while.
Diane’s childhood best friend told police that Diane had been frightened after receiving the phone calls and flowers. She knew Mary had received the same shortly before her disappearance and feared she would meet the same fate. She also said that she was working with police to solve Mary’s case because they believed Judy knew more than she was saying. She said she quit after she received the phone calls and flowers. She also felt like she was being followed at that time.
Judy, the former roommate and co-worker of both women, said the other women at the bank were jealous of Diane and Mary because of the attention they received from men. She also claimed Diane borrowed a pistol from another friend for when she was alone.
Clarence Lee Crumbley, a friend and co-worker of Diane’s at C&S Bank, spoke to police “off the record” about personnel issues at the bank. He felt it had loaned out too much money and was in trouble. He also told police that he felt the cases were connected and had ties to the personnel department at the bank. He was fired immediately after.
On June 2nd around noon, Herman Zimmerman’s wife called DeKalb County P.D. to report her husband missing. He called her exactly twenty-four hours later to tell her that he was okay and was on his way home.
On June 9th, Jack Mullinax, who saw two men in Diane’s car, told police that a man got into his car and forced him to drive to Henry County at gunpoint. He said it was one of the men with Diane. He was forced out of the car and shot. Days later, he recanted his story and said he shot himself over debt.
Following Diane’s murder and two years after Mary vanished, Mary’s mother requested that the police stop investigating.
Thank y’all so much for tuning in to today’s episode! Come back tomorrow for Paranormal Wednesday and Friday when I’ll tell you a true crime story. I love and appreciate each and everyone of you. I hope y’all have a great week and I will talk to y’all tomorrow. God bless, y’all.
If you have any information on either Mary’s or Diane’s case, please contact the Atlanta Police Department at (404) 614–6544, the East Point Police Department at (404) 761–2177 or the Atlanta office of the FBI at (770) 216–3000. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at (404) 577-TIPS.