ATLANTA - It's an unsolved case that has haunted police and fascinated metro Atlanta residents for decades.
Little disappeared from Lenox Square 50 years ago Wednesday. It has been investigated by the FBI , GBI and Atlanta's best homicide detectives.
The 25-year-old bank employee had dinner with a friend, did a little shopping
at Lenox Square and then disappeared. Her car was discovered in a parking space the next day, her blood found inside it and on the door knob . But Mary Shotwell Little hasn't been seen since.
"A mystery that may linger for years to come," Channel 2 Action News reporter Don McClellan said.
McClellan told Channel 2's Liz Artz it's a story he'll never forget.
He covered it in 1965 when it was breaking and dozens of times after throughout the years.
It's a story that gripped metro Atlanta then and continues to fascinate today.
Artz spoke with a retired homicide detective who won’t let the case die.
“She was an all
-American girl from Charlotte," retired detective Ray Pate said.
Pate, now 82, was on Atlanta's police force only 5 years when Shotwell Little disappeared from Lenox Square.
The 25-year-old's blood-soaked
Mercury Comet was discovered the next morning by mall employees after a small search, but the newlywed and bank employee was never seen again.
“I sit here all day, an old man and this thing fascinated me and I got addicted to it,” Pate said.
Pate was not assigned to the case in '65, but in retirement has taken it on as a project. Trying to do something no other detective could do.
“Why in the world did they not solve it,” Pate said.
While many of the case files have been lost through the years,
Pate has binders he says are loaded with the FBI’s case, boxes full of evidence with interview transcripts he's compiled.
He thinks the Shotwell Little case is related to the murder of Diane Shields.
Her body was found in the trunk of her car 18 months later.
Both women worked at C&S bank, both received flowers from a mysterious sender days before and at one point lived with the same roommate.
Pate even has a suspect in mind.
“The DA would laugh in my face, there are no witnesses," Pate said.
The case is so old
, he says, and everyone has died off from witnesses, to detectives, but he suspects her body is in Mount Holly, North Carolina, where through the years evidence has surfaced.
“I believe that her remains will be located up there sometime and I'll be vindicated and FBI will be vindicated,” Pate said.
The GBI executed a search warrant in Forsyth County 20
years ago after getting a tip, but they didn’t find anything.