He ate his evening meal at home and then returned.” Police began circulating a poster describing Marjorie’s “curley” red hair, freckles, red Shirley Temple hat, and patent leather shoes. Foote told the Associated Press that West’s disappearance probably began with her liking to “play hide and seek.” A detail of four police searched the area for five months.
The boys ran, but when the group stopped, Eddie was gone.
Thirteen miles away, in the town of Ludlow, Michael Steffan, seven, fished with a friend.
Bradford enjoyed its own rush for liquid gold a dozen years later, providing a steady living for families like the Wests – Shirley was an assistant engineer at Kendall Refining, located just a few blocks from his home. What followed was a grueling search that spanned months and saw more than 3,000 local people hunting for Marjorie, with countless others locked into the national newspaper coverage.
After church, the Wests drove 13 miles along Highway 219 to a clearing in the Allegheny Forest that was popular with hunters and fishermen. When police couldn’t find Marjorie that Sunday afternoon, 200 men joined in, including the Citizen Conservation Corps and the Moose and Elks lodges. “All available flash-lights in the city were pressed into service,” noted the .
Engineers pumped out a muddy well and Native Americans tracked “she bears” – mother bears they believed were prone to carrying off small children – to no avail.
Shirley did not leave the forest for a week until, according to the May 16th he “consented to come to Bradford.Newspapers covering the disappearance linked it with a 1910 mystery in which two boys vanished near the forest within a few hours of each other.On April 16 of that year, Edward Adams, nine, was fishing with buddies near Lamont, Pennsylvania, and heard a “wild man” cursing in the woods.How free children should be to roam, and how cautious parents should be about young children’s activities, is a debate that still rages today. The girls, Dorothea and Marjorie, wanted to pick wildflowers.* * * n Sunday, May 8, 1938, the West family – father Shirley; mother Cecilia; and children Dorothea, 11, Allan, 7, and Marjorie – attended church in Bradford, a small city 90 minutes south of Buffalo, New York, and 90 minutes east of Titusville, Pennsylvania, the site of the country’s first oil boom in 1859. Shirley warned them to watch for rattlesnakes behind the boulder nearby. Dorothea headed to the car to deliver them to their mother. The family drove to the nearest phone seven miles away to contact police in the town of Kane.To this day she is the subject of one of the oldest unsolved cases recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.