Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: The Murder of Helen Priestly and other stories

Helen Priestly

Aberdeen, Scotland came together as a community on April 20th, 1934 when it was learned that one of their own, eight-year-old Helen Priestly, had gone missing. Groups banded together to search every nook in the town well into the night. Helen had last been seen buying a loaf of bread from a local baker that afternoon. She never returned home. The searchers and police stamped through alleys and public areas of the apartment buildings many times over that afternoon. This made the appearance of a large bag in the public bathroom in the building where the Priestly’s lived stand out when it was seen a little after 5 a.m. the next day. When investigated, Helen’s body lay within. She had been apparently strangled and showed signs of being raped.

Her own father had walked in the very spot she was found hours earlier and he confirmed she had to have been placed there between 2 and 5 a.m. The sack was dry, despite heavy rains that had fallen that night. This led the investigators to focus on people from within the building to find the perpetrator.

helen-priestly-body

Marks on the bag indicated a Canadian export stamp, which was determined to be used when transporting flour. This limited the amount of places that could be the source of the bag’s origin. The bakery near Helen’s home was visited for information. The baker there confirmed a woman had come into the store and asked for a bag that matched the one that cocooned Helen’s body. He gave the police a rough description of the lady.

Soon the investigation back at Helen’s housing unit began to move closer toward a suspect. Several neighbors told police of how Jeanie Donald, another resident of the complex,  had spats over Helen calling her “coconut”. Jeanie also made a habit of chasing Helen away from her windows when the child was playing outside nearby. Jeannie’s daughter told police that the loaf of bread in their house was different than the family’s usual selection. The baker confirmed that Helen bought the same bread as was in the Donald’s house.

When word of the child’s rape and murder spread, many of the same people who had been searching for her went home to find pickaxes and shovels in order to inflict some vigilante justice. The race was now on to find the murderer before the angry mob did.

Jeannie’s husband was eliminated as a suspect when it was determined that he was at work in a nearby barbershop when Helen vanished. That did not explain how Helen was raped then if Jeannie was the culprit. A deeper look at the child’s injuries revealed that a hammer or broom handle probably simulated the rape – perhaps to frame a man for the crime.  A specialist was brought in to examine the sack and he was able to show that Jeannie’s hair matched the hairs found in the bag. Type “O” blood stains were found in the Donald’s house. They matched Helen’s bloodtype. That alone would not prove the blood belonged to the child. The specialist then concluded that since the simulated rape had been so rough that Helen’s intestine’s ruptured, he would be able to find bacteria from them in Helen’s blood. That proved to be the evidence that would sink any hope for Jeannie pleading innocence.

Jeanie Donald was sentenced to death at the end of her trial. An appeal lessened the sentence to life in prison. Then in a shocking twist, she was released after only serving ten years of her sentence. She lived in obscurity after that and never revealed why she harmed the child.

Maurice Dametz

Maurice Dametz was a somewhat frail 84-year-old who was not going to allow his bad knees and other ailments to stop him from his ventures. Dametz’ hunt for valuable topaz was aided by fellow precious stone searcher David McSherry, who was much younger. McSherry had to help Dametz get from one location to the next in their rock covered potential treasure troves. At that point he’d leave Dametz and walk to his own spot alone. During one of these trips in the Pike National Forest of Colorado, Dametz simply vanished. McSherry returned to the spot he left Dametz only fifteen minutes earlier, and Dametz and all his tools were gone. McSherry checked around for the old man, then walked back to the car, thinking that Dametz may have somehow gotten himself back to the vehicle. He came up empty everywhere.

A passing motorist was stopped and authorities were alerted. A five day search by humans and dogs failed to find a thing. No clothing, tools, blood or any other evidence. Foul play was considered a possibility – perhaps by a stranger or McSherry himself but no answers were ever granted to Dametz’ grieving family.

Keith Parkins

Keith Parkins was just two-and a half years old when he vanished on foot while under the watch of his grandparents on April 10th of 1952. The nearby area searchers had to investigate encompassed the mountainous regions of Pendleton, Oregon, near the Umatilla National Forest. No one knows what occurred next, but a full nineteen hours passed before Parkins was found nine miles away, lying face down in the bitter cold dirt. How a toddler traveled that far, presumably alone, in that time span is still a mystery. The journey would have taken him around mountain ranges, through an icy creek, over or under fences and various other obstacles. He suffered from shock and exposure but recovered after being airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Lucy Meadows

meadows_lucy

Three and a half year old Lucy Meadows was taken by her mother to the mall in Goodlettsville, Tennessee in July of 1996. There her mother let her exit the vehicle’s back seat. Her mom then went to the opposite side of the car to grab some packages, when she came back around the car, Lucy was gone.

The mall security was alerted and the parking lot and other area stores were soon thereafter searched by the police. Nothing was found to indicate what became of Lucy. Some witnesses pointed to a brown minivan as possibly being suspicious, but it was never located. Lucy’s mother behaved oddly in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance as she reportedly told people two different malls where the possible kidnapping took place. She was also considered standoffish with the police and gave statements that did not match up with her prior comments. The first responders were told Lucy was out of her sight for only a few seconds, but she later changed her story to it being ten to fifteen minutes. She failed two polygraph tests regarding the incident and the last time she was questioned by authorities she refused to make any statements at all.

In late 2004, a new witness came forward. The person claims he was at the Meadows home the night before Lucy’s supposed disappearance and he saw Lucy lying under a blanket appearing “as if she could have been dead”. Lucy’s mother and at least one other adult seemed frantic, they looked for a Bible and screamed out Lucy’s name several times.

This witness was only twelve at the time Lucy disappeared and claimed to not connect the events back when Lucy first vanished. He has passed a polygraph and the cops believe him to be telling the truth. The local authorities have attempted to form a grand jury investigation on Lucy’s case but as of now have been unsuccessful.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with more mysteries soon!  
If you enjoyed this, you can catch up with the whole series here.

I have many other cases I’ve done articles for including looks at the Sodder Children’s disappearance, John Wayne Gacy’s undiscovered burial sites, the East Area Rapist, Gen. MacArthur’s “missing” son, Tina Resch’s poltergeist and many other stories of crime and the paranormal. All those can be found at the link above.

I also run the After Dark Radio Show‘s Facebook page and add 3-4 stories from the world of true crime, UFOs, cryptids and other such things each day. Please consider “liking” us if that sounds of interest to you.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

Leave a Reply