Before we look at what happened to land Carol Ann Cole grievously murdered on a logging road in Bossier Parish Louisiana we need to start at the beginning and look at who Carol Ann was and the time and society in the late 1970s/early 1980s factored into her life.
Carol Ann Cole was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her sister Jeanie Phelps by their grandmother. By all accounts she was a sweet, kind and loving child and very close to her younger sister. Happy, surrounded by loving family even if she didn’t live with either of her parents after their divorce.
One thing that the newspaper articles and online mentions of Carol Ann Cole don’t always manage to project is the fact that she was a person, a young girl who was someone’s sister, daughter, granddaughter and friend. As I’ve read through the many facts of her life that’s one thing that haunts me, that this young woman’s potential, her hopes and dreams and future were ended along with her life by an unknown someone.
That’s the Carol Ann that gets to me, makes me look though documents and talk to people, the thought of this nice average teenage girl a few years younger than myself. I think about the life she led, wondering which of the pop stars of the late 1970s posters might have been on her bedroom wall, did she have a crush on someone in school and what subjects did she love? I think about her, on the edge of her young potential, listening to the crackling of a nearby radio station into the night, wondering where the future would take her.
Someone out there knows something, maybe knows who brutally snuffed out Carol Ann Cole’s future. It’s time for them to come forward and bring closure after 35 years, answer the question of who for the family left that still mourns daily for this child.
From Carol Ann Cole’s Facebook page:
Some things to keep in mind as we go forward and examine how Carol Ann disappeared:
You have to remember that the 1970s was a time in this country when people were divorcing or splitting up in record numbers. People started to throw off many of the shackles of society and societal rules, which led to record numbers of children being raised in either struggling single parent homes, by their loving grandparents or by extended family. Carol Ann’s living situation wasn’t unique then or now.
During the 1970s Kalamazoo was town with factories and farms in a state devastated by the loss of jobs in a crippled auto industry. Some of the factories in Kalamazoo turned out stamped metal parts for the auto industry. It was a grim financial time for many living in Michigan.
It must have been a tremendous culture shock to Carol Ann when she made the decision to live with her mother Sue Cole and relocate to the San Antonio/Austin Texas area in 1979. Everything about the two places is vastly different from the other, culturally, weather, landscape, and people. That area in Texas straddles two different regions of Texas, South Texas and Central Texas, both with their differences as well. The area is also host to one of the biggest concentrations of military bases in the region.
Carol Ann was fifteen at the time of her move to Texas, a critical age in the life of a girl. A time when many kids are struggling to figure out who they are and what the future holds for them. She loved her mother and wanted to be with her mother.
Coming from the cold snowy winters of Michigan to the warmth of Texas must have been a revelation for her. According to her mother Sue she settled in and at first they got along well after the move. Carol Ann kept in touch with her family back in Michigan with phone calls and letters, and seemed to be content.
But it didn’t last for long. Next week we’ll look at the circumstances that surrounded Carol Ann Cole’s departure from her mother’s home in Texas and how she landed in the hands of the trouble teen residential homes industry.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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