Last week we looked at the last contact family had with Carol Ann Cole and how her body turned up weeks later on a logging road in rural north Louisiana.
Before Carol Ann ended up on that logging road she was spotted in the Greater Shreveport area. She was seen at the old AP Defatta store and the old Manhattan Food Store as well as known to have frequented homes on the 6100 and 1200 block of Fairfield, which was named ‘Howell’ at the time. Sightings enough to establish that she was in the area for at least a few weeks prior to her murder.
While none of that points at any teen home as her residence in Louisiana, some of the clothing items that Carol Ann was found either wearing or near her body do seem to indicate that she could have spent some time at New Bethany Home for Girls in nearby Arcadia, Louisiana. Her body was found roughly 30 miles from Arcadia.
Here are a list of items found with Carol Ann that conform with the uniform code worn by inmates at New Bethany. The list comes from the autopsy report of January 30, 1981 by George M. McCormick, II, M.D.
- Inexpensive tennis shoes with Sharpied on names/initials D. Davies and other names written in them in blue ball point pen ink. – This is significant because the shoes are very similar to those worn by inmates at New Bethany and the nearby boys home. Children are stripped of most of their personal clothing upon arrival at New Bethany facilities and issued clothing. They would have to use a black sharpie marker to put their initials/names into the clothing to id it as theirs. If one resident wanted to gift it to another resident they would have to use hair spray to dilute and smear their id on the clothing first. This may not have been possible to do on tennis shoes. Between the clothing being shared between girls and the fact that many families put girls in New Bethany under assumed names it would not be unusual for Carol Ann to have been found with clothing marked with another name.
- White athletic socks with strips at the top – White athletic socks were pretty much everywhere in that time. They were common and very popular. But the children at New Bethany homes were issued socks with strips at the top, a distinctive mark not as universal as the ubiquity of white tube socks in 1981. New Bethany residents had blue or red striped white tube socks. Carol Ann’s socks had blue stripes.
- Pinkish nail polish was found on toenails and fingernails of Carol Ann – Pink nail polish was the only color polish allowed for the girls of New Bethany.
Some of the other items found with Carol Ann’s body include.
- Jeans – While blue jeans are forbidden at New Bethany and many other religious troubled teen homes there are former residents of New Bethany that recall a room with heaps of blue jeans taken from incoming new residents. These were a pair of well worn Levis.
- Boys white briefs – There was a quality of reddish brown hairs in the crotch of the briefs.
- Striped blouse
- Worn out towel missing many terry loops
From the descriptions of the clothing given by the examiner in the autopsy report it seems like most of the items were either well worn or inexpensive, like the types of clothing issued to kids at residential facilities.
One item stands out from the list of clothing, a very distinctive belt buckle. The buckle was a large representation of a buffalo nickel. There are former residents of New Bethany Home that remember a member of Mack Ford’s church, who later became involved with the homes who used to wear a buffalo nickel belt buckle. Why the owner of that same type belt buckle was not a suspect is unknown.
Unfortunately there is no way to further examine the clothing because a fire in 2002 at the facility storing this evidence burned down, destroying any possible DNA evidence or touch DNA that the clothing may have contained. DNA tests weren’t even slightly within the realm of possibility back in 1981 when Carol Ann was found, which makes the loss of this evidence even more tragic. With the ability to extract minute amounts of touch DNA law enforcement might have been able to identify her killer.
Next week we’ll look at what happened in the early days of the investigation, a false confession and start unpacking the information on New Bethany Home for Girls and any possible link to Carol Ann Cole.
If anyone has any information on the murder of Carol Ann Cole or knows how Carol Ann got to Louisiana from Texas please contact the Bossier Parish Sheriffs Dept at 318.965.2203 Please give Carol Ann Cole’s family the peace that comes with closure. This is still an unsolved open case being investigated.In the meantime if you wish to contact anyone at NLQ about what happened to Carol Ann Cole, or with your own story please drop me an email at SuzanneNLQ@ .
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. She can be reached at SuzanneNLQ@
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