According to the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as of May 1, 2012, there are 47,673 active missing adult cases in the United States. Many of these cases date back decades.
Madeline Anna Babcock was 35 years old when she vanished from Venice, CA. The beautiful young woman who went by the nickname Lynn, had been employed as a barmaid at Fred’s Tavern and worked a second job on an assembly line at a local factory, in Santa Monica.
According to Patricia Foy, Madeline’s sister, the last time anyone heard from Madeline was the afternoon of June 11, 1968 at approximately 4:00pm when she called her mother from a payphone in Venice. She told her mother that she planned to have a friend drive her to her mother’s home the following day, approximately 20 miles away; she never arrived.
In July, Madeline’s mother and sister travelled to Venice in search of her, and they were told by the owner of the tavern that Madeline had not reported to work the first week of July. Madeline’s property owner at her apartment on Flower Street permitted her mother and sister entry into her apartment, where they found all of her personal belongings were gone. It appeared she had moved out, though the property owner had not been aware of any activity at the residence. The identity of Madeline’s friend who she indicated was going to drive her to her mother’s home was never identified. Foy and her mother proceeded to attempt to make a missing person report with Venice Police Department, but they were told by police that Madeline probably left willingly; her family disagrees.
In 1968, law enforcement’s handling of missing person cases was very different than it is today. The FBI’s NCIC system did not exist and families were lucky to get police to accept a missing person report. Currently, Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the case, but leads have grown cold in the years following. She would be almost 80 years old today.
In 2007 a person came forward and said they may have possible information that Madeline had been located, but unable to speak for herself. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), Madeline was born with hydrocephalus, an often disability condition that can cause swelling of the brain. Madeline’s mother has since passed away but Foy provided a DNA sample to cross-reference with the DNA from the unidentified woman but it was not a match.
Often long-term missing person cases fall through the cracks and sadly, decades can pass without resolution for surviving family members. Many families have turned to private investigators for help. With any cold case, private investigators focus on reviving leads by interviewing individuals who knew the missing person at the time of their disappearance, former coworkers, friends, and family. Working cooperatively with law enforcement, private investigators bring with them a new set of eyes to review details of the case and the ability to spark the interest of media providing exposure necessary to potentially generate new leads. Advocates caution families to check the work history of any private investigator they plan to hire to avoid becoming victims of financial and emotional exploitation, but also agree hiring a private investigator may be their only hope to find the fate of their missing loved one.
Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder, National Center for Missing Adults
& Social Network Advocate
Missing Persons Advocacy Network