Doe Network

1880DFTX - Mary Virginia Carpenter


Name: Mary Virginia Carpenter
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: June 1, 1948
Location Last Seen: Denton, Denton County, Texas

Physical Description

Date of Birth: January 25, 1927
Age: 21 yrs old
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 120 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Nickname/Alias: Jimmie/Virginia Carpenter
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Long hair


Dentals: Not Available
Fingerprints: Not Available
DNA: Not Available

Clothing & Personal Items

Clothing: Striped chambray dress, White hat and Red platform shoes
Jewelry: Unknown
Additional Personal Items: A bag

Circumstances of Disappearance

Carpenter was last seen in Denton, Texas on June 1, 1948. She left her home in Texarkana, Texas and took a train to Denton. She got off the train in Denton and took a taxi to the campus of what is now Texas Woman's University. She stepped out of the cab in front of Brackenridge Hall at the Texas State College for Women a little after 21.00. She gave the cab driver the ticket for her trunk and a dollar to fetch it the next day from the train station. She walked over to talk to two young men she appeared to know. ``Well, hi. What are you doing here?'' she asked them. The cab driver then drove away.

The cab driver delivered Carpenter's trunk the next morning. It sat on the porch for days. In 1948, police questioned Miss Carpenter's boyfriend for 12 hours the first time around and interviewed him more than a dozen times after that. He also passed a polygraph test. Police searched the cab driver, looking for scratches or bruises. They grilled the cabby numerous times. He was 45, with little education and a reputation for physical abuse. According to reports in the Denton police files, the cabby was a ``bootlegger, part-time mechanic and automobile trader''.

In 1957, his wife, who was married to someone else by then, told Midland police she had lied when she said he was home that night by 22.00. Actually, according to the police files, she said he had come in at 02.00 or 03.00 a.m. the next morning. And each year on June 1, when the Denton Record-Chronicle rehashed the unsolved case, he traveled from Midland to Denton and bought a paper, his wife told the officers. He was never charged.

The year before her disappearance, five Texarkana teens were murdered by a person who has never been identified. The press dubbed him the ``Phantom Killer.'' Miss Carpenter and her family were friends with three of the five victims.

In May of 1998, police were given a tip by a man in his 70s who claimed to know who killed Ms. Carpenter and where she was buried. Police said the informant was close to some of the people who were allegedly involved in Ms. Carpenter’s disappearance. The sheriff said the two suspects in the murder are now dead.

Investigating Agency(s)

Agency Name: Denton County Sheriff's Office
Agency Contact Person: Captain Rick Clark
Agency Phone Number: 940-349-1600
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: N/A

NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: Unknown

Information Source(s)

Denton County Sheriff's Office
Laredo Morning Times
Denton Record-Chronicle - 8/3/97

Admin Notes

Added: 1/29/06; Last Updated: 7/8/2017

Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.

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