The Doe Network:
Case File 1880DFTX


Virginia Carpenter
Missing since June 1, 1948 from Denton, Denton County, Texas
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

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.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Denton County Sheriff's Office

Source Information:
Laredo Morning Times
Denton Record-Chronicle - 8/3/97

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