Marjorie Croude McKinley Chillingworth
Missing since June 14, 1955 from West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Chillingworth was last seen with her husband Judge Curtis Chillingworth at a dinner in West Palm Beach, Florida on June 14, 1955. They left the dinner about 22.00, for their Manapalan home.
They had hired a carpenter to come the morning of June 15 to build a playground for the grandchildren. The carpenter arrived at 8.00. The door was open and the home was empty. Chillingworth didn't show up for a 10.00 hearing at the courthouse in West Palm Beach.
Police found a shattered porch light, drops of blood on the walkway to the beach, and two used spools of adhesive tape, one in the sand and one in the living room. Also found was dry swim suits, discounting the idea of accidental drowning during a morning swim. Money still in the judge's billfold and $40 still in Marjorie's pocketbook ruled out robbery. The keys were still in the ignition of Chillingworth's Plymouth.
And extensive search turned up no clues. In 1957, Curtis and Marjorie Chillingworth were declared dead.
Judge Joseph Peel was the city's only municipal judge. Peel was protecting bolita operators and moonshiners. In 1953, he represented both sides in a divorce. His superior, Chillingworth, gave him only a reprimand, with the warning that this was his last chance.
In June 1955, with Judge Chillingworth possibly about to end Peel's career over the non-divorce fiasco, Peel had been in a panic. Lucky Holzapfel, a carpenter's apprentice, a service station attendant and a bartender bought a skiff, and a second anchor. On the night of June 14, he and accomplice Bobby Lincoln went to Manalapan and landed on the beach behind the house around 1.00. Bobby Lincoln crouched in the bushes as Lucky knocked on the door. The judge answered in his pajamas. Lucky pulled a pistol from under his shirt and forced the Judge and his wife into the boat. After the boat drifted for about an hour, the couple were thrown overboard with lead weights strapped to their legs.
On December 12, Lucky pleaded guilty to both murders and was sent to Death Row. On March 30, 1961, Peel was found guilty of accessory to murder. He received two life sentences. The accomplice to the murder, Bobby Lincoln, finished his federal prison term in Michigan in 1962.
Investigators Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Palm Beach Post
Return to the Unexplained Disappearances' Index