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What Happened To Edna Scott? New Details On The Homicide That's Been Unsolved For 44 Years

Photo: Joplin Globe
Who is Edna Scott?Who Is Edna Scott? New Details On The Homicide That's Been Unsolved For 44 Years
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Her murder has been unsolved for 44 years.

In April 1975, a mushroom farmer made a gruesome discovery near the entrance to an old mine northwest of Purcell, Missouri. A woman laid face down in a shallow grave near the abandoned mine. She was wearing a white knit top. Her jeans were pulled down around her ankles and one tennis shoe was missing. The police thought that the body had been there for a couple of months due to the state of decomposition. The woman was not reported missing until the day after her body was discovered.

The dead woman was 21-year-old mother of three Edna Scott. Her older sister reported her missing and said she hadn't been seen since mid-January 1975 shortly after she separated from her husband Phil Scott. Her family identified her body with clothing she had been found in and a tattoo on her arm that read "I love Randy." The death of Edna Scott resulted in her son being separated from his sisters. The son, Edward Scott, went to live with his dad. The girls, Christine and Dondi, were taken in by another relative at first but eventually ended up in a number of foster homes before being adopted by John and Candy Meyer, a couple who worked for the Jasper County Sheriff's Department. The sisters never saw their brother again. How Edna Scott met her death remains an unsolved mystery that hangs over her family. What happened to Edna Scott?

1. Her daughter's quest for justice

Dondi Hamm is one of Edna Scott's daughters. She is 45 and lives in Springdale, Arkansas. She did not know that her mother had been murdered until her adoptive parents told her and her sister Christine when she was around 12. Their adoptive parents didn't share the specific details surrounding their mother's death. About a decade ago, Dondi grew curious and started looking into the matter. Nine years ago she hired a private investigator and learned that Edna was born April 9, 1954 in Tulare, California. Her maiden name was Lowrance. Dondi used the 'Find a Grave' website in 2010 to find her mother's grave. That led her to some former classmates of hers who gave her yearbook photos of her mother as a teenager.

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2. The mysterious apperance of a headstone

Dondi Hamm had visited her mother's grave about a half dozen times by 2014. Then, one day she was suprised to find a new headstone on her grave. There had not been one before. The headstone refers to Edna as a mother, daughter and cousin. Dondi pushed a stick into the ground with a ziplock bag attached with a note inside identifying herself as Edna Scott's daughter and thanking whomever put up the headstone. She asked if she could meet them. A month later, her mother's cousin Delores George contacted Dondi and said it had always bothered her that Edna never had a headstone. She had won money gambling and decided to use it to buy a headstone for her cousin.

3. The Clorox rumor

In 2012, Delores George told a Jasper County investigator that the rumor at the time of Edna's death was that somone injected her with Clorox and dumped her body outside the old mine. It's just one of three documents that exist in Edna Scott's file. The other are the death certificate and a Crime Lab report. Dondi Hamm learned that her mother's case file was believed to have been destroyed in a flood in 1993. The amount of time since Edna's death and the loss of her case file made pursuing the cold case a difficult proposition. 

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4. The evidence

The only existing evidence in the case is hair samples from her head and pubic area, skin from a foot, thumb and two fingers and fingernail scrapings. Any vaginal smears or tissue taken from her autopsy exist. Her 1975 autopsy revealed that tests of the liver for poisons and heavy metals offered no evidence. The coroner at the time believed that her death may have been the result of an overdose. Tests on her kidneys revealed the presence of barbituates but not enough to be deadly. 

5. Still unsolved

Dondi Hamm thinks her mother's poverty and the fact that she had three children by more than one father at 21 years old may have been a factor in her mom's death not being investigated as seriously as other homicides. Philip Whittle, the longtime director of the crime lab at Missouri Southern State University, was involved with the investigation into Edna Scott's death said there was no evidence to support the ruling of homicide the coroner put on the case. However, if Edna died naturally of an overdose or by any other manner she obviously did not take her own body to the abandoned mine and cover it up with boards. So, someone out there knows what happened to Edna Scott and her daughter is determined to find that person. 

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Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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