Beverly Potts Disappearance – Who Killed Beverly Potts?

Beverly Potts Disappearance - Who Killed Beverly Potts?

The tragic case of the Beverly Potts disappearance turned even more mysterious by the arrival of a letter confession on a Cleveland reporter’s desk. Who killed Beverly Potts and was this murderous correspondence the real deal?

August 24

The Beverly Potts disappearance took place on the evening of August 24, 1951. At the time Beverly was just ten years old and she was looking forward to taking part in the summer festival at Halloran Park.

She was accompanied by one of her good friends who unfortunately had to return home on curfew at about half past eight. Beverly was allowed to stay and enjoy the festivities until the end.

The last time anyone remembers seeing Beverly on that night in August was at approximately 9:30pm. She never returned home to her parents and was instantly reported missing – it was as if the air had swallowed her up.

The Beverly Potts Disappearance

Who Killed Beverly Potts
Who Killed Beverly Potts?

Beverly was known to be a quite a shy girl and very well behaved for her parents and school teachers. Her family life was an extremely happy and stable affair so there are no indications that she would want to run away at the time.

Her family also claimed that she was a very cautious young lady especially around the males (boys her age and older men). She had been taught never to go near strangers and had been warned about strange men approaching her.

Beverly’s family indicated that they had only warned her about the dangers of unknown men – not women. Could the Beverly Potts disappearance be centered around a woman enticing her away from the festival that night?

Initial Suspects And False Leads

So the search began – who killed Beverly Potts and what were their dark motives? Unfortunately the case attracted many false leads and what I can only refer to as sickos.

Two months after Beverly disappeared her family were contacted by a guy who claimed he was holding the young girl captive. He demanded $25,000 for her safe return. When the incident was looked into further it was determined that this sicko was nothing more than an opportunist looking to cash in on the poor girl’s demise.

In 1980 a retired Cleveland detective claimed he had actually solved the case way back in 1974. He said that he received contact from a man who thought his brother was responsible for the crime.

This man stated that his brother had fled Cleveland in 1966 after being charged with the abduction of two young females. He then went on to explain that his brother had actually come clean on the murder of Beverly.

They managed to locate this man’s brother and he actually confessed to being responsible for the Beverly Potts disappearance. For some crazy reason the district attorney apparently would not prosecute due to lack of evidence. (it’s worth noting that this claim has never been proved to be true).

Initial Suspects And False Leads

The Mysterious Letters

So for many decades the authorities struggled to find an answer to the Beverly Potts mystery. All of a sudden in 2000 an unidentified person wrote two letters to a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter.

The writer of the letters claimed he was the man who killed Beverly Potts and he was coming clean because he was dying. This man said he would be turning himself over to police custody on August 24, 2001 – this was the 50th anniversary of the Beverly Potts disappearance.

Days before the 24th he then sent another letter to the same newspaper claiming he was being sent to a nursing home. For some reason this would stop him from revealing his true identity.

There was a mass of activity as the authorities looked into the identity of this man but they could not pinpoint who he was. Many investigators believe that this creepy correspondence was genuine…

4 comments on “Beverly Potts Disappearance – Who Killed Beverly Potts?

  1. I have read James Badal’s book, “Twilight of Innocence” and other material on the web. There are some striking inconsistencies in this case. She was shy around men even those she knew. Yet the main theory is that someone she trusted lured her away, most child sex offenders are men. She was very well behaved, yet she had been reprimanded for loosing track of time, so did she know when to come home. She was also seen talking to two young guys, 17 to 20 in a car by several people. Yet she is too shy to talk to men or boys she knows. I saw a television show here in Australia where they staged a guy trying to pick up girls in that age range and guess what, about half got in the car in response to a ruse. Their mothers were stunned, my little girl would never talk to a stranger etc.
    If Beverly was taken by the guys in the car and she did know one of them as suggested surely her parents could have identified them. A 10 year old girl does not have male acquaintances twice her age unbeknownst to her family. If she did then the whole family and indeed the case have been misrepresented by written history.

    1. You make some good points. However, I think that due to the 12 year age difference between her and her sister, she would be more likely to have a casual acquaintance, or at least visual recognition, with males and females closer to her sister’s age. Especially in 1951, before technology, when people knew their neighbors and things like high school sporting events were community social events. Also, the fact that she was reportedly shy, doesn’t equate with socially backward and unable to follow basic etiquette, like “speak when you are spoken to”. And teaching basic manners was actually normal parenting in this era, too.

  2. You raise a good point about Beverly being perhaps more aware of people in the sister’s age range and maybe more responsive to them; I never thought of that. I think now also that James Badal sold his book on the mystery aspect and tended to dismiss witness accounts in favor of leaving things more opened ended.
    Given the point made by vmjh about her possible comfort toward people at her sisters age and witness accounts; the two males in the 1937 black Dodge coupe she was seen talking to have to be red hot suspects. If they were there Innocently, they never came forward. That this car or occupants was never identified beggars belief if they were innocent. I suggest they were not and two criminals capable of murdering a child would be automatically harder to find. You think there may still be living memory of those two males and that car, further publicity could unearth something.

    1. Thanks to both of you (Greg and VMJH) for leaving your opinions on this article – all good points made! Comments like yours help our articles evolve and remain evergreen – which we appreciate immensely 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *