Marjorie West – Missing

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Marjorie West born in 1934 is not just a name on a missing person’s file, she is my first cousin once removed. In May of 1938, while picking flowers behind a rock at a family picnic she disappeared. My mother was 6 at the time and had just had her birthday party about 10 days before and Marjorie had attended.

It became one of Pennsylvania’s biggest man hunts looking for the little girl. Searchers combed the tree covered hillside looking for her, there was fear that she had fallen down an old forgotten well after wandering away from the roc k. Her older sister who was about 11 had just walked away from her for a moment. “Stay away from going behind the rock,” she had been warned. As small children are prone to do, that is right where she went.

The assumption that the other children involved will get over it and heal, life will go on and things blur and forgotten is not necessarily true. My mother collected all of the newspaper clippings, pasting them into her scrapbook along with pictures of Shirley Temple, glamour girls and animals. She gave me the scrapbook a couple of years ago. The clippings had yellowed with time but the stress and strain on the family pictured could still be felt today. Marjorie’s parents would eventually divorce and her sister is the only living sibling of three.

The effects of that day lasted long into mom’s adulthood and when she had children made her extra cautious about where we were and who we were with. She confessed to me that she use to call my girlfriends mother when I cut across backyards to ensure I had arrived safe, a trip that took a minute at most.

The searches found the crushed bouquet of violets, picked for her mother for mother’s day, lying on the ground not far from the rock that hid her small size from view. They brought bloodhounds in that day. The dogs followed her scent into the middle of the road and stopped. Rumors, tips and hints flooded in, sightings of a small girl with a man heading south. Another young boy was missing south of the area that Marjorie disappeared in, could they be related?

Here in Memphis a woman was arrested for selling stolen children as orphans to wealthy families during that same time period. Connections were never made to her operation and I wonder, could Marjorie possibly still be alive.




  1. As the grandaughter of the sister of Marjorie, I remember listening to my grandmother tell me stories about Marjorie and the saddness she felt for leaving her sister alone for those few moments. My grandmother held on to her feeling of responsibility until her passing 2 years ago. I wish that my grandmother could have learned the fate of her sister, but hopefully they are now reunited.

  2. I am sorry to hear of your Grandmother’s passing, the story of her sister has been of interest to alot of us for many years. I have been studying this case and was wondering if you might be able to answer a few questions for me? Did your Grandmother mention what the weather was like that day? It sure seems out of the way for someone to just drive by and hope to find a child to kidnap did she ever have a theory that it could have been someone that the family knew even as aquaintences because I was thinking that it would have had to have been someone that was from around the area or that had at least been there before, or possibly followed the family from church. If you want to contact me my email is I am not a news reporter or anything I am an independent research investigator that does websleuthing for missing and unidentified children and adults.Sincerely, Miss Melanie Burton

  3. a few years ago I came across the pa missing person file. I have a feeling this may have been my Ex wife’s grandmother. when we dated and into our marraige i was told by my exwife and her grandmother, that she didn’t know her birthdate but she thought it was early june and i think they used June 1st or 2nd and she didn’t know what year she was born so they just guessed at her age, when i first saw her photo she bore a very close resemblance to her grandmother the shape of her mouth and cheeks, and they Eyes. I have shown my ex photos of margorie without telling her beforehand where i got them, she said “that sure looks like my grandmother” compared to the photos she has seen of her grandmother as a child, commenting on how her grandmother had the natural shirley temple curls. My Ex also stated they didn’t have any photos earlier than around age 5 or so. It just strikes me how much her grandmother looked like the sister’s aged photo. i contacted laural mountain contact and a few others listed on the site, but nothing ever came to fruition, not even an off to have dna check done. I am sure one of my sons would have no objection to this.

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