Betty Balas

Betty, circa 1980

  • Missing Since 12/13/1980
  • Missing From Los Angeles, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 02/02/1904 (115)
  • Age 76 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'4, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Betty has pierced ears and a scar on her abdomen.

Details of Disappearance

Betty was last seen at her home on north Gardner Avenue in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles, California on December 13, 1980. She disappeared together with her husband, Louis, sometime between 6:15 and 9:00 p.m., and neither of them have ever been heard from again.

When authorities checked the Balas residence, they found the front door open and a set of keys still in the lock, the television set turned on, and the bathtub filled with water. There were no indications of a struggle and the only items that appeared to be missing were the couple's car and the car keys.

The Balases' maroon four-door 1978 Cadillac was found the next day in a vacant lot off Crenshaw Boulevard, near the Santa Monica Freeway and seven miles from the Balas home. There were no bloodstains in or on the vehicle.

The Balases vanished the day before Louis was supposed to testify against Larry Eugene Boyce, who on October 31, 1978, had allegedly attacked him in a bank parking garage, robbed him and threatened his life. Boyce, who had previously served eight years in prison for murder, was out on bail at the time Louis and Betty disappeared. In December 1980 he was scheduled to go to trial for a total of fourteen felonies, including kidnapping and robbing Louis.

Dozens of other witnesses were also scheduled to testify against Boyce, and it hasn't been proven that Betty and Louis's disappearances were related to the upcoming trial. He was ultimately convicted of a variety of charges, including kidnapping Louis, and sentenced to life in prison plus 33 years.

Foul play is suspected in the Balases' cases. Investigators believe up to three individuals, including a woman who may have been pregnant at the time, were involved in their disappearances. The cases remain unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • California Department of Justice
  • Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit
  • 916-227-3244

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 28, 2016; details of disappearance updated.