Details of Disappearance Mary was last seen in Murray County, Georgia sometime in March or April 2004. She had moved there from New Jersey to be near her son, Paul R. Mergel, and lived in a mobile home on five acres of land off Devonwood Lane near Chatsworth.
Mary's husband needed medical care that wasn't available locally, so she placed him in a nursing facility in New Jersey and visited him monthly. After her husband died in early 2004, she decided to sell her house and land and move back to New Jersey. She apparently never arrived, however. Her New Jersey relatives filed a missing persons report in May 2004.
When police officers visited her home to do a welfare check, they discovered her belongings were packed up and her vehicle was left behind. There was no sign of her and no one knew where she was.
When police searched Mary and Paul's home, they found numerous stolen guns. Paul was convicted of theft and sentenced to two years in prison. He was later charged with seven counts of first-degree forgery; he had forged Mary's name on her Social Security checks, cashed them and checked the money. He also used her credit cards, spending tends of thousands of dollars altogether.
Photos of Paul are posted with this case summary. He pleaded guilty to the forgery charges and was sentenced to probation, but violated it by leaving the state. Paul was subsequently arrested three times in New Jersey on drug charges. He was extradited back to Georgia and imprisoned for probation violation; he is still in custody. He is considered a person of interest in his mother's disappearance.
Mary is missing under suspicious circumstances, and her sister believes she was murdered. She was declared legally dead after her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.
- Murray County Sheriff's Office
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 8, 2016; middle name, height and weight added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.