Details of Disappearance
Ramona was last seen in her hometown of Santa Barbara, California at 11:00 a.m. on September 2, 1961. Her family was in the process of moving, and she told her father she was going to walk from their Oak Avenue home to their new house. The distance was seven miles and her father didn't believe she would actually do it.
Half an hour later, Ramona's parents realized she was gone. She has never been heard from again. Dogs later tracked her scent for close to two miles down Modoc Road near the 101 Freeway, which was under construction at the time.
Two brothers who were known sex offenders were initially considered suspects in Ramona's disappearance. The men admitted they'd seen Ramona walking along Modoc Road and that they'd spoken to her, but they denied having harmed her. They were cleared of involvement after both of them passed lie detector tests.
One witness reported seeing Ramona climb into a faded blue 1953 or 1954 Plymouth. The vehicle's driver was described as a Caucasian man between 30 and 40, with dark eyes and hair, a receding hairline and thin features. He wore an open-collared sport shirt over a white undershirt. He was never identified. No other trace of Ramona could be found.
Authorities believe Mack Ray Edwards may have been responsible for Ramona's disappearance. A photograph of him is posted with this case summary. In 1970, Edwards pleaded guilty to killing three California children and sentenced to death at his own request. He confessed to killing Roger Madison
and two other missing children, Brenda Howell
and Donald Baker
Edwards was looking at the 101 Freeway construction site at the time of Ramona's disappearance, and investigators believe he buried her body in the vicinity. He claimed he used a bulldozer to bury Madison's body. Authorities believe he was also most likely responsible for the murders of several other children and the disappearances of Thomas Bowman
, Bruce Kremen
and Karen Tompkins
Edwards lead authorities to a site where he said he had buried some of his victims, but no evidence was located. He died by suicide on death row in 1971. His alleged victims ranged in age from seven to sixteen years old.
Ramona's parents are both deceased, but her older sister is still alive. In 2011, authorities mounted a new search for her body at the 101 Freeway.