Details of Disappearance
Wendy and a friend,
Peggy Rahn, were last seen in Pompano Beach, Florida on December 29, 1969. They had gone to the beach separately; a family friend took Peggy and Wendy went with her uncle. The girls met at the beach by chance and began playing together. They both attended Palmview Elementary School and had mutual friends, but they didn't know each other well prior to that day.
At 1:00 p.m., Peggy and Wendy decided to walk to the parking lot to buy ice cream. A convenience store clerk reported seeing a man buying ice cream cones for Peggy and Wendy. He identified the girls from photographs and described their companion as a Caucasian man, 25 to 30 years old, about six feet tall and 190 to 200 pounds, with sandy-colored hair, gray/blue eyes, a two-inch scar on the back of his right hand between his thumb and first finger, and a humped nose. He was wearing a red turtleneck, blue dungaree pants, and a gray pinstriped sports coat, and drove a metallic blue 1966 or 1967 Chevrolet with a black vinyl top and wire wheel covers. Peggy and Wendy have never been heard from again.
Authorities initially suspected both girls had drowned. However, nobody saw them in distress in the water that day, their bodies were not recovered, and Wendy was known to be a good swimmer. The drowning theory was eventually discarded as implausible. The man who took Peggy to the beach was questioned as a possible suspect. He cooperated with the investigation, passed a polygraph, and was cleared.
One suspect in the girls' cases was Kenneth Guy Shilts, a serial child molester who was arrested in Alabama six weeks after Peggy and Wendy vanished. He kept a coded notebook apparently recording his crimes, and there was an entry that said "Peggy and Wendy Pompano Beach." Shilts admitted having been in central Florida around the time the girls went missing, but denied having had anything to do with their disappearances. Authorities were never able to prove his involvement. He died in 1991. A photo of him is posted below this case summary.
The serial killer Gerard John Schaefer Jr. is another suspect in the children's disappearances. A photograph of him is posted below this case summary. Schaefer is a suspect in the deaths and disappearances of dozens of girls and young women, including
Pamela Nater and
Carmen Hallock. The family of
Debora Lowe, who disappeared in 1972, believes he was involved in her case as well. Schaefer was only convicted of two murders. Prosecutors publicly accused him of killing Peggy and Wendy in 1973. He denied it at that time, but in 1989 he wrote a letter and confessed to murdering the girls. He was never charged in their cases, however, and was himself murdered in prison in 1995.
Wendy and Peggy have never been found.
Left: Gerald Schaefer;
Right: Kenneth Shilts