Joseph Edwards

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Above: Edwards, circa 1964

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: July 12, 1964 from Vidalia, Louisiana
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Age: 25 years old
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American male. Edwards's nicknames are Joe and JoeEd. He may have burn scars on his body; he suffered third-degree burns in an accident before his disappearance, and was also scalded as a child.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Edwards was last seen at the Shamrock Motel in Vidalia, Louisiana on July 12, 1964. He was employed at the motel as a porter and handyman. He has never been heard from again. His two-tone blue and beige 1958 Buick was found abandoned on a street behind an old bowling alley on the Ferriday-Vidalia Highway a few days after his disappearance. There were bloodstains in the vehicle and a belt that did not belong to Edwards, and a necktie tied in the shape of a noose was on the steering wheel.

    The Ku Klux Klan was responsible for many acts of violence against local African-Americans in the 1960s, including murders. The Shamrock Motel was one of their local hangouts. Edwards was allegedly dating white women around the time of his disappearance, which could have made him a target for Klan violence. Authorities heard multiple reports that Klan members shot Edwards to death, covered his body in concrete and threw it in the Mississippi River. Another informant told Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents that Klansmen skinned Edwards alive. None of the stories have been confirmed.

    The skull of an African-American or Native American male was found in Clayton, Louisiana in 2002. It had a small hole in the forehead, and the lower jaw was missing. Authorities believe the skull could be Edwards's remains, but it will take DNA testing to verify this.

    Edwards lived with his grandparents on Highway 900 in Clayton at the time of his disappearance, and worked three jobs: at the Shamrock Motel, the Albert Pick Motel and the Swift meat-packing house. He has eleven siblings, seven of whom are still living. Edwards was engaged to be married in 1964. His loved ones describe him as a snappy dresser who enjoyed gambling and was popular with women. His case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

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    Source Information
    The Concordia Sentinel

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated April 15, 2009; details of disappearance updated.

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