Mary Oliva

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Above Images: Mary, circa 1973


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: July 28, 1973 from Wilber, Nebraska
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Age: 79 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'5 - 5'8, 120 - 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Dark hair.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A housecoat.
  • Medical Conditions: Mary suffered from heart problems, high blood pressure and memory problems at the time of her disappearance, and she was also reportedly depressed. She had dental surgery days before her disappearance. She requires medication for her heart condition and pain medication for the dental surgery, both of which she left behind.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Mary was last seen in Wilber, Nebraska on July 28, 1973. She disappeared with her husband of 52 years, Frank. Neighbors saw the couple come home between 8:00 and 9:00 that evening, just as it was getting dark. They left again a few minutes later, pulled out of their driveway, headed north, then turned east on the first cross street. The Olivas have never been heard from again. Their daughter-in-law, Shirley, came by after she found out they hadn't been seen for a week and their newspapers and milk deliveries had been piling up. The front door was closed but unlocked, nothing appeared to be out of place at their house, and Mary had left behind two bottles of medicine and her black purse, which she always carried with her. Only their beige 1958 Chevrolet 210 with the license plate number 225-910 was missing.

    Frank was born in Czechoslovakia. He moved to the United States at the age of seventeen and became a mason, carpenter and farmer. Mary is a Nebraska native. The Olivas moved to Wilber in 1957; many Czech immigrants lived in the town and they held a Czech Festival very year. After his retirement Frank continued to take odd jobs in the area. Mary appeared to be happy in Wilber and she enjoyed working in her garden and playing bingo on weekends. Mary's son by her first marriage died in 1959, and in 1960 the couple's daughter died of polio. Only one child, their son Frank Jr., remained. Mary's health was declining by 1973 and Shirley, Frank Jr.'s wife, came over frequently to help out around the house.

    Shortly before his disappearance, Frank told his son he didn't think he would travel anymore. He and Mary rarely left the county, although he frequently took her for drives in the local area. When they left home they usually traveled south into Wilber or to Frank's farm near Western, Nebraska, which Frank Jr. managed. However, two weeks before the disappearances, Frank Sr. purchased a Kansas-Nebraska road map at a local gas station.

    Authorities and Frank Jr. believe the Olivas committed suicide together. The theory is that Frank Sr. drove their car into a water-filled sandpit because he felt he was unable to take care of Mary any longer. He was depressed over Mary's health and had said repeatedly that he would not put his wife in a nursing home. Investigators searched nearby sandpits, but didn't come up with any evidence. The Olivas were declared legally dead seven years after the were last seen. They have never been located and their cases remain unsolved.


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Saline County Sheriff's Department


    Source Information
    The Lincoln Journal-Star
    The Doe Network


    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated May 16, 2010; casefile added.


    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 21, 2016; height and weight added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.

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