Details of Disappearance
Audrey married Ronald Backeberg in 1957, when she was about fifteen years old. The couple had two children together and resided on Vine Street in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Audrey was employed at the nearby woolen mill in the early 1960s. A photo of Ronald is posted with this case summary.
Authorities said that Audrey and Ronald's marriage was troubled and there were allegations of abuse. Audrey filed a criminal complaint against her husband on July 4, 1962. She said that Ronald beat her shortly beforehand, resulting in head injuries. Audrey also stated that Ronald threatened to murder her. She claimed that he had two loaded firearms inside the trunk of his vehicle.
Audrey departed from her family's residence during the day on July 7, 1962, three days after she contacted authorities regarding Ronald's alleged behavior. She planned to retrieve her paycheck from the mill at the time. Audrey never returned home and has not been heard from again. Ronald phoned many of her loved ones after her disappearance and inquired as to her whereabouts. He maintained his innocence in his wife's case from the onset.
The couple's fourteen-year-old babysitter returned to Wisconsin shortly after Audrey disappeared. She claimed that she and Audrey hitchhiked to Madison, Wisconsin and then took a Greyhound bus to Indianapolis, Indiana shortly after Audrey vanished.
After they left the bus, the girl decided to turn herself in as a runaway. She said she last saw Audrey walking around the corner away from the bus stop. The babysitter stated Audrey chose to leave of her own accord and said she would not return, but Audrey's family members insisted she would never have abandoned her children.
Ronald passed a polygraph exam conducted after Audrey's disappearance. There have not been any arrests in her case. Audrey's case remains unsolved.
Above: Ronald Backeberg, circa 1962