Details of Disappearance
Billy was last seen at his residence in the 300 block of North Colfax Street in Brazil, Indiana on August 10, 1957. At 2:00 p.m. he came home with a dirty shirt and his mother, who was cleaning the house, asked Harry A. "Tex" Higgins, a lodger, to change his shirt on the front porch so he wouldn't bring dirt into the house. Afterwards, Higgins sat outside and Billy and his four-year-old brother played on tricycles in the yard while the boys' mother cleaned.
At 3:30 p.m., Billy's brother came home crying due to an argument with Billy. When Billy's mother went outside, she noticed both Billy and Higgins were gone. She wasn't concerned about it and continued to work in the house until 6:00 p.m., when Higgins came back without Billy.
He said the last time he'd seen Billy, the child had been playing in the road a few blocks away on Depot Street and Higgins had nearly hit him with his car, and had scolded him and told him to go home. This was at 4:00 p.m. Billy has never been heard from again.
The authorities focused their investigation on Billy's parents and on Higgins, a family friend who had moved into the Martin home just two weeks before Billy's disappearance when he lost his job. All three of them were polygraphed, as was Billy's aunt. The results of the polygraphs suggested Higgins and Billy's parents knew more about the disappearance than they were saying.
The Martins said Higgins had spent a lot of time around their children and they did not believe he would have harmed Billy. Higgins was held in custody for two weeks, then released without charge. His only prior criminal history had been for wife desertion. Billy's father could not have been involved in his son's disappearance, as he had been away in Wisconsin at the time training with the National Guard.
Billy's parents both died in the 1990s. His case has never been solved. Foul play is suspected.