Details of Disappearance
Louise was last seen at approximately 2:00 p.m. on June 21, 1979 in her hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio. She sunbathed in her family's backyard that day, and then Robert L. Wooten, the husband of one of her friends, came over to speak to her.
Wooten told Louise that his wife, who had been away, had come home and wanted to see Louise. She left with him and said she'd be back by 10:00 p.m., but she never returned. A photo of Robert is posted with this case summary.
The next day, Louise's father and sister ran into Wooten while out running errands and asked where Louise was. Robert said she had run away from home and not to wait for her to come back. Louise's family contacted authorities, who initiated an investigation.
Wooten claimed that he did not know Louise's whereabouts. He stated that she planned to run away from her home on June 21 and he offered his assistance. Wooten claimed that he last saw Louise entering a truck driven by a man named "Frank Grimm" on the day she vanished.
Investigators were unable to identify such a person and reportedly could not locate any other individuals in the area who were familiar with Grimm. Louise left her makeup, toothbrush, purse and $300 - $500 in cash at her family's home. Her first child had been stillborn and she had ordered a gravestone for the baby, but she went missing before the stone was delivered. These factors caused her family to think she had not really run away.
Investigators spoke to Debbie Taylor, an East Liverpool resident, two days after Louise vanished. Taylor was Louise's friend and Wooten's sister-in-law, but she initially claimed that the police were mistaken and she did not know Louise. She later changed her story and admitted they were friends, but said she had no idea where Louise was.
Taylor, her five-year-old son and her three-year-old daughter were beaten to death inside their apartment on June 25, two days after she spoke to authorities. Wooten confessed to the slayings and was sentenced to three terms of life in prison.
In June 1980, the county prosecutor got an anonymous letter that accused Wooten of killing Louise as well, and told authorities where to find her clothes. The letter directed the police to search Wooten's former residence in the 1700 block of Alpha Street in East Liverpool, stating the clothes were hidden in the basement, in a space between the floor and the wall.
The police conducted the search and they did find Louise's tank top, bikini top and blue jeans in a brown paper bag at the designated spot. Her parents identified the items as the clothes she was wearing on the day of her disappearance. A further search with dogs turned up no other evidence.
After this find, the police questioned Wooten in prison about Louise's disappearance. He said he wasn't involved, and agreed to meet with them again, then canceled the meeting.
Wooten continues to maintain his innocence in Louise's case and has not been formally named as a suspect. He is still in prison and has repeatedly been denied parole. Foul play is suspected in Louise's disappearance.