Martha Alice Mertz

Mertz, circa 1961

  • Missing Since 06/22/1961
  • Missing From Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 47 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'2, 100 - 120 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white blouse and black pedal-pusher pants.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Mertz was last seen in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at 8:00 p.m. on June 22, 1961. That evening she got into a heated argument with her husband of eleven years. He left their apartment in the 40 block of west Vine Street to get some cigarettes, and when he returned, she was gone.

When she failed to return home that night, her husband went to see Mertz's brother, who ran the furniture business where she worked. After borrowing money from him, Mertz's husband drove to West Palm Beach, Florida to visit his sister and "cool off." Meanwhile, Mertz's sister in Lancaster reported her missing.

She had left home multiple times before after disputes with her husband, but would always contact a relative. This time, she was never heard from again.

Another resident of the apartment building had overheard the argument between Mertz and her husband the night of her disappearance; the witness said it was no different than other arguments she'd overheard, and that she hadn't heard anything to indicate physical violence. Mertz's husband stated she took a suitcase with her, but he was unable to tell the police what clothing items were missing, and a new outfit she had recently purchased was left behind.

A close friend of Mertz's said Mertz had confided that she was tired of the constant arguments with her husband and that someday she would leave and no one would know where she was. She left behind her last two paychecks and her vacation pay, and never touched her bank accounts, which contained a total of about eight to nine thousand dollars; the money was distributed to her heirs when she was declared legally dead seven years later.

Little information is available as to Mertz's fate. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Lancaster Bureau of Police 717-735-3362

Source Information

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 14, 2019; two pictures added, details of disappearance updated.