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Old 07-15-2007, 02:04 PM
2 posts, read 8,465 times
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My older sister & I were born in English, In. She remembers a story
from our late grandmother about a family who disappeared from close
to Taswell, In during the 1950's( ?) and were never heard from again.
She thinks the names were Tommy Vandiver, his wife & his daughter.
I've tried to find info on Google but this seems to be too far back.
Anybody know anything about this? This was before my time but I've always been curious about people who just seem to disappear without a trace & when my sister told me about this I said I'ld try to find something out as
she is not into computers. (Yes, I do watch Without A Trace on t.v.)
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:01 PM
310 posts, read 705,769 times
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What's New
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:07 PM
Location: Debary, Florida
2,267 posts, read 3,045,110 times
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I would contact someone at the historical society or someone at the local library...something like that. There will be someone in the area who knows something about it, even if you spoke with someone at the local newspaper or the police department.

It sounds like a fascinating mystery.

Its sad how many people might have been killed back then, when law enforcement didn't have the tools they have today, people gone and the killer never punished.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:14 AM
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Thanks so much for this info DCYE. I called my sister and she said she remembers that everybody including our grandmother thought the handyman did it, they just couldn't prove it.
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Old 10-25-2018, 07:04 AM
1 posts, read 1,690 times
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It was almost 60 years ago that the Vandiver family mysteriously disappeared deep in Crawford County's cave country. The year was 1949 when the disappearance was reported by William Messamore. The police and hundreds of volunteers searched the Hemlock Cliffs area, where the Vandivers lived, for days, but turned up absolutely nothing. It was as if they had simply vanished.

At the time Tom Vandiver, his wife Beatrice and Beatrice's daughter by a prior marriage, Wanda, were living with Messamore in his Hemlock Cliffs area home. Their own house had burned down four months earlier and being unemployed, Tom Vandiver was unable to relocate his family.

On any other day this event may have gone unnoticed and simply faded away in dusty old newspapers, but then William Messamore was arrested for a 1948 bank robbery in Kevil, Kentucky. At his trial he implicated Tom Vandiver as an accomplice, but the police were never able to establish a link. Messamore was sentenced and incarcerated at Alcatraz. Even though he was questioned about the Vandiver disappearance several times after that, he stuck to his story that he does not know what happened to the family that was living on his property.

To make things worse in this soap opera mystery, there are reports that 16 year old Wanda was Messamore's girlfriend. Messamore was 32 at the time of her disappearance, exactly twice her age! This relationship, too, Messamore denied.

The mystery was revived in 1986 when Messamore died. He never confessed to the Vandiver disappearance and never left any clues as to what may have happened. Tall tales blossomed in the area. Were Messamore and Vandiver accompaces? Did Messamore kill the Vandivers to get a full share of the loot? Did Vandiver take the money and his family and left Messamore "holding the bag"? Did the Vandivers accidentally find out that Messamore was a bank robber and were killed to be silenced? Did the reported relationship between Messamore and Wanda come to the Vandivers' attention and they were killed to keep the affair a secret? Did the Vandivers simply pick up and leave, seeking fortune in far away places? Or perhaps the earth really did open up and swallow the family...

Local people never forgot this mystery and Messamore Spring Cave is named after the infamous bank robber, as are Hemlock Cliffs, locally known as Messamore Cliffs. It is said that if you're ever wandering out in the woods in those parts, you should keep your eye out for human remains, possibly still waiting to be discovered in one of the old cracks in the sandstone that covers the landscape
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:14 AM
Location: NJ
22,486 posts, read 30,043,654 times
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They should all be reported to our national missing persons database NamUs in case remains are found somewhere. Is there any family left?

My guess is they were all killed like the McStay family a few years ago who eventually were found by accident.

Originally Posted by Roselvr View Post
You found the right person, or I should say the right person found you. It's what I do. I can help you or you can do it yourself. It's not hard.

I posted this to someone else the other day..

Please call Miami police to report her missing. She very well could be one of many Jane Doe's listed on our national missing and unidentified person's site NamUs.

You could also make an account on NamUs and enter her yourself on the missing person's site but you will need a missing person's report for the profile to go live and for them to get DNA to match against Jane Doe's
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:26 PM
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From English also heard the Messamore stories as a kid and they still intrigue me. I have been to the area on occasion and have camped there on occasion. I have not been there since the early 60's, but it is an interesting place caves, old burned down house site and what appeared to be sink holes. Big cliffs. Knew the two Crawford County Sheriffs Marcus Lane and Pete Eastridge also knew of the Hughes family as English is/was a small town. When I heard William Messamore was in poor health and had called Sheriff Pete Eastridge to his cell to have a discussion I was thrilled.....Was William perhaps confessing to Pete? However, according to the local paper Pete and William did not discuss the famed mystery. Very hard to believe???? I was so disappointed because I thought we would finally learn what really happened as there were so many different stories and rumors.

Interest in reading more on the incident if anyone has another links
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