Family looks to new possible clues on Gill disappearance

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - By Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Family members of Elizabeth Gill feel they've found a trail that could lead them to Beth. It's an amazing turn for this family still holding out hope Missouri's oldest missing person's case will be solved. Gill vanished almost 47 years ago.

Amazingly, information they couldn't track at the time in 1965 is possible to research now. They discovered names of four so-called traveling gypsies and their family members who could hold information.

Investigators and family members tracked them down by using modern technology to do old fashioned detective work.

Standing yards from her childhood home on south Lorimier, Martha Gill Hamilton remembers black and white memories of the day that changed their family and this neighborhood forever..

June 13, 1965 is the day her baby sister Elizabeth vanished while playing in the yard.

"To find anything some 45 years after a child disappears it's almost a miracle to me," said Hamilton.

Even in the neighborhood, almost 47 years later, Hamilton meets an old neighbor who vividly remembers the search for Elizabeth.

"Oh it was intense," said Bruce Melvin. "I was a teenager. The whole neighborhood searched. Police were everywhere."

Back then, it seemed the trail went cold quickly, yet facts and interviews gathered that day would eventually give Hamilton and investigators enough material to form a new path.

"To actually locate someone who had a connection that were persons of interest in 1965 that's amazing," said Hamilton.

They turned out to be four members of a traveling clan known as the terrible Williamsons.  Authorities say they stayed at this local motel while working a nationwide network of fraud.

Hamilton says a gas station owner not far from her childhood home actually tipped off police about the group.  He said they used three different license plates on one car, and tried to trade hand bags for gas.

"The fact that we can prove who was here, and when they were here, they left under strange circumstances suddenly about the same time Elizabeth disappeared says to me they could be involved," said Hamilton.

Hamilton and investigators found the only living clan member in the southeast united states.  Cape detectives flew out to interview a relative.  She told them enough to keep them interested.

Hamilton calls this just the beginning. She believes these individuals can help her family find out what happened to Beth.

"They have an idea they know what happened in 1965," said Hamilton.

Hamilton plans to meet with investigators from Florida to decide their next move.

They are looking for anyone with information about this clan of travelers.  They want to point out their eyes are still open to other possibilities.

Meanwhile, as we've reported several women have come forward who believe they could be Elizabeth. It is Hamilton's hope that Elizabeth may be out there searching for her true identity.

So far, they are waiting for DNA results from one of the women. All the others have been ruled out.

You will find a lot more information on this story.   The clan of travelers  evidence used to track down individuals for information, and more in our web-extra.

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