Mary Lou Bostwick went missing from Waverly, New York, on July 17, 1972, at the age of 15, just three days before her sixteenth birthday.

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Mary Lou's father dropped her off at a friend's apartment on Broad Street in Waverly, New York, where she was supposed to babysit. However, when Mary Lou's mother went to the house three days later with her daughter's birthday cake and gifts, the occupants said that Mary Lou had never arrived there to babysit.

Strangely, her belongings, including a change of clothes she had brought in a grocery bag, were found at the apartment.

Mary Lou has not been heard from since that day. While she had stayed overnight with relatives and friends in the past, her family firmly believes that she did not run away and that she would have contacted them if she had been able to. Mary Lou attended Athens High School, and her parents had agreed to allow her to drop out of school after her birthday to help take care of her younger siblings.

In October 1973, another local girl, sixteen-year-old Sharron Coston, disappeared from Sayre, Pennsylvania. Her body was discovered a few days later, having been strangled and mutilated. Gerard Paul McKenna was convicted of her murder in 1974 and initially sentenced to death. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal in 1982, and by the time he was convicted a second time, the death penalty had been abolished in Pennsylvania. McKenna has since passed away while serving his sentence in prison.

via The Charley Project
via The Charley Project
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Mary Lou's mother believed that there may have been a connection between Sharron's murder and her own daughter's disappearance. One of the witnesses who testified against McKenna in exchange for immunity from prosecution is considered a suspect in Mary Lou's case. Additionally, there have been claims that Mary Lou was beaten to death during a party at a home in Sayre, but the story could not be substantiated.

When Mary Lou's brother passed away in 2004, she was listed in his obituary as having pre-deceased him. Foul play is strongly suspected, and Pennsylvania State Police and the Athens Township Police Department continue to investigate.

For further information or to provide any relevant information, please contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 570-697-2146 or the Athens Township Police Department at 570-888-2200.

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Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

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