Carlene Brown, age 19, went missing from Rawlins, WY on July 4, 1974.
She was last seen at the Little Britches rodeo with her friend, Christy Gross. Christy went missing at the same time, but was found deceased in 1983. Her remains were located in a field three miles south of Sinclair – she had been the victim of a homicide by two blows to the head.
Carlene is still missing.
Carlene and Christy are believed to be victims of Royal Russell Long, a serial killer who often worked at carnivals and fairs around the country, and was known to be in the area in the summer of 1974. He abducted young women in pairs. Other examples of his probable victims are Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett, and Sharon Baldeagle and her unnamed friend who escaped and survived.
They could have been victims of Ted Bundy as well. Bundy’s last known victim had been Georgeann Hawkins in Seattle Washington on 6/11/1974, then appeared to take a break until Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, in St. Park, WA on 7/14/1974. Could he have been to Wyoming in between? The ‘blows to the head’ found on Carlene’s friend Christy are consistent with Bundy, as is the long, straight hair parted in the middle.
While all missing persons cases are disturbing, particularly those believed to be victims of serial killers, Carlene’s case has an added complication that, in all probability, will prevent her case from ever being solved.
She was adopted.
The identity of Carlene’s birth relatives are not known, and both of her adoptive parents are now deceased. With no dental records available, a familial DNA sample is the only hope of identifying her, if she has been, or may be, located.
I’ve searched pages upon pages of adoption inquiries on various registries, hopeful that one of her biological relatives had searched for her. I didn’t find anything close.
I then read an outline of the Wyoming Statute regarding adoption records, and found something promising – but it came with another snag.
Wyoming allows for the release of personal information on adoptees and birth families – under the condition that both parties give their consent. Either the adoptee, or one of the birth relatives, must petition the court, who will in turn appoint a “confidential intermediary” to contact the other party and ask for their consent. WIthout the adoptee, this seems like a dead end.
Just because I figured I had nothing to lose by asking, I contacted the University of Wyoming’s Law Clinic – they do pro bono cases and offer legal advice to those who are unable to afford private counsel. I explained the predicament, and that I would like to know how to request a confidential intermediary to request a DNA sample from her biological family – their identities wouldn’t even need to be released, but their DNA could be entered for comparison, and there’d at least be a chance that her case could someday be solved. Carlene’s parents would likely be in at least their 60’s now, so I thought it would be a good time to attempt to get the ball rolling. We shall see.
I will update if I get anywhere with this request – though I don’t have my hopes up terribly high.
A childhood friend of Carlene’s describes a spot near Casper Wyoming that gives her an eerie feeling whenever she passes by – strong enough to wake her while sleeping. I’d be interested in knowing where this spot is, so I could take a look at the area on Google Earth. You never know.