Corinne Groenenberg went missing from Modesto, California on November 1, 1973.
She was last seen as she left her home, and began walking. A family friend followed her until she reached the highway, where she was seen hitchhiking, and ultimately getting into a blue or green truck with a male driver.
There is some confusion as to her age. NamUs states that she was 16, while a Modesto Bee article says she was 14. I’m inclined to go with the newspaper article, since the information was more than likely supplied by her parents – plus, I think she looks closer to 14 in her photo. I couldn’t find a birth record to eliminate any doubts, though. It appears she wasn’t born in California.
The family had moved to Modesto from Southern California a few months earlier prior to her disappearance.
There is really no information in articles or online case files that give any indication of what her intentions may have been, however a couple things lead me to speculate that she may have been having problems at the time of her disappearance.
One is pretty obvious – she was 14, and transplanted in a new city, away from everything she knew.
NamUs states she was last seen at 12:29pm. November 1, 1973 was a Thursday. For some reason, it appears she wasn’t at school.
Why does a family friend follow her as she walks to the highway? If it were out of fear for her safety, why watch as she gets into a truck with an unknown male? And why not follow the truck? Did Corinne get picked up immediately as she approached the highway, or did the friend sit in his or her car, waiting until she got a ride? I’d guess there was a reason – some sort of circumstance that caused the friend to be concerned.
Her family seems to believe she’s alive. They moved back to Southern California shortly after Corinne’s disappearance, but have continued to own Corinne’s childhood home (although they don’t live there), thinking she may go back there at some point.
It would help to know if Corinne was having problems, if she told anyone where she was going, or if she was homesick for Southern California. Did she take anything with her when she walked away from the home?
I stumbled across this unsolved homicide, which occurred in Modesto:
On July 16, 1975, The body of Donna Joann Peeples, age 17, was found in a grape vineyard near Maze Blvd and Dakota Ave in West Modesto. It was believed that she was killed elsewhere and disposed of in the vineyard. The articles on this homicide do not indicate when or how she died.
It is known that the day she went missing, she had been out with friends, and told them she was going on a date with a man named Lex.
I have no reason to think these two cases are connected, but still thought it was worth mentioning, in case Corinne had mentioned a Lex, or perhaps knew Donna. There has been some speculation that Donna may have been a Zodiac victim, but no evidence of that theory.
There is another missing persons case from Modesto, of Sylvia Standley, who also reportedly got into a blue or green truck, but this was in 1986 – probably not the same truck 13 years later, but more likely a strange coincidence. Sylvia Standley is thought to be a possible Speed Freak Killers victim.
There’s really no way for me to lean toward one theory or another in this case. There are no unidentified females listed in NamUs from Stanislaus County.
I’d sure like to know what was going on with Corinne in the days and hours leading up to her disappearance. I hope she ran away and has found happiness somewhere.