Diane White recalls the moment she knew something bad had happened to her big sister, Denise. In the summer of 1965, 9-year-old Denise Sue Clinton was sleeping in a hotel bed near Kansas City International Airport.
Denise and Diane’s grandparents owned the hotel in Kansas City. Denise had spent the day with her grandparents and had been put to bed for the night. Around two AM a man entered the hotel lobby with a gun demanding money.
After clearing out the register, the man bound and gagged the couple and left. The couple freed themselves and immediately called the police.
The grandparents checked on little Denise after freeing themselves and learned she had been taken from her bed. Police set up roadblocks looking for the suspect, but only later had an actual report of what the car looked like.
The only description of the suspect is that he was a young white male driving an older white Oldsmobile. Search and rescue dogs were brought in as well as riders on horseback to canvas the area. They came up with nothing.
A composite sketch of the abductor was released and set up came in the grandparents’ Independence, Missouri home. They set up a reward of $10,000 and awaited a ransom call for Denise. The call never came. For two years the family waited for news.
In late September 1976, the remains of a little girl were found all the way in Wyoming. Ranchers riding in the pine forest stumbled upon the confirmed remains of Denise. There was not enough evidence on her body to lead to any suspects. Police cannot come up with an explanation of how she ended up so far from home and what the killer’s motivation was for taking her.
No suspects were ever brought in for questioning and the case went cold. It has been more than fifty years since the death of Denise and all the questions surrounding her death remain unanswered. Since then her parents have passed, but her sister Diane remains. She is still looking for answers and to find out who took her big sister all those years ago and why.