Mrs. Billie Shaffer of Seminole, daughter of Judge W.A. McDaniel's also of Seminole, and wife of an Air Force captain assigned to Greenland, went to see a doctor for treatment of mild depression and loneliness as a wife at home with her husband oversees. Then she went shopping with a friend and attended a dinner party. She called home to her mother, who was taking care of her two children, and told her to expect her back in Seminole anytime from 12:15 to 1:30 a.m.. It was February 21, 1959.
She enjoyed a last meal with friends and she left, purchases in her car, and headed back to Seminole from Oklahoma City. She never made it. She was reported missing February 21, 1959.
Her car was found, minus woman, with her purse, purchases and keys in the ignition with the motor running. The 1958 Buick Sedan had been abandoned along a road NE of Oklahoma City. It was just south of NE 10th southeast of the general area of Choctaw Road, east of Lake Hiwassee Road, Later examination by Highway Patrol found her hat crushed in a ditch and a dent in her back bumper.
She was found far from where she would have been headed. An massive search was launched when her car was found deserted along NE 10 and Choctaw Rd with all items inside and the motor running. Several noted its presence among them the Highway Patrol. When she did not arrive home to her parents to retrieve her children, her father launched a search.
Like other murders of the time period the body was placed far into a field or similar remote area. The area was about three miles north of Choctaw (and NE 23rd) and about one mile east of Lake Hiawassee Road. There were no visible signs of violence or cause of death.
A Dr. William Jacques, OU Medical School Department of Pathology, assisted a Sheriff Bob Turner in the investigation of the body. She was clad in some clothes but but had a skirt and a slip on with other clothes nearby. The skirt was shoved up some but there was no sign of sexual assault and no signs of the clothes being torn or ripped.
Her other shoe was nearby. One revealed serious scuff marks along the side but the soles were oddly lacking in wear - especially given the fact she was in the middle of a rough area of a field and at the time period of her disappearance would have suffered in some weather had she walked away from her running car three miles away.
It appeared someone had to have carried her to the area of the field where she was found.
Although there were no signs of knife, bullet, or blunt object blows, there were three odd facts. She had a drop of blood on the inside collar area behind her neck. There were bruises consistent with compression bruises around her neck such as would be seen in a strangulation. Some apparent predation, however, of her check and neck prevented definite identification of that as bruising from strangulation. Also, there had been a nosebleed. Combined it raised several questions. Dr. Jacques was reported to have noted that nosebleeds did not accompany strangulation except - and then he recalled some injuries seen in the war where the assailant had utilized a judo hold to inflict a "sleeper's hold."
In addition, she had a unique set of diamond wedding rings, engraved, and they were on the body when it was found.
Autopsy report indicated she only had her normal medicines in her blood stream and small amounts of alcohol and since she had come from a holiday dinner that was not too surprising.
Several avenues and theories were explored. One of the most interesting involves a known drug corridor that ran throughout the region of the interstates, the Seminole-Asher- Ada area and paths south into Texas and East into Arkansas. This corridor was known to be an active pathway of organized crime, for drugs and for prostitution. People all through those paths had a tendency to turn up dead because they knew something or merely had the misfortune to see something they should not have seen.
A minor acquaintance of the dead woman was found to be a nurse from Ada named Adeline Thomas. She was involved in some manner and degree with a narcotics ring. She decided to turn state's evidence and on the day she was supposed to testify she disappeared. She was found sitting in her car in a residential area of Ada and complaining of terrible throat pain. A few days later she died from her injuries. An autopsy revealed injuries incredibly similar to those on the neck of the airman's dead wife.
A madman at work? A crazed psychopath? Or someone who had the misfortune to be seen in the company of a person with ties to a narcotics ring - possibly one run by organized crime with far reaching tendrils.
Did she perhaps intersect with the Thomas woman from Ada and that casual relationship was mis-interpreted by the narcotics ring? Did Billie encourage the Thomas woman in some way so the nurse decided go to authorities and tell all? There was never any evidence found of Billie being linked to the narcotics ring or any other criminal activities.
The scenario might be as simple as a woman driving home, seeing something, or being mistaken for someone else. Fingered and then followed, someone could have hit her bumper and then when she got out of her car, motor still running, she was attacked and killed. Then her body taken three miles away and disposed of in an area known by locals for its remoteness just as winter blizzard was expected that would hide the body for weeks. That fits the known facts.
One other thing - the area where her body was found was one known most to locals - so her killer may have been someone in the area with an ear to the ground for out of the way, hard to reach, and suitable body dump sites. Billie Geraldine Schaffer was born 29 October 1920 and her grave marker reads her death was recorded as February 21, 1959.
Thanks to Oklahoma City reader Jeff Dees for bringing this 1960 issue of Master Detective to my notice. His mother had kept it and had assured him it was a very accurate retelling of events.