SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It’s been more than 46 years this month since a young girl was taken off a Springfield street and later killed.
Shirley Jane Rose was 9-years-old on October 17th, 1975.
Springfield police say she was walking from her grandmother’s house near West and Lombard to her home along Scenic between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Shirley Jane never made it home. Police say she was likely abducted during the short walk, but no arrests have ever been made.
It’s a case that has stumped local law enforcement for more than four decades, recently garnering attention from a 2019 podcast called, “The Toll.”
The podcast’s creator, former news reporter, and Springfield radio host Nancy Simpson says she felt drawn to Shirley’s story.
“She was abducted on October 17th, which is my son’s birthday, and Shirley and I share the same birthday, so everything just kept saying, ‘this is the story, this is the one,'” says Simpson.
Shirley’s body was found in a shallow grave near McDaniel Lake on December 13th, 1975. Police say she died from being strangled.
In the following months, Springfield Police questioned several potential suspects.
A lieutenant with the Springfield Police Department told OzarksFirst in 2017 there was never enough good evidence to file charges.
Simpsons says despite her own investigations, she still doesn’t know whether the suspected killer is alive or dead.
“Yeah, we had suspects…or it could have been a pedophile, it could have been a complete stranger in a crime of opportunity.”
Shirley’s cousin, Linda Stovall, said in an interview in 2017 that she is “hoping her case gets solved because her mother and father died without even knowing what happened do their daughter and her siblings deserve this… or at least answers.”
Both Stovall and Simpson mentioned they hope advances in DNA technology will help move the case forward.
Lt. Culley Wilson told OzarksFirst in 2017 a DNA analysis was done in 2006 when the case was reopened, however, he said nothing was found.
Simpson says she knows further strides have been made in recent years on how to recover and extract DNA from old evidence.
“My hope is that there is something in that evidence box that can be tested because…how tragic? For a community to mourn that long, any answer would be amazing,” Simpson adds.
If Shirley’s cold case sparks a memory for you, you’re asked to contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810.
To submit an anonymous tip, call the CrimeStoppers hotline at 417-869-TIPS.
You can also listen to Season 1 of “The Toll” podcast on all the usual platforms. More on “The Toll” can be found here.
To learn more about Shirley Jane Rose, visit https://justiceforshirleyjanerose.com/