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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

September 3, 2007 |  6:46 pm

Sept. 3, 1957

Paul_coates SUBJECT'S NAME: Linda Lee Morrell

SUBJECT'S DESCRIPTION: Age, 14. Height, 5 feet, 3 inches. Weight, 110 pounds. Blue eyes. Fair hair. Subject has mole on left cheek and scar under left eyebrow.

Anyone with information as to subject's whereabouts is requested to contact her mother, Mrs. Pat Morrell, 10515 Haines Cayon, Ave., Tujunga, FL orida 3-6564.

There are women who enjoy crying in front of strangers.

And there are women who don't.

And it's my personal, biased estimate that 80% of those who break down in front of reporters do so for reasons other than misery or suffering.

For centuries, women have neither underestimated nor underplayed the power of their tears.

But there's also the 20%. The minority who try to hold back so hard that you find yourself wishing they'd cry, before they explode.

It's this category in which I put Mrs. Patricia Morrell.

She came in a few days ago to tell me about Linda Lee.

With controlled calm, she explained that maybe a story in the paper might help locate her daughter.

"It's over 14 weeks now she's been gone," she told me.

"It was May 23, a Thursday. I got up as usual--to go to work at 6. That is, I leave home at 6.

"Like every day, I woke her up just a little bit. I said 'Goodbye, honey. Be a good girl.'

"And she said, 'All right, Mommy. I'll see you this afternoon.' "

Mrs. Morrell blinked.

"I always picked her up after school," she explained.

"But I got there after work and didn't see her. Then one of the girls came up to me. 'Are you looking for Linda?' she asked me.

"I said I was and she said, 'She didn't show up today, Mrs. Morrell.'

1957_0903_morrell_mug "So I thought maybe she was sick, but she always called me at work if she was sick. I guess I just didn't know. I hurried home, of course, but she wasn't there...."

Mrs. Morrell reached into her handbag while describing her search. Then suddenly, she was talking about the night before.

"Linda was making some drapes for a friend of mine at work. I mentioned to her, 'Why don't you call Daddy?'

"He's in Texas. We've been divorced nine years.

"So she said, 'That's an idea.' You see, we were going to take a vacation in June and she was going to visit him. She called and had a nice talk and worked some more on the drapes.

"She's a very good housekeeper. She cooks and irons and she's getting to be a very good seamstress. She's better than I am at things like that."

A handkerchief was in Mrs. Morrell's hand now, and her eyes were blinking regularly.

"We did so many things together--almost like we were sisters. Swimming, skating, going to church, going to dances.

"There was really nothing you'd call family quarrels. Very seldom I'd have to scold her. Sometimes I'd get scolded, too."

I turned my head and Mrs. Morrell made a quick motion to her eyes.

"I suppose I should tell you that another girl left the same day. But she was in a fight.

"They told me that Linda was at the fight, too, but she didn't actually fight. Just two other girls. So I learned she had started to school, anyway, because the fight was right by the school.

"I don't know what to think. I know she's all right, but if she is, why doesn't she call me?

"I'm her mother and we're so... Maybe, do you suppose she's scared?"

On the word "scared" Mrs. Morrell's voice broke. And the tears came.

She looked at me and asked:

"Why should a girl be scared of her mother?"

[Note: The Times reported that Linda might have left Los Angeles with Carol Curl, 13, but never followed up on the story of the missing girls--lrh.]