Connie Smith, age 10, was attending a summer camp called Camp Sloane in Salisbury, Connecticut. Sixty-one years ago today, on July 16, 1952, Connie got into a fight with some other campers, winding up with a bloody nose. She told some friends she was going to the camp dispensary–not for her nose, but to drop off an ice pack she’d used to ice a minor injury the previous evening. She did not go to the dispensary. Instead she seems to have run away from the camp.
Here’s what the Charley Project file on Connie says:
Connie was seen picking daisies along the roadside and asked several people how she could get to Lakeville, Connecticut, about half a mile from Camp Sloane. She was apparently homesick and with only one week left of her stay at Camp Sloane, she decided to leave the premises. Connie was last seen walking on U. S. Route 44 in Salisbury later in the day. She had her thumb out and was apparently attempting to hitchhike, perhaps to Lakeville. Connie was never heard from again. She may have been carrying a black zippered purse containing photographs of friends at the time of her disappearance, but she didn’t have any money or any extra clothes.
Camp counselors discovered Connie was missing in the afternoon hours when they found the dispensary ice pack still inside her tent. An extensive search did not produce any clues as to her whereabouts. There have been many suspects in Connie’s disappearance throughout the years, but no one has been charged in her case. One theory is that she attempted to run away from camp and go to one of her parents, who were divorced. Neither of her parents saw or heard from her after her disappearance, however. Her mother last saw Connie when she visited her at camp two days before her disappearance; Connie was in good spirits at the time and asked for permission to stay at the camp longer, but she didn’t seem to mind when her mother said no.
Some suspicion has fallen on a man named William Henry Redmond, who was charged with the 1951 murder of a young girl and was suspected in others (including the famous Beverly Potts case). Redmond allegedly confessed to having committed four murders in his lifetime, but there was no evidence linking him to Connie Smith’s disappearance.
What happened to Connie Smith on that summer morning, 61 years ago today? We have no way of knowing. Her case is one of the more mysterious ones in New England history, and will likely never be solved.