madeline babcock

Nearly half a century ago, on a Tuesday afternoon in June 1968, Madeline Babcock, age 35, made a call from a pay phone somewhere in Venice, California to her mother, who lived about 20 miles away. Lynn, as she was called, said she was going to get a ride from a friend to her mother’s house the next day. This was the last anyone is definitely known to have seen or heard from Lynn. She didn’t go to her mother’s house the next day, June 12; indeed she seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

Lynn worked two jobs in the summer of 1968. One was at a local plastic manufacturing facility, and the other was at a bar called Fred’s Tavern, both located in Santa Monica, California. She began to be missed at Fred’s beginning in the first week of July. Whether or not Lynn’s mother and her sister, Pat Foy, were searching for her earlier than mid-July 1968 is unknown, but certainly they eventually came to Venice looking for her. The owner of the tavern (Fred?) told them she hadn’t called in.

Pat Foy and her mother spoke to the landlord of the apartment where Lynn lived, on Flower Street in Venice, and managed to gain entry to the apartment. They found the place empty, with no sign of Lynn or her belongings. The landlord was unaware that she’d moved out and did not report any activity in the apartment in the preceding days. After this alarming news, Lynn’s mother and sister finally prevailed upon the Venice, California police department to accept a missing persons report–which was somewhat rare for a grown adult in the 1960s.

flower street venice

Assuming today’s Flower Avenue in Venice, California was the same “Flower Street” back in 1968, this is what Lynn Babcock’s neighborhood looks like today.

This is a very mysterious case, and a hard one to consider because we don’t really know when Lynn Babcock went missing. Was it on June 12, when she was supposed to go visit her mother but didn’t? If so, how come no one else seems to have missed her until early July, several weeks later? The empty apartment is an interesting clue. Madeline Babcock is said to have had few friends in Venice, and had been divorced twice. I don’t know for sure, but it sounds from the circumstances like she may not have been living there for very long. When did she move out? Did someone help her? Or did something happen in her apartment, and someone else moved her belongings out to eliminate evidence or dispel suspicion?

There was movement on Madeline Babcock’s case within the last few years. In 2007 police got a tip evidently identifying a handicapped woman, unable to speak for herself, as Madeline. A DNA test was conducted but ruled out the potential match.

Is Lynn Babcock still alive somewhere? Did she drop off the radar screen all those years ago and has been living as someone else? Or did she meet with foul play shortly after the last contact with her family? We may never know.

Charley Project’s file on Madeline Babcock is here.