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Police Reopen 50 Year-Old Case

Police Reopen 50 Year-Old Case

Mack Ray Edwards [Booking Photo]

San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

June 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES—Fifty years after a Santa Barbara schoolgirl vanished without a trace, police said Tuesday for the first time that they know who might have killed her and where her remains could be buried.

Seven-year-old Ramona Price disappeared on Sept. 2, 1961, as she walked along a street. Despite an extensive investigation, her abductor was never found.

Detectives suspect the girl became another victim of Mack Ray Edwards, a serial killer linked to as many as 18 other kidnappings and murders, Santa Barbara police Lt. D. Paul McCaffrey said.

Edwards hung himself in 1971 while on death row at San Quentin prison.

Authorities discovered information four years ago suggesting Ramona’s body was buried beneath a highway overpass that was constructed at the time of her disappearance. Edwards worked as a heavy equipment operator on the project.

The nature of the information wasn’t revealed, and it wasn’t until now, with the overpass being demolished, that police can initiate a search for her remains.

Investigators plan to search the area Wednesday with cadaver-sniffing dogs.

Screen_shot_2011-06-17_at_7

Ramona Price

Ramona disappeared as her father packed up a truck to move the family to a new house in Santa Barbara. Excited, the young girl told her dad she would go on ahead to the new home a couple of miles away.

“She was anxious to move,” McCaffrey said. “She said she was going to walk over and meet him there. He drove over to the new house, but she was never seen again.”

At the time, two brothers who were sex offenders were questioned in the case. They acknowledged talking to a girl as she passed them but denied ever touching her. No charges were filed.

In a separate case, authorities in 2008 excavated a stretch of earth alongside a freeway in the arid hills northwest of Los Angeles. They were looking for the body of Roger Dale Madison, a 16-year-old boy who disappeared in 1968 at the hands of Edwards.

Edwards confessed in 1970 that Madison was one of his victims.

No remains were uncovered.

That case was revived when a writer looking into a 1957 missing child case noticed similarities to the Madison case.

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