A five-year-old girl has been missing for decades and hers remains one of the most perplexing unsolved cases in North Carolina. Little Phyllis Lorain Powell was just like any other carefree child growing up in the South back in 1963. She lived with her family in the city of Woodland and on January 11 of that year, the young girl disappeared from the small, rural, wooded town.
It was around 11:00 a.m. when Phyllis Lorain Powell was at one of her neighbor’s homes in the 300 block of Ashe Street, somewhere near Highway (Route) 35. At the time, she was seen watching “I Love Lucy” on television but when someone went to check on her by 12:00 p.m., she was gone. Not long after, someone told authorities that they saw Phyllis skipping down that same street and stated that she was on her way to her friend’s house. That was the last time anyone could recount the child’s location.
In January 1963, Ashe Street reportedly only had eight homes mostly inhabited by family and a person could clearly see from one end of the road to the other. There were dirt roads in the rural area that was filled with swampy woods and fields of trees. A search for Phyllis Lorain Powell consisted of hundreds of people gathering together to find the little girl, but even with a massive search, there were no clues to where she may have gone—aside from a mysterious set of small footprints. The markings were found in the ground about a mile from where Phyllis went missing in an area that was reportedly bordered by thick woods. Police suspected foul play.
“Some may say, why don’t you just forget it?” Phyllis’s brother, William “Buddy” Powell told a newspaper over 40 years after the five-year-old disappeared. “I will say to them, she wasn’t your baby, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, etc. I will never stop looking. I will wait on God’s promise.”
At the time of her disappearance, Phyllis Lorain Powell stood 3 feet 8 inches tall and was approximately 40 pounds. She had black/dark brown mid-length hair and brown eyes. Phyllis was last seen wearing a brown coat, pants, and for some reason, a white diaper wrapped around her head as if she was wearing a scarf. There aren’t any known pictures of Phyllis, but an artist rendering is included in this report. The Doe Network states that her DNA and dental records are on file, but her fingerprints are not. Phyllis would be 63-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 534-2611 or their local authorities.
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