Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Evelyn Hartley was last seen Oct 24th 1953. On the night of her abduction she had agreed to babysit the young daughter of Viggo Rasmussen, a La Crosse State College professor, so he and his wife could attend the homecoming game. The family's regular sitter was unavailable so Evelyn had been hired as a replacement.
After Evelyn failed to call at 8:30pm as planned, and hadn't answered any of his calls, her father, Richard got worried and drove to the Rasmussen home arriving around 9:20 pm. Upon arriving he found the doors locked, the lights on and the radio playing. When no one answered the door he walked around the house to find the basement window open. He entered the home through the window and found one of Evelyn’s shoes, he then ran upstairs and found his daughter's other shoe and her broken glasses on the floor. The baby was asleep in her crib and unharmed.
Mr. Hartley ran across the street and had a neighbor, Frank Linder, call the police at 9:49. Minutes later Officers Ken Johnson and Don Schoenfeld arrived.
Pry marks were found on three windows on the home, bloody handprints on the garage 100 feet from the home and blood stains were found on the neighbor's house.
Helicopters conducted aerial searches, while volunteers searched on foot but nothing was found. Multiple neighbors came forward and stated they had heard screams and one reported seeing a girl with two men.
A few days later, several items of blood stained clothing were found at different locations. Blood found on a jacket matched Evelyn's blood type.
Evelyn's disappearance sparked one of the biggest searches in Wisconsin history. Investigators conducted mass searches of local vehicles and gave lie detector tests to all the students and teachers at Evelyn's school. Many suspects have been questioned over the years, but her case remains unsolved.
Any leads or information can be directed to:
La Crosse Police Department (608) 785-5962