On December 19th of 1949, a fire broke out at the home of Ricky Bryant in Mauston, Wisconsin. Ricky, also known as Jeannie, was last seen in the front lawn while the fire was being put out. When the fire was extinguished, she was no longer in the yard. She has not been heard from or seen since.
Ricky’s parents were not home at the time of the fire. Ricky's grandparents, who also lived at the farm, were watching Ricky and two of her siblings, while Ricky's older sister was at the schoolhouse.
There is very conflicting information about what happened once the fire broke out.
Ricky’s 5 year old brother stated that they were standing in the yard together watching the fire when a woman drove up in an expensive-looking car and urged him to go get help. Instead of sending him to a house nearby, she sent him to the residence down the road. When he returned, both Ricky and the woman, along with her car, were gone.
However, Ricky’s grandmother stated that that didn't happen and that she only took Ricky’s siblings outside when the fire started and went back in to search for Ricky - calling her name several times with no result.
A neighbor stated that she placed the children in the family car, and went inside to look for Ricky. She found the grandmother inside collecting canned goods and that the Grandmother said that Jeannie was gone. The neighbor stated that the house continued to burn. The neighbor stated that she kept looking for Jeannie and was told by the Grandmother that she could stop worrying about Jeannie because she was was with relatives.
Possible bone fragments were found in the house and analyzed, but were not identified as Ricky’s. Most investigators believe that Ricky perished in the fire.
Ricky's dad had the home searched by state police and the FBI for human remains. No remains were found. He searched himself 3 additional times, but with each attempt he was unsuccessful in his efforts. He never believed that Jeannie perished in the fire.
Her siblings requested that the investigation be reopened over 50 years after she vanished. In 2006, a Minnesota woman had her DNA tested against the Bryant's family, but the results were not a match. Her case remains unsolved.
Ricky is a white female and, at the time of her disappearance, 3’4” and was 40 pounds.
She has blond/strawberry hair and hazel eyes. She may also go by Jeannie.
This is a photo of Ricky age-progressed to 66 years old.
This is an age progressed photo to 75 years old.
Ricky was 4 years old when she went missing. She would be 75 years old today.
Any leads or information should be directed to:
Juneau County Sheriff’s Department
Officer Leigh Sonnenberg
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