The Girl Who Vanished: Rory Gene Kesinger

Rory Gene Kesinger was a 24 year old drug dealer, bank robber and gun runner who went missing in 1973 and was never heard from again.

What stands out about her are bizarre tales of her escapes and encounters with authority, which were like something out of a vintage Hollywood movie. She is perhaps the most interesting forgotten female outlaw out there.

Rory was a 5’3, 118 lbs beauty with translucent blue eyes, caught up in the stereotypical hippie vagabond lifestyle of the 1970s. She ran away from home at the age of 15. Her family has never seen her since then.

Looking baked in an odd mugshot

Ironically, her father was a security director who prevented shoplifting in department stores. He could not, however, control his wild daughter. In 1969, Rory’s dad wrote a hilarious Letter to the Editor column in the Daily Illinois State Journal, regarding the “out of hand” situation of youths and shoplifting:

“We in security realize that shoplifting is sometimes brought about in our younger set because of their desire to feel ‘in’ with friends. Whatever that ‘thing’ is, kicks derived from theft would no longer be if these same youths were educated as to the consequences a court conviction would have on their young lives.”

Poor Mr. Kesinger. Can you imagine this square and sanctimonious man’s reaction to his daughter’s sexy, exciting life of crime? He was, most likely, traumatized.

Rory really got around: she was said to have been wanted by police in several states, such as Kansas, California, Texas, and Alaska.

A cop found Rory running around naked in the woods of Pembroke, Massachusetts, dressed only in lingerie in January of 1973.

She informed him that she had been raped, but when he took her to the safety of his home, she switched out the lights, pulled out a gun and told him “I’m sorry, but I have to kill you.” 

The officer managed to tackle and wrestle the gun away from Rory, and afterwards stated that, “You would just not think that a nice- looking girl like that would kill you in a heartbeat.”

After being escorted to a hospital, Rory pulled a gun on a caseworker, as well as a cop, yelling “die you fucking pig.” She was tackled down and subdued yet again.

An avid drug user, Rory was supposedly high during all of these arrests, which gave her the courage to act stupidly brave, even when in the cross-hairs of a gun. Perhaps this also brought about her demise.

Rory was finally incarcerated in Plymouth County jail, but on the night of May 26, 1973, she managed to escape when someone smuggled a hacksaw inside the jail to her. A corrupt guard may have also been involved.

She sawed the bars off of her cell and tied bedsheets together to escape into the dark and foreboding summer night.

The sheriff says that “in the old prison, which is still up, you can still see the cut marks on the bars where she cut out.” What a legend.

After this escape she was never seen again and was most likely killed and then secretly buried by her criminal associates.

15-year old Rory in her high school portrait.

According to Provincetown police Detective Warren Tobias, he was informed by an associate of Rory’s who was arrested with her in 1974 that she was “pushing up daisies.” There was no doubt that she did not live long after her daring dash from jail.

Rory was long suspected to be the Lady of the Dunes, an unfortunate young woman who was found murdered on a beach blanket on July 26, 1974 in Massachusetts.

The poor red-haired girl was raped, strangled so hard that she was nearly decapitated, violently bludgeoned on one side of the head, and her hands removed to prevent fingerprint identification.

The battered corpse of the victim, found in brush by a road.

However, after exhuming the body and testing it alongside Rory’s elderly mother (the poor woman was in her 80s at the time), it was found that there was no DNA match between them. Rory is not the Lady of the Dunes!

Sadly, Rory’s body was never found, nor any viable trace of her yet. Her fate (as well as that of the Dunes Lady) is still an unsolved mystery.

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