The Baffling Case of Little Miss X

Halloween: a time of celebration and candy; of horror and ghouls and costumes and elaborate parties. There are phantoms and ghosts, but the scariness is all in good jest and one goes home at the end of the night with a sense of merriment.

But on October. 31, 1958 in Coconino County, Arizona, a young girl lay dead 10 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon. Something horrible had happened to her. And even now, over 60 years later, we still have no idea of who she was and how she met her demise.

Authorities gave her the fittingly haunting nickname of Little Miss X. Her body was found on a remote hillside dirt road off Skinner Ridge in totally skeletal condition, and therefore no cause of death could accurately be determined. They estimated that she had lain there undiscovered for at least 9 to 18 months.

With such a long postmortem interval, it would prove impossible to find any evidence or suspects in her case.

Little Miss X was anywhere from 5′ to 5’3″, approximately 105 lbs, and was white with Hispanic ancestry. She had reddish/dark brown hair that was dyed a lighter shade. Her hair was wavy, but possibly because she had gotten it permed. She was thought to have a brown skin tone.

She was determined to be anywhere from 11 to 17 years old. This is odd because anyone with even a basic knowledge of forensics knows that female skeletons show obvious signs of puberty in their pelvis and bone structure.

Remnants of the victim’s hair.

So how were police investigators so unspecific and clueless in their estimation of her age? An 11-year old’s skeleton is very different in appearance from a 17-year old’s, and the forensic pathologist performing the examination should have been easily able to differentiate. Something smells botched here…

Her teeth were well-cared for and in good condition, proving she was from some sort of middle class background. She had had seven fillings in four of her teeth during her lifetime.

Disturbingly, Little Miss X was found naked. But she did have a bunch of clothing and items lying next to her.

Necklace found at the scene.

There was a powder puff, a tiny jar of Pond’s cold cream, an 18″ 10-karat gold chain, a white nylon comb, and a blue plastic nail file with the letter P imprinted onto it, and R written by hand.

There was also a short sleeved white wool cardigan, a size 34C white cotton Maidenform Alloette bra, size small white rayon underwear, and GRAFF California Wear pedal pusher capris with a green, brown and red plaid pattern.

Weirdly, the clothes at the scene were too big for her. Investigators were unable to tell if the clothes even belonged to the girl. They probably didn’t.

Could the killer have left these items at the scene to throw off police and cause confusion? Could these items be from a different crime scene, from a different dead girl?

The comb, powder puff and Pond’s cream.

Or were these just random personal effects the killer had somehow accumulated? Some even wonder if the killer was a woman.

If Little Miss X really was an 11-year old, why would she have this type of clothing and these items anyways? This suggests something alarming, like the presence of child exploitation and a possible sex trafficking ring.

This was a case that was cold from the very beginning. Little Miss X’s identity eluded authorities, so they gave up and buried her. Four years later in 1962, she was exhumed and her body was re-examined.

The sweater found at the scene. Probably the worst possible way they could have photographed it.

Unfortunately, when the clueless authorities re-buried her; Little Miss X’s remains stayed lost for years because they had forgotten where exactly they had interred her. According to the Doe Network, her remains were finally re-discovered in the summer of 2018.

Little Miss X’s NamUs page once had an image of her skull, but it was taken down. This is important because this picture would have helped artists and amateur e-sleuths to create newer and more accurate reconstructions of her.

It is also possible that Little Miss X had shovel-shaped incisors, a common trait in those with indigenous DNA; which could be why police suspect she was of Hispanic descent. It would have been useful to concretely know this as well, as web sleuths could compare Little Miss X to missing people who also had this trait.

Sheriff Cecil Richardson and Deputy Johnny Ortiz look over the case file of Little Miss X in the 1950s.

There is a clue as well in the pants found at the scene. As previously stated, they were Graff California Wear brand capris.

Graff was founded in 1933, and became popular in the 1940s and 1950s among Californian women for their comfy and tacky two piece suits and slacks. It was modern clothing for modern women, who were constantly on the go and wanted to resemble Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce.

These were not pants that an 11-17 year old would wear, and they didn’t seem to fit Little Miss X anyways. Were authorities ever able to trace back who purchased these capris? It doesn’t seem so. Was the killer then from California? God only knows.

A very swag Graff pinstripe pantsuit.

A case this mysterious causes all kinds of speculation, and in the past false theorizing led investigators down several dead ends.

It was suspected at one point that Little Miss X was Donnis “Pinky” Redman, a California girl who vanished without a trace on March. 1, 1958. 14-year old Pinky and her 18-year old boyfriend Mike Griffin (creepy age difference imo) eloped to Las Vegas, Nevada, but their journey was cut short before they could marry.

The couple disappeared along the way, and Mike’s abandoned 1950 Dodge Clipper turned up in Williams, Arizona. Their bodies were never found.

Donnis “Pinky” Redman

Williams is an approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes drive to Skinner Ridge, where Little Miss X was found. Naturally, people would connect these two cases together; as the body and car were found just 59 miles apart.

However, Little Miss X had lain there dead for at least 9 months minimum, whereas Pinky vanished just that March of 1958. The time frame is off.

Other clues that led people to suspect Little Miss X was Pinky Redman was the fact that the latter also had a petite frame, at 5’2″ tall and 105 lbs. The age bracket also fit, and Little Miss X was found with the nail file initialed “PR.” Did it belong to Pinky?

Michael “Mike” Lawrence Griffin

Pinky was last seen wearing a yellow sweater and brown capris, similar to the clothing found near Little Miss X.

What didn’t fit was the fact that Pinky was blonde, blue-eyed, and white; whereas Little Miss X was dark haired with swarthier skin and was most likely a Latina. Investigators eventually ruled out Pinky Redman as a possible match.

It is possible, however, that the person who killed Pinky and Mike + Little Miss X was one and the same. Was there a serial killer operating in the Arizona desert in 1958?

A more recent reconstruction of Little Miss X.

In Pinky and Mike’s case, anything could’ve happened along the dusty stretch of highways that connected California to Vegas. They could’ve picked up some unruly hitchhiker, who preyed upon the young, naïve couple and stole their car.

Mike was a small ginger boy who only stood 5’3″ tall and weighed 120 lbs. Any form of criminal could have taken advantage of the poor pair. Hopefully one day their bodies are recovered from the vast and giant Arizona desert, or wherever they may lie.

Another dead end that occurred in the Little Miss X investigation was was when she was suspected of being Connie Smith.

Constance Christine “Connie” Smith was a 10-year old girl from Wyoming, whose grandfather was a former Republican governor named Nels Hansen Smith. She ran away from Camp Sloane in Salisbury, Connecticut in the summer of 1952, after being bullied by fellow campers.

On July. 16, after being punched in the face by girls the day before, Connie nursed a bloodied nose with an ice pack. She left the camp and wandered down Indian Mountain Road. People witnessed Connie walking down the road with tears in her eyes, picking daisies and trying to hitchhike back home.

After this, she was never seen again. Despite attempts by her wealthy family to track her down, Connie had vanished into thin air somewhere down that highway.

Connie’s dental records.

Police once suspected that Little Miss X was Connie, and tested the former’s teeth against Connie’s dental charts. The results proved to inconclusive, and Connie was ruled out.

And anyways, Connie was a bit too young to be Little Miss X, and physically she was much smaller; standing at 5′ tall and weighing 85 lbs.

The only explanation would then be that Connie was held captive for at least 4- 5 years, and then murdered and dumped in Arizona. But that seems to be a stretch. Also, Connie had no Hispanic or Native American DNA. It is very unlikely that she is Little Miss X.

An amateur reconstruction of Little Miss X, done by a Redditor.

It is disheartening that Connie Smith’s killer was never found. Neither was Pinky Redman’s, or the person who murdered Little Miss X.

The 1950s were a troubling era for crime; where the lack of technology rendered the identification of murderers, and even victims, as a difficult and sometimes impossible task. In Little Miss X’s case, there is so much mystery and so few answers. Though her killer is perhaps dead and gone, it could still be possible to discern her identity.

If police have not yet located Little Miss X’s body, they should do so immediately. It is tragic that faulty police work caused them to lose the unknown girl’s remains and therefore botch her case.

Coconino County, Arizona

Little Miss X lay out there in that lonely desert for perhaps a year, decomposing until she became a skeleton. She was once forgotten, but then found again on Halloween of 1958. It is time we find out who Little Miss X was, and give her back her name and dignity.

The Ecstatic Rise and Bitter Fall of Barbara Bates

Hollywood: it chews you up, and then spits you out. This proverb was never more true than in the case of Barbara Bates; a psychologically fragile Old Hollywood actress who managed to withstand several career disappointments, until a final tragedy drove her to grim suicide.

Born in Denver, Colorado in 1925, Barbara always had a gift for glamour. She was a dark-haired, shy and demure enchantress, who modelled as a teen and studied ballet, eventually winning a beauty contest that changed her life. The prize? Round trip tickets to Hollywood, of course.

In 1944, Barbara and her mother went to L.A. in search of fame and glory. Two days before they were due to return home, they met a publicist for United Artists studio named Cecil Coan.

Barbara was only 19-years old, and Cecil was 45 and married with four children. None of this deterred the pair, who began a torrid affair that unexpectedly turned into a successful 22 year marriage. He divorced his wife as soon as possible to marry Barbara, 26 years his junior. Despite the initial creepiness of the pairing, they were deeply in love and would stay together until Cecil’s death.

Immediately, Cecil began working his magic and turned Barbara into a budding starlet. In September of 1944, Barbara signed a contract with Universal Pictures.

Cecil had introduced her to producer Walter Wanger, who was looking to cast “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” for his upcoming picture Salome Where She Danced. Barbara received a role as one of the seven dancing girls, alongside Yvonne De Carlo. She seemed set for stardom, but her career would stall in the next few years.

In 1947, producer William T. Orr convinced Barbara to dye her hair blonde. After she did, however, he told her, “You are not the blonde type. Be yourself.” Asshole, much?

Blonde Barbie

At this time, she also began pin-up modelling on the side to make some extra cash. Shy and reserved Barbara resented doing sleazy cheesecake shoots, but they caused her to catch a thirsty Warner Bros. rep’s eye, and she received her first big role alongside Danny Kaye in the 1949 musical comedy The Inspector General.

Sadly, much of her part was lost on the cutting room floor. To add insult to injury, Warner Bros. tried to force Barbara to go to New York to promote the release of The Inspector General, but she was too proud to submit to the studio’s whims and they fired her. An exasperated Barbara then attempted suicide, but the studio managed to cover it up and hide this from the press. This was the beginning of a repeated series of suicide attempts by Barbara, prompted by either personal or career lows.

Barbara (middle) pretends to play chess with Julie London and Daun Kennedy in a 1945 pin-up

In 1949, she discussed the ins and out of being a star with a newspaper. She described how:

 “Every Hollywood newcomer goes through a sex school. They have regular exercises to bring out your…uh…fire. They told [drama coach] Sophie Rosenstein to ‘put some sex into me.’ She did. Sophie made me throw back my shoulders and stick out my chest.

Then I had to sit in front of a mirror and breathe deeply—for hours and hours… They want you to become conscious of your body and to…well…to throw your curves at the world. And all the while you’re supposed to be thinking sexy thoughts. They don’t tell you what. That’s one thing they leave up to you.” 

If that sounds grotesque to you, you’re not the only one! Barbara was already in a unstable state: she was known to suffer from depression and mood swings from the very start, clearly due to untreated mental illness. Instead of being honest with her about realistic career goals, various Hollywood studios treated Barbara like a cheap floozy, giving her only tiny insignificant bit parts as a meager reward for signing on with them.

Barbara had also developed a reputation of being difficult on set. Jeffrey Hunter, who co-starred with Barbara in 1952’s Belles on Their Toes, claimed that she was “very disturbed. I felt uncomfortable in her presence and felt she was a very troubled young woman.” However, Ray McDonald, who starred alongside her in the 1953 Mickey Rooney musical All-Ashore, claimed that “she was easy to work with but had moods of depression.”

In May of 1949, another sleazy yet typical Hollywood incident occurred: Notorious lech Harry Cohn (head of Columbia Pictures from 1919 to 1958) offered to sign a contract with Barbara on one condition: she divorce her husband. She refused. He called her two nights later, and drunkenly invited her to his yacht. She refused again.

In E.J. Fleming’s book The Fixers, he describes how Harry Cohn “was said to have verbally or physically raped every woman that ever worked for his studio.” Harry was a known pervert who was rumored to have forced the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak to sleep with him in order to be cast in starring roles. His track record makes Harvey Weinstein seem chaste in comparison, and would be definite cause for a #MeToo hashtag in the 21st century.

However, it was the late 1940s, and since Barbara refused to play Hollywood’s licentious game of casting couch bingo, she would never gain the big-name stardom she had always dreamed of.

But alas, there finally came a small light at the end of the tunnel: Barbara managed to land a contract with 20th Century-Fox, who cast her in the biggest picture of 1950, the Bette Davis classic All About Eve.

Barbara in All About Eve

Barbara’s role was minor, but it was the one she would always be remembered for. The Hollywood Reporter described her memorable appearance in the final scene as “sum[ming] up the whole action and point of the story. It’s odd that a bit should count for so much, and in the hands of Miss Bates all the required points are fulfilled.”

With the money from her big role, she bought a 51-foot yacht named The Bayadère, which cost $45,000 (adjusted as $480k for modern inflation). Barbara spent 8 months learning how to sail and navigate the yacht at a Coast Guard School. Hollywood did have a few perks after all! The studio even installed a radio-telephone on the yacht to enslave contact her at all times.

Barbara had a few more notable roles left: the 1950 cheesefest Cheaper by the Dozen, and the brainless 1953 Jerry Lewis-Dean Martin comedy The Caddy. She was frustrated with these moronic films, lamenting to gossip columnist Erskine Johnson on how “I thought great things were going to happen [after All About Eve]. So far—nothing. They keep casting me as a 16-year-old; I can’t seem to get up to 20.”

Enjoying a sandwich and coke on her yacht

Then came her dream role: Barbara was screen tested for the suicidal ballerina character in Charlie Chaplin’s 1952 comedy-drama Limelight. As a former childhood ballerina, she would have been perfect for the part. Chaplin was delighted with her audition, and offered her the role himself.

Unfortunately, dictatorial Fox refused to loan Barbara out to United Artists to film the picture, due to the fact that they resented Chaplin for his supposed communist ties. Barbara was left heartbroken and destroyed after losing the role of a lifetime.

After this, Barbara’s career tanked. She was fired from the 1954 sitcom It’s a Great Life for “erratic behavior.” What set her off? Well, let us examine an interview Barbara gave columnist Lydia Lane on the set of the TV show, just months before she was canned:

 “I have had such trouble keeping thin. I dearly love anything sweet—especially chocolate—and to say no really takes discipline. But it isn’t healthy to be dieting all the time… The thing to do is find the weight at which you are comfortable and level off.

I keep a check by weighing in every morning, and if I’ve gained even a pound, I start cutting down. I have a calorie chart which I carry in my handbag and this helps me limit myself to 500 calories a day until I’m back to normal. I haven’t had to diet for quite a while, and it’s a wonderful feeling.”

On the set of Rhapsody (1954)

500 calories a day? Who wouldn’t feel like shit on this diet? Obviously, Hollywood has an obsession with thinness and actresses are required to stay in shape. But this was eating disorder territory, and it was no wonder poor Barbara was losing her mind from the pressures mounting all around her.

Out of work and desperate, Cecil arranged for Barbara to go to England and sign on with the Rank Organisation in 1956. The studio felt she was too old at the age of 31, and advertised her as being a 24-year old. She was cast in a few films, but suffered a nervous breakdown and health issues which caused her to abandon the sets while filming. Many suspected that Barbara attempted suicide once again. Nevertheless, she was fired by Rank in 1957, and was forced to return to the USA.

She played in several TV commercials to make some quick cash, as the couple had lost money due to bad land investments in Spain. Barbara’s old friend Rory Calhoun landed her a final movie part in his 1958 western Apache Territory. Her last TV appearance was in a 1962 episode of The Saint. An unceremonious end for a troubled career.

In 1960, the couple converted to Catholicism and moved to a modest Beverly Hills apartment. Throughout her chaotic life, Cecil had proven to be an unmoving rock of support for Barbara. He was her manager, agent, husband, lover, best friend and closest confidante for most of her adult life. Tragically, Cecil was diagnosed with cancer, and the last sane threads of Barbara’s life quickly unraveled.

She put aside her career to loyally care for the ailing Cecil, but the stress of being his constant nurse caused Barbara to snap. She attempted suicide by slitting her wrists, but survived yet again. These were very dark times for her, and the final straw was when Cecil died in January of 1967. She was at his bedside, romantic and steadfast until the very end. But when Cecil passed, something in Barbara died with him.

If she was already suicidal even in the presence of Cecil, now she was completely lost. Feeling aimless, Barbara left California for good and returned home to Denver. To her credit, she did attempt to rebuild a life: she attended a secretarial school by night, and worked as a nurse’s aide in the daytime. She was also a dental assistant at one point, and often volunteered at church.

What does this tell us? Barbara was dead broke. Cecil’s hospital bills must have drained her Hollywood fortune. Being relegated to the boring common life of a wageslave after starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor in films and purchasing half a million dollar yachts was disastrous.

At the end of 1968, she remarried: to a sportscaster named William Reed, who also happened to be a childhood friend. The marriage did not seem to be very romantic, and was most likely just an arrangement of convenience to prevent the onset of late-age loneliness.

So here was Barbara: back in her hometown, aging, married to a man from her youth, her Hollywood career totally faded; as she worked obscure random jobs to rake up pitiful sums of cash she would have laughed at in her days as a top actress.

It was all too much.

On March 18, 1969, Barbara’s mother returned to their suburban home, and found the garage was locked and sealed from the bottom. Upon unlocking the door, she found Barbara dead in the front seat of her Volkswagen. She had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 43.

This came after a mere four months of marriage, indicating Barbara’s unhappiness in her newfound relationship. There are also reports that she was pregnant at the time and that this may have set her off. She was quietly buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Colorado.

Barbara once said “I have no illusions about being a star. Every time I did something really important, they ended up cutting it.” This was an accurate summation of her life and career: she lived a brief, painful and beautiful existence full of heartbreak and malady. Hollywood had drained her and then tossed her aside when they deemed her too old, mentally ill, and washed up. She was the victim of the monstrous machine of cinema, but she managed to free herself with death.

Bettie Page and the Bondage She Freed Herself From

Bettie Page was the biggest sex symbol of the 1950s. Her pin-up spreads are iconic, her body was unreal, and she’s forever known for her trademark vantablack hair with those sleek brow-sweeping bangs. Bangs that have unfortunately been imitated by cringeworthy indie hipster girls everywhere, but she has yet to be outdone by them.

But what happened when the most famous sex symbol of the 1950s got tired of being ogled by dirty old men? Unfortunately, psychological decline, violence and disaster. Her later years were punctuated by schizophrenic and scary mental breakdowns.

Bettie before the pin-ups

To best understand what brought poor Bettie to point of insanity, it would be advisable to peer back into her troubled youth. Although she looked like a sweet clean-cut girl next door, Bettie was tormented by her abusive rapist father and neglectful mother. She was the second of six children and was horribly deprived of loving, normal parental relationships.

Her mother even deigned to tell Bettie what a period was, and Bettie claims “when I started menstruating at 13, I thought I was dying because she never taught me anything about that.” When her mother’s lover hit on her and tried to pull her into his car, Bettie was blamed and accused of seduction, and sent to go live with her creepy father. The girl who would go on to sell sex had her views of it warped at an early age through no fault of her own.

After graduating school, Bettie tried to become a teacher. She could not control the leering boys in the classroom. She tried her hand at secretarial work, became a typist, learned to sew, do her hair and makeup, got married and subsequently divorced.

In 1945, Bettie landed a screen test with Fox. She declined the advances of a perverted studio head, and they declined her contract. In 1947 she went to New York to try and become an actress. Instead, she was raped by a group of men and quickly left the city.

At this point, anybody in Bettie’s shoes would have lost it. Can you blame her? But she soldiered on and in 1950, an ex NYPD officer with a roaming eye approached Bettie while she walked alone along the dreamy Coney Island shore to offer up a card for his services. Services which were: pin-up model fetish photography. She accepted. As a girl, she had always dreamed of becoming an actress. This wasn’t exactly what she had prayed for, but it was something.

Bettie said of herself at the time ; “I had lost my ambition and desire to succeed and better myself; I was adrift. But I could make more money in a few hours modeling than I could earn in a week as a secretary.” She had a point.

At this time, Bettie grew her trademark bangs to cover her large forehead, which she disliked, or was made to dislike by the cop photographer. He told her the bangs would prevent the sheen of her large forehead from being reflected by the flash of the camera.

From this time onwards, Bettie would do a lot of bondage and S&M photography, partnering up with talented sleaze-makers like Irving Klaw and Bunny Yeager. She starred in striptease movies, she was on magazine covers. The 1950s were a time of prosperity for Bettie Page. Even the FBI tried to have her cheesecake dance clips burned. Everybody wanted a piece of Bettie.

But what did Bettie want? Sci-fi authour Harlan Ellison wrote her salivating praise: “She is simply pure fantasy. A dream girl in all the nicest ways, in that undiluted human passion way that we all shared at some point in our innocence. She is lust in an ice cream cone (two scoops), enthusiasm in the whisper of nylon, postpubescent rambunctiousness in the back seat of a Studebaker Commander. … She was an icon, Venus on the spike heel, the goddess Astarte come again, smoother and sleeker and possibly available.”

The thirst was real.

In 1967, Ellison would write the iconic science fiction short story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. And in the late 1950s, Bettie had no mouth (it was revoked from her), just her body, but she was ready to scream.

Bettie left fetish modelling in 1959 to become a born-again Christian. She was 35 years old, in a dull marriage, and felt used and regretted her nude photos. Some claim that Bettie had been informed that a man had died in a bondage session which had somehow involved her photos. This was just too much.

Bettie became a disciple of the showboating reverend Billy Graham. She said of it, “When I gave my life to the Lord I began to think he disapproved of all those nude pictures of me.”

In 1958 she attended a multiracial sermon and became inspired by ideas of peace and equality. She tried to become a missionary in Africa, but was rejected due to her several divorces. She dropped out of college while pursuing a master’s degree.

And then, her life fell apart. 1972 was not a good year for Bettie Page. It reads like one long rap sheet.

In January, Bettie ran wild with a .22 caliber pistol screaming about “the retribution of God” at a ministry retreat. Her sympathetic ex-husband took her home with him.

 In April, however, Bettie threatened to stab her ex-husband and children if they refused to pray in front of a portrait of Jesus. “If you take your eyes off this picture, I’ll cut your guts out!,” were her words. She was taken to a mental institution for 4 months, then released.

In October, a cop was called to her ex-husband’s place yet again after Bettie went on a destructive rampage inside. After the officer left the car and returned, he “saw Bettie in the back seat, with her dress pulled up, panties around her knees, masturbating with a coat hanger that the officer had left.” She spent another 6 months in a mental institution.

Things were quiet for awhile until 1979, when she attacked 2 neighbours with a knife. The neighbours were forced to knock her out with a wrench. This time she spent 7 months in an institution.

 The worst was yet to come. In 1982, she stabbed her landlady 20 times while yelling “God has inspired me to kill you!” The poor landlady woke up to a possessed Bettie sitting on top of her with a foot-long serrated bread knife. Bettie stabbed her four times in the chest, narrowly missing her heart, stabbed her hand eight times, severing the top of her third finger.

When police came, they “found Bettie in the shower with her clothes on, trying to wash out the blood stains. She kept the police waiting for an hour before she dried herself off.” Afterwards, Bettie would spend 10 much-needed years back at an institution.

Following these deranged incidents, Bettie managed to get the help she desperately needed for her schizophrenia, and she stopped attacking people. Sadly, she was penniless for many years, until her son and a team of lawyers helped her profit from royalties of her likeness which were being used in the media. She signed autographs of her pin-ups in her old age, and managed to gain a semblance of stability. Bettie died of a heart attack in 2008.

Her conflicted legacy still remains to this day. Every girl obsessed with vintage glamour wants to look like Bettie. But did we really understand her? Said Bettie in 1998 of her career, “I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It’s just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous.”

With her looks and brains, she never had to pound on a typewriter again. Instead, we intrigued devotees pound on our keyboards to churn out her tragic yet thought-provoking life story.