North Webster, Indiana’s Laurel Jean Mitchell found dead in the Elkhart River

Laurel Jean Mitchell of North Webster, Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana, United States has died. She was 17.

Mitchell’s father Richard D. “Dick” Mitchell, 44, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Her mother Wilma May Mitchell, 44, has been working at the Deli/Bakery at Augsburgers in North Webster since 1971.

Dick was born in El Paso, Texas, USA while Wilma was born in Noble County, Indiana. They have two more children namely Bruce Mitchell, 18, and Sarah Mitchell, 12.


Laurel worked at a church camp snack bar in North Webster. At 10:00 p.m. on August 6, 1975, she finished her shift at work and walked down to Adventureland, an amusement park about a half-mile away from the snack bar.

That night, Laurel was supposed to meet friends at Adventureland but she did not show up. She did not make it home either.

At 4:16 a.m. on August 7, 1975, Dick and Wilma reported Laurel missing. At around 10:30 a.m., Glen Dixon, 31, and his son Hager Dixon, 12, were about to start fishing in the Elkhart River near Diamond Lake Road bridge in Noble County when they found Laurel’s body.

Later that day, Dr. P.L. Sankey performed an autopsy on Laurel’s body at the Goshen General Hospital in Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana, which was witnessed by Indiana State Police sergeant T.P. Malone. The doctor determined that the cause of Laurel’s death was drowning.


Sankey concluded that Laurel made a violent struggle to survive and her death occurred rapidly. The pathology report released on August 18, 1975 showed signs of sexual assault and drowning.

Authorities have yet to come up with any suspects or substantial leads concerning Laurel’s death. At 3:15 p.m. on August 15, 1975, a female caller tried to give the Indiana State Police a tip but hung up before giving her identity and completing her message.


Anyone with information about the death of Laurel Jean Mitchell is asked to contact the North Webster Police Department at 219-834-2700.

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