SPECIAL REPORT: What happened to Eleanor Parker?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's believed to be one of the oldest, unsolved missing persons cases in Baton Rouge.

Eleanor Parker disappeared without a trace on November 10, 1981. Her body was never found.

She was 19-years-old when she disappeared. Parker was last seen leaving her parents home in the Southdowns neighborhood in the evening. Old reports state she was headed for her apartment in the Gardere area, but she never made it there.

Police searched a wooded area near her apartment in a 20-mile radius back then. Missing person posters were distributed by investigators with the following information: dark blonde, green eyes, 5' 5", 115 pounds, Car: '75 Maverick.

At the time, police had little to work from. There was no body, no evidence, and no real clues to determine what happened to Parker.

Then, investigators came across what was seemingly a big break in the case. The day after she went missing, Parker's vehicle, a 1975 Ford Maverick, was found outside of the old Goudchaux's. Old crime reports show nothing was out of place inside her vehicle. There was no weapon, no trace of Parker, and no fingerprints either.

At the time, the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office conducted parallel investigations. Detectives interviewed nearly everyone in Parker's life at the time, conducted polygraph tests, and brought people in for lineups.

It was rumored that serial murderers, Sean Vincent Gillis or Derrick Todd Lee, may have been connected to Parker's disappearance, but neither name appeared to be associated in either investigation by BRPD or the District Attorney's Office.

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Sergeant Ross Williams currently oversees the Homicide Division at BRPD. He has dug through files and reports from back when this case was originally filed. He believes the case is worth revisiting, but the challenge is that this is a race against time.

"From reading it and looking over some of the people they've interviewed in here, I think some people know where she is or where she was or where she used to be," said Williams. "Now whether or not she's still there or not, I don't know. Some of the people and witnesses that they had listed in here have since died or are deceased as well."

Sgt. Williams wants to regroup with the surviving original investigators on this case to re-interview some of the people involved in Parker's life back when she vanished. It's been a long time since the last lead on this case, but with modern technology like advanced DNA testing and the FACES Lab, there's a slight chance for Parker's case to be solved.

"I think it's possible, yes, if you can find out where she's buried, if she's buried, or where she is," Sgt. Williams explained. "If you can take that and match that up to the family."

All investigators need is just one solid lead or that one phone call to guide them in the right direction.

"If we find just random bones somewhere and somebody says Ms. Parker was buried at spot X and we go over there and we find, even if it's just a bone, they can take that, test that, and compare it to the DNA from the family to see if that does match up. Which then we can go from there," he said.

Williams plans to revisit Parker's living family members to gather new DNA samples in case anything ever turns up and detectives are able to move forward.

"If anybody knows anything about Eleanor Parker from that day, November 10, when she disappeared, may have seen her the next day, the day after, or may have heard where she may have been taken if she was in fact taken somewhere, call us and let us know. Anything can help us give some kind of closure to the family," he explained.

This is all in the hopes of closing this chapter for a family who has gone through decades of wondering, wishing, and praying for answers.

If you remember any details that could help investigators, call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867. If you would like to speak with Sgt. Williams directly, call the Baton Rouge Police Department at 225-389-4869.

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