Real Name: Conradina Olson
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Brookfield, Wisconsin and Ellis, Missouri
Date: About 1910
Details: In 1910, thirty-eight-year-old Conradina Olson boarded a train in Brookfield, Wisconsin. She told her four children, who had come to the station to wish her off, that she was going to a doctor's appointment in Milwaukee and would return the next day. Sadly, she never came back and was never seen again. For the rest of his life, her eldest son Edwin blamed himself for not accompanying his mother.
In 1983, over seventy years later, Edwin's daughter, Geneva (Olson) Fuchser, began genealogical research into her family's history. She learned that in 1891, twenty-year-old Conradina Heidtmann married thirty-year-old Carl Olson, a railroad coachman. By all accounts, their marriage was not a happy one. Although Geneva could find no evidence that Carl was physically abusive, she learned that he was emotionally and verbally abusive to his wife. Unfortunately, due to the time period, Conradina could not get a divorce. At first, Geneva believed that her grandmother had ran away to escape an abusive marriage.
However, her beliefs changed in September 1985, when she was working at her gift shop in South Dakota. One of her customers named Susanna told her that she was a psychic. Susanna claimed that she knew Geneva wanted to ask her about her grandmother. She asked if she had any of her grandmother's possessions, so she gave Susanna a picture of Conradina, along with her marriage certificate. She flipped the items over and claimed that she had visions of a woman boarding a train, children crying, and a fight between a man and a woman near a railroad track. She also claimed that Carl knew what happened to Conradina.
Later, at Susanna's office, Geneva was given more clues about her grandmother's disappearance. Susanna told her that in a few weeks, she would receive several letters in the mail. In these letters, she would be able to determine the year that Conradina went missing. Susanna also claimed that "Ellis" had something to do with the disappearance, and that Conradina was buried in an unmarked grave.
Surprisingly, just a few weeks later, Susanna's first prediction seemed to come true. Geneva received several letters and photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s. These documents, sent by Conradina's nieces and nephews, stated that there were troubles in the Olson marriage, and that the last time Conradina was heard from was around 1910. Geneva sent a letter to a Midwestern newspaper, describing her search.
A man named Bill Carpenter read the newspaper and contacted Geneva. He told her about an unmarked grave near railroad tracks in Ellis, Missouri. According to local legend, a fashionably dressed woman got off of a train in Ellis. She was seen arguing with a man; witnesses reported that it appeared to be a lovers' quarrel. The two were seen walking eastward along the tracks. Later, the man was seen returning to the station alone; he boarded another train and left town. Three days later, the woman's body was discovered alongside the train tracks. She had been murdered, but nothing was found on her to identify her. According to the legend, railroad workers buried her nearby.
As a result of the story, Geneva became convinced that Susanna was right and that the woman in Ellis was her grandmother. Despite her belief, however, it appears impossible that the Ellis woman was Conradina Olson. A historian found an 1888 newspaper article which stated that the woman in Ellis was found on April 21, 1877; Conradina vanished around 1910. Furthermore, the Ellis woman was described as being less than twenty-years-old, while Conradina was thirty-eight when she vanished.
Suspects: Geneva believes her grandfather, Carl Olson, killed Conradina or was in some way involved in her disappearance. She learned from relatives that around the time of her grandmother's disappearance, her grandfather also was gone for a period of time.
Originally, however, she believed that her grandmother disappeared voluntarily to escape an abusive marriage.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the December 19, 1990 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Unresolved. Although Conradina Olson could not possibly be the identity of the woman buried in Ellis, both the true fate of Conradina Olson and the true identity of the woman buried in Ellis remain unsolved. An 1888 article states that the woman was a woman named Lula King, but this claim has not yet been confirmed.