August 20, 2014

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Nancy Eagleson Part 2








Remembering Nancy:



‘It must be my unlucky day.’

Family, sheriff’s reports piece together a teenager’s final hours

By Paulding County Progress Staff

Part 2 of a series

Originally published Aug. 9, 2000


The date was November 13, 1960. The day was a Sunday, and as usual it was a hubbub of activity in the Eagleson household.

Fourteen-year-old Nancy Eagleson was wearing her first pair of high heels on the day she died. Her mother remembers thinking that “my oldest had grown up right before my very eyes.”

Nancy Eagleson, the oldest daughter of Donald and Bettie Eagleson, was happy and excited, because she had just talked her mother into buying Nancy her first pair of high-heeled shoes, the day before. So, the 14-year-old was going to go to church as usual, with her 5-year-old sister Sheryl. Nancy helped in the nursery at the First Christian Church.


In addition to the new shoes, Nancy also was wearing a small checked dress with a matching coat. In fact, the dress and coat had belonged to her mother, but had been altered to fit Nancy. The colors of the dress were purples, blues, and greens.


Bettie Eagleson remembers, “This particular day the girls looked splendid in their finery. I realized that my oldest had grown up right before my very eyes. I think her new high heels had a little to do with it, but I knew that I had aged a few years.”


Bettie’s sister Mary picked up Nancy and Sheryl for church. After services the girls missed their ride home, and decided to walk the short way home. Nancy said to her mother when she got home from church, “Oh, Mom it must be my unlucky day. We missed our ride home, I lost my ring, and it’s the 13th of the month.”


Little did she know that what she was saying was true, and that this was to be the last day of her brief life.


Dinner, that day, was pork chops and hominy. It was one of Nancy’s favorite meals, plus Bettie had made Jell-o with bananas in it for dessert. Dinner was pleasant, and cheerful. Don retired into the living room to watch TV, and Nancy lingered in the kitchen with Sheryl. Sheryl followed Nancy wherever she would go, and learned a lot from her big sister. There was a discussion about cleaning up the yard on Monday, and Nancy then went into her bedroom to write to her pen pals.


Little Sheryl and Nancy planned on going to see the big hit movie “David and Bathsheba” that afternoon at the Paulding Theatre. Donald had to go to work at the local bowling alley that he helped manage, and Bettie was a part-time waitress at a local drive-in restaurant. Both parents were to work that afternoon.

An interior view of Johnson's Restaurant as it appeared when it opened in 1959. After seeing a movie uptown, Nancy and Sheryl Eagleson stopped there for a Coke before walking home. The restaurant was on the north side of the square and is now a bakery.

Nancy and Sheryl walked to the theater in Paulding, anticipating the enjoyment of the movie, and the fact their mother had told them they could stop for a Coke after the movie.


The two girls left the movies at approximately 6:30 p.m., and stopped at Johnson’s Restaurant on the square for their Coke. The girls sat in a rear booth with four of Nancy’s friends from school. Two of the girls admired Nancy’s new dress and high heels. Nancy had been offered a ride home with some boys, but had declined the ride, stating that her mother had said she was too young to go with boys.

Nancy and Sheryl crossed the Jackson Street bridge over Flat Rock Creek after leaving Johnson's Restaurant.


At around 7:20 p.m., Nancy and Sheryl headed east on Jackson Street toward their home, only six blocks away on Ohio 111 (now Flat Rock Drive). The evening sky was now dark. The two sisters crossed the bridge over Flat Rock Creek, just a short distance from their home. A car passed them, heading into town. Another dark-colored car approached them on the empty road. It was almost the end of Nancy’s “unlucky day.”

Even with modern lighting, the road toward home for Nancy Eagleson would have had large pools of inky darkness.




Next: In Part 3 of this series, the Progress looks at the facts and investigation surrounding Nancy’s still-unsolved abduction, rape and murder.