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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A wicked finger of nature spiraled out of a stormy sky and scratched a path of devastation for nearly 200 miles April 9, 1947. Coming out of Texas, crossing into Oklahoma and then finally sputtering angrily out in Kansas this tornado would destroy most of Woodward, Oklahoma and leave several heartbreaking mysteries behind. Several children were unidentified and one kidnapped in the wake of the storm. The unidentified were finally thought to be children of destitute parents unable to afford a funeral - although one girl was a blond 12 year old that none in several surrounding counties and states could identify. Little 4-year old Joan Gay Croft lost her mother in the storm, her father was badly injured and she and a slightly older sister were relegated to the basement of the hospital were the "slightly injured" were kept. In the middle of the night two men in work clothes common to the time period came in and took the girl. She was never seen again. Over the years various children were suspected of being her - especially one case of man who had beaten a little girl in California just a year or so later, but they all turned out to be dead ends. In recent years, several women have come forward as the little girl stolen away that night but so far none appears to have been positively identified using DNA or other tests. In retrospect, given the mysterious dead 12 year old, whom no one could identify, it may be that some sick individuals seeking a "younger replacement" may have taken the little Croft girl. Hopefully,that was not the case, and she was simply misidentified and taken to a loving and nurturing home all those years ago. Look closely at her face - maybe you can see her in a loving grandmother or neighbor and thus solve a decades old mystery.
The other unidentified children rest in the local cemetary under the same death date as many others, "April 9, 1947".

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