Missing Mother of 4, Edna Donalda Howerton-Harris, Missing Since 1946 From CA or NY

September 21, 2023 — Underground Mysteries

I have had this case on my “to-write-about” list for years.  I learned about the disappearance of Edna Donalda (Howerton) Harris from a forum entry posted to both Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com, which was written by her granddaughter, Shelly, who has been publicly searching for her. Harris’ daughter, Jo-Anna, replied to one of Shelly’s forum threads stating that she is searching for her, too.  Harris is an “unreported” missing person, which means no official missing person report exists in her disappearance.  Her case also cannot be found in NamUs (the national database for missing people).  Because I specialize in unreported case, I wanted to bring this case to the spotlight and hopefully get her case added to NamUs. I did add her case to my own missing person database, where I maintain cases of unreported cases.

There is not much public information on this cold case, but I was able to find several archives, documents, public records, and clues to piece together and re-create Harris’ timeline. 

Edna Donalda (Howerton) Harris was last seen in either California or New York in 1946 when she was 22 years old.  She had at least four children at the time of her disappearance, two of whom were raised by her husband and the other two whom were placed for adoption.  Her children have been actively searching for her whereabouts for years.

Born in California on either February 12 or February 17, 1924  to William Howerton and Donalda Thomas, Harris was raised in Los Angeles with her two younger siblings.  *There are conflicting records which show two different dates of birth for Harris.

I found a 1940 United States Federal Census which indicates Harris as having been living as an “inmate” in the Good Shepherd Convent. This presumably took place prior to her marriage, as her maiden name, “Edna Howerton” is listed.  This record also indicates that she made it to the eighth grade in school.

Harris eventually got married to Jarrett “Jack” Harris, who is now deceased.

I was unable to locate Harris on the 1950 Census, which would have been after her disappearance. 

It is unclear if Harris’ disappearance was sudden or if she became gradually estranged from her family. 

I was unable to find any records or newspaper articles for Harris after 1946.

I do not know anything about Harris’ appearance, other than she is Caucasian, as listed on her Census records.  I have reached out to her family members in attempt to gather more information on her appearance, and I will update this article accordingly if I obtain that information.  In the meantime, I used an image placeholder of the silhouette of a woman to represent her case, so that her case is not ignored.  (Missing person cases without photos attached rarely get opened.)

Harris would be 99 years old if alive today, at the time of this publication.

I created a Facebook page for Harris’ disappearance, in hopes it can be used to collect clues to her whereabouts.

I heavily tagged this news article (towards the bottom where it says “SEO Keyword Tagging”) so that people researching and/or investigating this case can find this article.

Ancestry.com forum
US Census: Year: 1940; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00403; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 60-337
US Census, 1930.

SEO Keyword Tagging (for increased searchability):  Jo-Anna Mantyla , Joanna Mantyla , Joanna Harris Mantyla , Gloria Adele Harris , Jay Harris , Stephen Harris , Steven Harris , Marvin Harris , Lucille Harris , Lucy Harris , Mabel “Stephanie” Howerton , Mabel Howerton , Stephanie Howerton , Edna Howerton , Edna Harris , Edna Howerton Harris , Edna Howerton-Harris , Edna (Howerton) Harris , Edna Harris (Howerton) , Edna Howerton missing , Edna Harris missing , Edna Donalda Howerton , Edna Donalda Harris , Edna D Howerton , Edna D. Howerton , Edna D Harris , Edna D. Harris , Edna D Howerton Harris , Edna D. Howerton Harris , Edna D Howerton-Harris , Edna D. Howerton-Harris , Edna Donalda Howerton-Harris , Edna Donalda (Howerton) Harris , Edna Donalda Harris (Howerton) , Edna D Harris (Howerton) , Edna D Howerton , Edna D Harris missing , Edna D Howerton missing , Edna Donalda missing , Donalda Howerton missing , Donalda Harris missing , Donalda Howerton , Donalda Harris , Donalda Edna Harris , Donalda Edna Howerton , Donalda Edna (Howerton) Harris , Donalda Edna Howerton-Harris , Donalda Edna Harris , Donalda Edna Howerton , Donalda E Harris , Donalda E Howerton , Donalda E Howerton-Harris , Donalda Edna Howerton / Harris , Edna Howerton / Harris , Edna Donalda Howerton / Harris , missing since the 1940s , missing since about 1946 , missing since 1945 , missing since 1944 , missing since 1947 , missing since 1948 , missing since 1949 , missing from Los Angeles, CA , Los Angeles cold cases , unsolved cold cases of Los Angeles, CA , missing unsolved cases of Los Angeles, California , missing from Southern CA , missing in Southern CA , missing from South CA , missing from South California , missing in South Cali , missing from South Cali , missing from Los Angeles County, CA , missing in CA , missing from CA , she went missing in 1946 , has been missing since 1946 , she disappeared in 1946 , she vanished in 1946 , she has been a missing person since 1946 , went missing in or around 1946 , went missing sometime in 1946 , missing since the ’40s , went missing in the late 1940s , no one has seen or heard from her since 1946 , unreported missing person , missing without a police report , has never been reported missing , no one has ever reported her missing, no one has reported her missing , no one ever reported her missing , missing and unreported , missing underrepresented cold case , unreported missing person case , missing without a missing persons report , no one filed a missing persons report on her , no one had reported her missing , no one has reported her missing , she was never reported missing , not in NamUs , there is no missing persons report on file for her disappearance , she had 4 children , missing mother of 4 , hasn’t been seen or heard from since 1946 , went missing in January 1946 , has been missing since January 1946 , missing since February 1946 , missing since March 1946 , missing since April 1946 , missing since May 1946 , missing since June 1946 , missing since July 1946 , missing since August 1946 , missing since September 1946 , missing since October 1946 , missing since November 1946 , missing since December 1946 , granddaughter Shelly , February 12, 1924 , February 17, 1924  , Donalda H Howerton , Donalda H. Howerton , Donalda Howerton , unsolved disappearance 1946 , missing female 1946 , missing White female 1946 Los Angeles, CA , unsolved cold cases of Southern California , brown hair , black hair , curly hair , straight hair , short hair , long hair , auburn hair , red hair , red head , redhead , blonde hair , dirty blonde hair , sandy hair , brown eyes , blue eyes , gray eyes , grey eyes , hazel eyes , green eyes , missing in her 20s , went missing in her 20s , went missing in her twenties , age 22 , age 21 , age 23 , was 22 years old , went missing at 22 years old , went missing at 21 years old , went missing at 23 years old , strange disappearances , has given birth to 4 children


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