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.
US Census: Year: 1940; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00403; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 60-337
US Census, 1930.
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September 21, 2023 — Underground Mysteries