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WHAT BECOME&OF THE PEOPLE WHO DROP OUT OF SIGHT AND
ARE NEVER HEARD OF AGAIN?
BY JANE WHITAKER
Do you ever wonder what becomes
i of the people who drop out of sight
as completely as the star that shoots
out of the sky, and are never heard
There are many hundreds Of themj
each year in every large city, most
of them .boys and men, but an ap
palling number of them are girls..
To be sure, some of them are
found and the mystery solved, but
what of those who are not traced,
who do not return?
I went over the records in the of
fice of the city detective bureau and
it was more absorbing than the best
novel because it was so baffling, and
so "fraught -with speculation.
During the months of March and
April more than a hundred people
have disappeared in Chicago and as
yet 'in but few cases are the records
marked "found," "returned," or
"home." A few of them are school
children, between the ages of 6 and
10; there are a few girls of 14 r there
were six girls of 15; nine girls of 16;
eleven girls of 17, and six girls of 18.
Beyond that, the ages ranee clear
into the fifties, and the descriptions f
run from blue eyes and golden hair
to brown eyes and black hair, with
all the intermediate colorings:-.
In rare cases possible motives are
supplied by relatives, and these,
though they suggest tragedy, are less
fearfulthan the uncertainty.
"Feared she may commit suicide."
"May be found with.young Italian."
"Does "not speak English." "Took
with her $11Q. "Had quarrel with
father." "On parole. Believed to
have taken 50."
One very sad record began with a
description of a missing man, and to
it was added: "Found dead of gas
in a lodging house on West Madison
street." Another one supplied the
"demented" supposition, ancrhad,,uii
der it "found; In County" Hospital."
And then there are records that
are absolute mysteries records of ,
bodies in the morgue and no identity
In the case of boys who run away,
one can supply the motive more
easily. Boys are naturally of an ad
venturous temperament. Only a few
days ago I listened to two little tykes
standing on a corner, one with sun
bleached hair and eyes as blue as the
sky, and the other "Swarthy, with, the
wanderlust in his brown eyes, arrang
ing to meet each other when they
L should get their clothes, and he of the
sun-bleached hair said: "We can
find some place to sleep, if I can just
sneak my things out" And both of
them were going to leave the shelter
of their homes, however poor the
homes might be, for the shelterless
uncertainty of a roving life.
It is easy to imagine the reason
that takes men from home. It isn't
so often the lure of adventure, for
their blood has ceased toxrun so hot
ly in their veins, but they grow dis
satisfied, they grow impatient and
many of them are too weak morally
to go on shouldering the burden of.
supporting a home.
The detectives admit that it is less
difficult td trace boys dnd men, be
cause an officer can. approach them
and question them and learn their
identity, but an officer must be very
sure of the identity of the girl or
woman before Tie speaks to her. She
is very apt to take offense at his ad
dressing her and raise a disturbance,
But it is difficult to imagine why
tender girls of from 15 to 20 brave the
prospect of being homeless and
friendless. Of course, in some cases
it is a secret Jove affair, and one girl
was located later in St Louis, hap
pily married, but secret love affairs
do not often end 'happily, especially
when a girl divorces herself from the
protection of her parents, and in this
case it Is horrible to speculate upon