UNSOLVED HOLLYWOOD MYSTERY:
Jean Spangler (pictured above) was a well-known extra and party girl in many films who vanished one night without a trace after leaving for a date.
On October 7, 1949, Spangler left her home in Los Angeles around 5 p.m., leaving her daughter with her sister-in-law and telling her that she was going to meet her former husband to talk about his child support payment that had been due a week before, then on to work on a movie set. The last person to see her was a clerk in a store near her home, who said she appeared to be waiting for someone. She has not been seen again.
Two days later on October 9, Spangler's purse (above) was found near the entrance gate to Griffith Park in Los Angeles with both of the straps on one side torn loose as if it had been ripped from her arm. Sixty police officers and over one hundred volunteers searched the 4,107 acre natural terrain park, but no other clues were found. There was no money in the purse (her sister-in-law said that she had no money when she left her house the evening of her disappearance) so the police ruled out robbery as a motive. There was an unfinished note in the purse addressed to a "Kirk," which read, "Can't wait any longer, Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away."
The note ended with a comma as if it hadn't been finished.
Neither "Kirk" or "Dr. Scott" could be located, and neither Spangler's family nor her friends knew anyone by those names. Spangler's mother, Florence, returned to Los Angeles and told police that someone named Kirk had picked up Jean at her house twice, but he stayed in his car and didn't come in. Police searched for Kirk and questioned every doctor with the last name Scott in Los Angeles, but none of them had a patient with the last name Spangler or Benner, Jean Spangler's former married name. Spangler had once been involved with a person she called Scotty, who had beaten her, threatening to kill her if she broke the relationship off, but her lawyer said she had not seen him since 1945.
Spangler had completed a bit part in the then unfinished film "Young Man with a Horn," starring the actor Kirk Douglas. Douglas was vacationing in Palm Springs and heard about the disappearance. He called the police and told them he was not the Kirk mentioned in the note before police knew there was any connection. Douglas was interviewed by the head of the investigating team and stated that he had heard the name and that Spangler had been an extra in his new film, but he didn't know her personally.
Friends of Spangler told police that she was three months pregnant when she disappeared and that she had talked about having an abortion, which was illegal at that time. The police talked with several people who frequented the same nightclubs and bars that Spangler did, who told them they had heard that there was a former medical student known as "Doc," who had said that he would perform abortions for money. Police searched for "Doc" with the idea that Spangler had gone to him to have an abortion and died as a result, but they not could locate him or anyone who would say that they had actually met him.
Prior to her disappearance, Spangler had been seen with Davy Ogul in Palm Springs. Ogul was an associate of gangster Mickey Cohen and he disappeared two days after she did.
Spangler had once dated mobster, Johnny Stompanato (above, center). In 1958 Stompanato was stabbed to death by Lana Turner's (left) fourteen year daughter Cheryl Crane (right) who said she did it to protect her mother.
The Los Angeles Police department continued the search and circulated Spangler's picture for several years in an unsuccessful attempt to find her and any reliable information. There was a nationwide search for Spangler, but no further clues have ever turned up.
People reported seeing her in Northern and Southern California, Phoenix, Arizona and Mexico City over the next two years, but none of those sightings could be validated. She is still listed as a missing person and the Los Angeles Police have not closed the case.
Source: "More Of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries," by John Austin