A recent breakthrough in the investigation of a cold case that has remained unsolved for six decades has raised the possibility that Noreen Greenley, a 13-year-old girl from Bowmanville, intentionally left her home 60 years ago while pregnant and journeyed to the United States.
New insights suggest that Noreen Greenley may have deliberately disappeared from her home, with no intentions of ever returning. The revelation, which was never before disclosed to the public, was in possession of the police since 1968, brought forward by Greenley’s father.
The young girl went missing following an evening of bowling with friends in her hometown of Bowmanville on September 14, 1963. Although Noreen was expected to take the bus back home that night, she never did. Initially, the investigation explored the likelihood of her being abducted and entombed in a car trunk, but an exhaustive search off Highway 57 in 2018 failed to substantiate that idea.
Investigators currently propose that Noreen might have traveled to Oshawa, stayed there for two weeks, and then continued on to Whitby, where she lived briefly with a couple, Mary and Gary Benson. “There are reports of two girls staying in Oshawa, one pregnant and afraid to go home,” shared Det. Sgt. Brad Corner, of Durham Regional Police.
In the company of another girl, Noreen is believed to have crossed Lake Ontario on a 40-foot cabin cruiser, the “Mary Bell”, owned by an individual known as Franko. It appears that upon arrival in Rochester, Noreen might have settled in a motel or cabin in Syracuse, New York. “(She) was believed to be pregnant at that time and gave birth to a baby boy,” Corner added.
During the course of the investigation, a series of phone numbers were discovered, but the evolution of the case has been hampered by the difficulty in identifying their respective owners. Police are urging the public to come forward if the listed numbers seem familiar:
781-1373 925-3654 745-9145 925-3654 781-1373
Support for the claims initially made by Noreen’s father to the police 55 years ago was recently provided through the entries recovered from a Bowmanville police constable’s memo book. “I think one of the challenges was that Mr. Greenley, he passed away shortly after providing that information. It was difficult to follow that up with anything concrete,” Corner explained.
Durham police assumed responsibility for the cold case in 1995, after the initial investigation was transferred to them by the Ontario Provincial Police from the Bowmanville police.
During the recent news conference marking 60 years since Noreen’s disappearance, her niece, Mandy Jones, stated, “We always say ‘Yes, that’s what our gut instinct tells us — but it’s in all of our hearts and hopes that she is still alive’. But we believe in this case, it is solvable. We have the hope that we will be able to bring Noreen home.”