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The Case

Thirteen-year-old Mary Olenchuk was last seen on August 9th, 1970 in Ogunquit, Maine. It remains Maine’s oldest cold case.

It was a normal Sunday morning in the Olenchuk house according to The True Crime Club.

The family spent that morning at a church service and returned home shortly after. It was a hot summer day, so the family decided to spend the day at Little Beach.

The True Crime Club reports Mary left her mother, Ruth, and her sisters Nancy and Jane at the beach. Since the beach was close to their home, Mary hopped on her bike and went to town for a pack of gum and a copy of the paper.

The next time Mary was seen was around 5:00 p.m. by a guest of the Lookout Hotel. The hotel was only 200 yards from Mary’s home.

The woman told authorities she saw Mary, who she described as a red-headed girl, talking to a man in a maroon car with scratches on the hood.

This detail is also noted on Maine State Police’s Unsolved Homicides page. They say the car resembled a 1967 Chevy with the driver being described as a “white male, mid-thirties, wearing dark clothes.”

The hotel guest said she turned her head for a moment and when she looked back, Mary was in the maroon car seemingly smiling and laughing. The man then drove off.

Mary was missing for 13 days before being found on August 22nd around 1 p.m. She was discovered in a barn under a pile of hay at the Parson’s Estate in Kennebunk.

Her body was found by Police Chief George LeBarge and Peter Gunn, the farm’s handyman.

She was badly decomposed and had rope around her neck. However, police say there were no signs of sexual assault.

The barn was only 10.2 miles away from where Mary was taken.

Possible Motive

According to Down East a possible motive for the abduction and murder of Mary Olenchuck has to do with her father.

Peter Olenchuk, an Army soldier, had just been promoted to Brigadier General in 1970. With the promotion, Peter oversaw an operation called Operation CHASE (“Cut Holes and Sink ‘Em”).

This operation meant the “disposal at sea of unwanted munitions and chemical weapons” reported Down East. Some student groups seemed to protest this plan.

Apparently the day before Mary went missing, a group based out of Kentucky said it would kidnap the families of those involved in CHASE.

Although nothing seemingly came from this tip, it still is a theory in Mary’s death.

Police still look into this case and ask if anyone has information to contact the Maine State Police at 207-324-1150.

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