>>>PREVIOUS STORY IN SERIES: 5 Roses, 2 women: A confession in Mary’s case
EDITOR’S NOTE: 5 Roses, 2 women is a digital series—along with the 5 Roses podcast—detailing the timeline account of events, based from the case files received from the Atlanta Police, East Point Police and the FBI via the APD, that included interviews with witnesses and those closest to Mary Shotwell Little and Diane Shields.
EAST POINT, Ga. -- May 19, 1967 is a warm spring day, about 72 degrees for most of the day in Atlanta. But before the day is over, chills will once again penetrate the women of this city.
Sandra Fleming leaves for work at 8 a.m., and sees her little sister, Diane Shields, as she is leaving the apartment they share. Following suite, Diane leaves soon after for her job at AIG.
Around 4 p.m., Diane's fiance, Tommy Antle, receives a call for an appointment about an insurance policy at 4 p.m. He calls Diane to let her know that he will be over later, and that the appointment should take no longer than about an hour. They do not have plans, only that he was going to come over that evening.
Fleming gets off work at 5 p.m., and gets home at about 15 minutes later.
At 5:03 p.m., Diane leaves work.
Nealy Williams, 46, the assistant vice president at AIG, sees Diane as he leaves the office for the day.
He tells police later that he remembers seeing her leave work on Friday, May 19, 1967, because he was meeting his wife at the office that night for dinner.
“As we departed the reception area of the office, Diane and Gene Dyson were talking. The reason I remember this was because we spoke a few words to them and then said goodnight and left the office. Then we went out to where my car was parked. My wife had a portable radio with her and after we got in the car I took the key from my ring for the glove compartment and put my wife’s small radio in the glove compartment, locked it, and I suppose it was during this time that I saw Diane’s car pull out of the drive into the street.”
Diane leaves the Washington Street, S.W., office traveling west on Hunter Street.
At 6 p.m., Antle calls the apartment and then again about an hour later.
Diane is still not home.
Twenty minutes later, Antle gets home and does some work on his model airplane waiting for Diane.
Antle calls Diane again. But Sandra says she is still not home.
It's 7 p.m.
He leaves to go to his office to do some more work. There is no one else at the office and he finishes up around 8 p.m., and calls Diane again.
Still not home.
He drives past AIG to see if her car is there and it is not. The office appears to be dark and locked.
7:30-8:30 p.m. | Jack and Martha Jane Mullinax spot Diane’s car, a blue 1963 Chevrolet two-door hardtop Super Sports Impala, with two men inside, but no Diane.
8 p.m. | Peggy Tolbert goes to East Point Cleaners and Laundry, at 2732 Sylvan Road in East Point, but does not see any cars on the side of the one-story brick building.
8:40 p.m. | Antle goes to the apartment where Sandra and her boyfriend, Tommy Moffatt, are getting ready to leave for a date.
8:10-9:30 p.m. | Tolbert sees Diane’s car now parked alongside the laundromat.
9 p.m. | Moffatt and Sandra leave for a 9:30 p.m., show at the Fox Theatre. They see the Clint Eastwood western movie, “A Few Dollars More.”
After speaking briefly to the resident manager, Mrs. Tumlin, who is watering flowers outside, Antle goes back into the apartment to have a beer, watch T.V. and wait for his fiancé to get home.
As time progresses, his worry stiffens.
He begins calling the Atlanta Police and Grady Hospital to see if there have been any reports of a “Diane Marie Shields” having an accident. Police tell him that he will have to wait 24 hours to report her missing.
He calls South Fulton Hospital and College Park Police asking them if they have heard anything about a “Diane Marie Shields.”
At midnight, Fleming and Moffatt return home from their date.
Diane is still not home.
It’s now May 20.
“When we drove up, I saw Tommy walk across in front of the window and I noticed that Diane’s car was not there. I knew that something was wrong,” she later tells police.
Between 12:15-10:05 a.m., a car is stolen from an apartment complex next to East Point Cleaners and Laundry on Cleveland Avenue. The car is a 1963 Chevrolet convertible, with a white soft top and blue bottom.
At 1 a.m., Antle calls Gene Dyson, of AIG, at his home in Tucker, Ga.
Dyson tells him that Diane left work a few minutes after 5 p.m., and seemed to be in “good spirits and happy.” He tells him however, he does not know if she had any plans other than going home after work.
1:30 a.m. | Jim Tucker is at the Waffle House on Central Avenue and sees two women, whom he describes as Diane and her former roommate and co-worker at C&S Bank, Judy Brownlee.
1:50 a.m. | Fleming and Antle call the College Park Police Department to report her missing and her car stolen.
2:30 a.m. | Moffatt goes home and Fleming heads to bed in Diane’s room, giving Antle her room to sleep in for the night.
2:30 a.m. | Grady Henderson and W.M. Wilson are patrolling East Point area businesses when they spot a car parked on the side of East Point Cleaners and Laundry, at the intersection of Sylvan Road and Cleveland Avenue.
It is parked on the south side of the brick building.
They get out of their patrol car and investigate.
A quick peak inside shows the keys are still in the ignition.
As the two officers walk around the car, they notice blood dripping from the trunk and leaving a trail across the asphalt.
Henderson grabs the keys from inside the car and opens the trunk.
There is a woman’s body folded like a demented origami and shoved between a trunk full of cardboard boxes and a spare tire.
She is dead.
They run the tags.
The car belongs to: Diane Marie Shields.
>>>NEXT STORY IN SERIES: 5 Roses, 2 women: Finding Diane
LIKE 5 ROSES, 2 WOMEN? CHECK OUT THE 5 ROSES PODCAST AND LISTEN TO ALL SEVEN CHAPTERS, PLUS A DEBRIEF WITH THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER.
>>>Dig deeper into the investigation at https://www.11alive.com/5-roses.
The Diane Shields’ murder case and the Mary Shotwell Little’s missing persons case have gone cold for more than 50 years. Detectives have come and gone—investigated, retired and died, before ever getting to the truth.
Do you know what happened?
If you have any information on either of these cases, contact the Atlanta Police Department, at (404) 614-6544, East Point Police Department, at (404) 761-2177, or the FBI Atlanta office, at (770) 216-3000.
You can also reach out to Crime Stoppers, at (404) 577-TIPS.
>>>Listen and subscribe to 5 Roses, CLICK HERE<<<
11Alive Investigative Digital Journalist, Jessica Noll, spent the last year digging into Diane Shields’ and Mary Shotwell Little’s 50-year-old cold cases to find out if they're connected in a seven-chapter podcast series: 5 Roses.
This timeline narrative detailing the last moments of their lives and the investigations that ensued thereafter are taken from the case files and police interviews from the 1960s, as well as interviews with family and investigators from present day.
5 Roses is part of Gone Cold—an ongoing digital series, where Noll investigates some of the most infamous and lesser-known cold cases in Georgia. She's digging for answers for the still-grieving families who long for them, and for the victims who have never found their justice.
CONTACT THE REPORTER |
Jessica Noll is a multimedia journalist, who focuses on in-depth, investigative crime/justice reports for 11Alive's digital platforms.
Follow her on Twitter @JNJournalist and Facebook @JessicaNollJournalist, to keep up with her latest work. If you have a tip, story idea or cold case suggestion, email her at jnoll@11Alive.com or call, text at (404) 664-3634.
5 Roses photos provided by: APD, East Point PD, John Fedack and Sheryl McCollum.
5 Roses graphic by Joshua Coats.