The Mystery of Mary Shotwell Little and The Murder of Diane Shields : Two of Atlanta’s Most Notorious Unsolved Cases

Lori Johnston
21 min readJul 16, 2020

On the evening of October 14, 1965, Mary Shotwell Little was a twenty-five-year-old secretary with Citizens & Southern (C&S) Bank (now Bank of America) in downtown Atlanta. A newlywed of only six weeks, her husband Roy was out of town for his job but due to return home on Friday, October 15, when the couple was going to have a dinner party.

After a routine day at work, Mary purchased some groceries in preparation for Friday’s dinner party at the Colonial Market and then met a female co-worker for dinner at the S&S/Piccadilly Cafeteria at the Lenox Square Shopping Center, located in the tony Buckhead area of Atlanta. This was the one and only night that she went out during her husband’s travels. According to the co-worker in statements she made later, Mary was in good spirits and seemed happy with her married life.

After eating, the two of them did some window shopping and then around 8:00 p.m., Mary bid goodnight with a cheery “See you!” and headed toward her Mercury Comet in the Yellow Lot, carrying her brown leather handbag.

Mary Shotwell Little has not been seen since.

Lenox Mall as it would have appeared around 1965; Photo:

A dependable and reliable woman, her disappearance was noted the next morning when she failed to call or show up for work. Her boss called Mary’s apartment complex and spoke to her landlord, who said that the Littles’ morning paper was still on the sidewalk. The landlord entered the Littles’ apartment and found it empty. Mary’s boss then spoke to the co-worker she had dined with and the co-worker provided the location of Mary’s car at the Lenox Yellow Lot. Mary’s boss contacted Lenox and asked if they would check the lot for her car. Security guards sent to search for the car failed to locate it that morning. Worried, her boss arrived at Lenox several hours later, around noon, and found the car in the spot the co-worker had provided.

Lenox security at the time did rounds, making notes of cars that were left in the lot overnight and issuing citations. While Mary’s car evidently left the Yellow…

Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.