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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Decemystery (2021) 5: The Disappearance of Ellen Patricia Bresch


Author's Note: a family member of Ellen's left a comment on February 4, 2024, regarding her husband's death. In the write-up, I said that his cause of death was unknown; as it turns out, he passed away due to diabetes. I thought I would clear that up here, rather than leave it unaddressed, unless you read the comments.

Ah, true crime. It’s my favorite thing—at least next to consuming product and getting excited for next products. It’s a really fascinating world to dive into, especially when you find something really obscure. Coincidentally, that’s exactly what today’s story is: something obscure and, as far as I can tell, not really talked about anywhere big. It’s about a woman named Ellen Patricia Bresch. A seemingly ordinary woman who made one really unordinary move prior to disappearing. So come along, dear reader, it’s time for us to take a trip to Kentucky and see what happened on one fateful night.

The Story

I found this story on the International Missing Persons Wiki, an off-shoot of the Unidentified Wiki. It’s a really great website and I recommend checking it out if you’re into unsolved disappearances.

Anyways, let’s get to know our central focus today. Ellen Patricia Bresch (who I will simply refer to as Ellen from here on out) was born on February 19, 1928. At the time of her disappearance, she was 49-years-old and stood at 5’5” (roughly 1.67 meters) and weighed 115 pounds (52.1 kilograms). The aforementioned wiki contradicts this though and states she weighed 125 pounds (which is 68.9 kilograms). She was Caucasian, had brown hair, and green eyes. She had also been married. Unfortunately, her husband passed away two years prior to her disappearance (from what is unknown). This is very important to remember for later, so keep it in mind.

I cannot find anything about what Ellen was like as a woman, but given there doesn’t appear to be anything that states she was prone to getting in trouble, was acting suspicious (a la Blair Adams), or had a history of any mental health illness, I can only guess she was a normal, everyday lady.

Moving on, our story takes place in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky—at least, I believe so. If it doesn’t, then the day of her disappearance at least does, though I don’t want to do that just yet. No, we have to take a trip back to March 7, 1977. This is the last time anyone had any direct contact with Ellen. What exactly happened on this day, I don’t know, but I’d like to think it was some generic 1970’s stuff that involved colorfulness and disco. Though I digress, the following day, Ellen’s movements and actions are unknown. This is rather strange since it would stand to reason that someone would’ve at least seen her. Alas, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

Now we can get to the day of Ellen’s disappearance. I have no idea when any of the following events took place, but that isn’t really important. I just felt like mentioning it. Anyways, on March 9, 1977, Ellen did something extremely weird. Whether or not she was from Fort Mitchell is, at this point, irrelevant, since on this day, she was there. The first thing she did was go to a bank; it was there that she withdrew a staggering $20,000. That’s about $90,500 in today’s money. For context: the median income in Fort Mitchell, as of 2019, is just under $75,000. The median income in Kentucky as a whole of $52,295.

Moving on though: withdrawing that much money at once isn't something any normal person does. At least, not unless they’re ready to get the hell out of dodge and start a new life. That, or they’re in dire need to pay off a ransom. Yes, I’m aware I’m already speculating on why she did this, but it’s worth mentioning since most—if not all—banks limit how much someone can withdraw at once. Given that this is more than a fair amount of money for any middle-class citizen to have at one time, I can’t help but harp on it. Also, if you’re expecting any sort of answer to this, let me go ahead and spoil it right now: there is no answer.

Let’s move on from my rambling though. After withdrawing the twenty grand, Ellen strangely kept it on her. After this, I don’t know what happened next, but she sure as heck didn’t go home. From what little information is available on this case, Ellen didn’t take anything from her home; no clothing, no personal belongings, nothing. She just… vanished with a hefty amount of money on her.

Presumably concerned for their mother’s safety, Ellen’s two adult children proceeded to report her missing. It wouldn’t take long for something big to happen; two days after vanishing, on March 11, Ellen’s 1972 Oldsmobile was found parked in a Holiday Inn parking lot. However, that hopefulness for their mom being okay quickly died. When police went to investigate the car, they found bloodstains inside. How much blood was in there, I don’t know, and I’m beginning to get kind of annoyed that every time I want to specify a detail, I can’t. I digress though, the blood within the car matched Ellen’s blood type, which signified something rather grim.

Further adding to this grimness, the employees at the inn couldn’t recall ever seeing Ellen enter—and there weren’t any records of her signing in. I guess the inability to “recall” her going in is pointless, but hey: who am I to judge other writers not just stating the latter detail?

To round out this story, I want to state one final thing that I cannot find any source for. According to various websites, such as the Charley Project, Ellen was—at the time of her disappearance—wearing pants and a pink, blue and white striped tank top. Why she was wearing a tank top in March, I don't know; maybe it was warmer than normal that day. Also, how police were able to obtain this detail in the first place would be really nice to know, but alas, I cannot find out how and that triggers me like there’s no tomorrow.

Alas, I don’t feel like throwing a temper tantrum. That, as far as I’m aware, is the end of the story. It’s short and really weird; no leads have ever come in to break the case wide open. So let’s go over the theories. Tally-ho!


1. She was going to go dark

In my time researching this case, I found a thread on websleuths which had some hot takes on what might’ve been going on. One user suggested Ellen might’ve been going for an abortion, though twenty grand is far more than one would’ve needed for one. Nowadays, an abortion can cost roughly $1,500 (this is according to Planned Parenthood’s website). I can’t calculate how much that would be in 1976 dollars, but I think it’s more than safe to say that $20,000 would’ve been significantly more than enough to cover for it.

One other user, meanwhile, posited that Ellen was planning on going “under the radar”. For what reason is anyone’s guess, though it’s possible she was involved in some really unsavory activities (such as drugs). I, once again, cannot value what the street value for something like cocaine or crystal meth would’ve been back in 1976, but $20,000 seems like more than enough to purchase quite a bit of either substance.

If this theory is accurate, then it’s anyone’s guess if she managed to somehow escape her attacker and escape.

2. Murder

The second and final theory we have is the most obvious one: Ellen was attacked/ambushed at the Holiday Inn parking lot and murdered. For what reason is… really unclear. Perhaps it was over a drug deal done wrong, perhaps it was just a crime of opportunity, or maybe it was some unknown serial killer. Whichever idea you want to go with is entirely up to you, though one thing remains the same: Ellen (presumably) died that night. That’s really all there is as far as I’m concerned since there’s nothing I can really find about the scene of the crime or details about it.

My Take

This was honestly a really hard story to form an opinion on. I find it weird that Ellen’s children didn’t say anything about her behavior prior to her withdrawing the movie and going to the inn. I also find it weird that no acquaintances/friends/other family members said anything. All they said was something that a lot of other family members of missing persons have said: “she wouldn’t leave without telling anyone.”

As far as I can tell, she was perfectly normal in the time leading up to her disappearance. That makes her withdrawing $20,000 all the more bizarre to me. Compounding this bizarreness is, as far as I’m aware, nobody has any idea where this money came from. Earlier, I told you to remember about her husband’s passing and this is why. As far as I can tell, I can’t find anything that states that the money was a part of the insurance policy for her husband, which opens the door to a lot of other possibilities. Perhaps it was a loan from someone she knew, or maybe it came from something illegal. It's also possible she had been saving all of this money up. Alas, for all intents and purposes, everything about the money is, as far as I’m aware, shrouded in mystery.

As a result of this, I’m inclined to believe that whoever carried out the crime was interested in the money first and foremost. However, for what reason, I cannot answer with any level of certainty. My gut says it was something drug-related, but my brain says it was just a crime of opportunity. I don’t really know why, but that’s what I feel/think.

On one final note: some people on “websleuths” raised a bit of suspicion about how Ellen’s husband died. If there weren’t any questions raised at the time of his death, I sincerely doubt it had anything to do with Ellen’s own disappearance. However, you’re always free to disagree with me.


Stories of unsolved disappearances always creep me out. There’s something truly unsettling about someone just vanishing into thin air. It’s even creepier when there’s a scene where the person was—presumably—last alive. For this story, it sent a chill down my spine. Though it also really perplexes me. Tell me what you think happened to Ellen and, as always, I shall see you tomorrow!

Also, if you by any chance have any information that could help break this case wide open, call the Kentucky State Police at (859) 428-1212. If she is still alive, Ellen Patricia Bresch would be 93-years-old.


  1. Family member here . Her husband passed due to diabetes. He was type 1 diabetic and already had amputations and was blind.

    1. Wow, I'm shocked to see a comment on this, not to mention from a family member. I'm so sorry to hear about this; I hope my glossing over it didn't come across as insensitive or cruel. Unfortunately, I wrote this at a rather rough point in my life (most of the 2020s have not been kind to me, mental health-wise). However, I did add a little note at the start of the write-up to address this so people know!

  2. Question, how would I go about getting in touch with the family member who replied on Feb 4, 2024? My husband has long been in search of his biological grandmother, who on his adopted father's birth certificate listed an Ellen Young. COULD very well be a coincidence, but we have had no luck in finding her to this point in time. When I learned that Ellen Patricia Bresch's maiden name had been Young, it causes me to at least pause and ask the question. We reside in southern Indiana....

    1. Hello! I'm sorry for the late response; life's very hectic for me the past few months.

      I'm uncertain as to how you can get in contact with them. You could try responding to their comment above, but I cannot promise that will yield a response.

      Beyond that, may I suggest trying to do a DNA test? I'm unfamiliar with how reliable they are, but that could potentially work for you.