Mary Lang was last seen in downtown Hays, early in the afternoon of Oct. 21, 1983. At the time, she recently started working as a legal secretary for an attorney and was taking papers to be signed, but she was never seen or heard from again.

Her car was found abandoned with its door open, and her purse and legal papers were inside.

According to newspaper reports, investigators searched for Mary for days. Five days after she vanished, on Oct. 26., there was a foot search along the Saline River northwest of Hays. Her car keys were in the jacket pocket. Detectives continued to search four square miles around that area, but nothing turned up. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation also processed Mary's coat for additional evidence, but nothing was found. 

"She didn't take off," Mary's mom, Lenora, declared in an interview with Harris News Service nearly two years after Mary was last seen. "But, I would still like to plead with the abductor that even if he wants to remain anonymous, just tell us where her body is, so we can give her a proper burial and close the books on this."

Unfortunately, Lenora and Mary's father, George, never got that answer. Lenora passed away in August 2013.  George passed away in June 2021. They share a headstone at a cemetery with Mary, which reads, regarding their daughter, “On October 21, 1983, you were taken out of our lives; never to be seen again. Memories remain until we see your smiling face again.”

Mary was described as friendly and beautiful. Around the time she vanished, “She was also getting threatening, obscene telephone calls,” her mom shared in an news interview published in The Parsons Sun on Oct. 21, 1985. “She was scared. Somebody must have had something against her.”  

Mary was 31 at the time she disappeared. If alive, she would be in her early 70's, though she was legally declared dead in 1990.

Foul play is suspected, according to the National Institute of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.


Missing from: Hays, Kan.

Missing since: Oct. 21, 1983

Age when missing: 31

Height: 5’7’’

Weight: 125 pounds

Hair: Light-grown hair

Eyes: Blue

If you have information that could help the case, contact the Ellis County Sheriff's Office at (785) 625-1040 or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at (785) 296-4017 or you can submit a tip to the KBI anonymously by clicking here

KAKE News will feature the story of a missing person every weekday in our newscasts at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have a person you’d like for us to share a story about, please contact Anchor Annette Lawless at [email protected]