A man receives a mysterious phone call that his missing mother is still alive.
On March 25, 1976, Mary Ann Perez of Chalmette, Louisiana, went out with a girlfriend and left her teen-aged daughter, Donna, to baby-sit the younger children. Shannon Miller is Mary Ann’s youngest daughter:
According to Mary Anne’s brother, Wayne Thomas, Dorothy called to report that Mary Ann was having car trouble.
Mary Ann never called and never came home. Her family soon discovered that she had gone to meet her friend at a country-western club on the outskirts of New Orleans.
The next morning, police found Mary Ann’s car parked in front of the club, but saw no evidence of car trouble. Three days later, Mary Ann’s purse was found in Lake Pontchartrain, ten miles away. It had been weighted down by a brick. But there was no trace of Mary Ann Perez.
Nine years passed. Then finally, New Orleans Police got their first solid lead. A man named David Courtney and his wife had confessed to a multi-state killing spree. According to New Orleans Police Detective Bob Lambert, one of their victims seemed to have a lot in common with Mary Ann Perez :
According to Det. Bob Lambert, Courtney told him that he offered a ride to a woman who was too drunk home. After she accepted, he picked up his wife, and the three of them went back to the couple’s trailer:
David Courtney stated that as his wife drove, he sat in the back seat with Courtney and strangled her. Courtney said he had already killed once. He and his wife were afraid that this woman would go to the police if they let her live. According to David Courtney, they dumped their victim near the Louisiana/Mississippi state line and made no attempt to hide her body.
Detective Lambert had Courtney pick Mary Ann’s picture out of a line up to verify that she was indeed their victim. Lambert next questioned Courtney’s wife, specifically about Mary Ann’s purse:
An extensive search was conducted, but no body was recovered, even though all of Courtney’s other victims had been found where he said they would be. The Courtneys were never charged with Mary Ann’s murder and her family kept their hopes alive.
Then, fifteen years after Mary Ann disappeared, the family got a phone call from a woman who claimed to be Mary Ann’s best friend. Shawn Perez, Mary Ann’s daughter-in-law, spoke to her:
The caller told Shawn that she was calling for Mary Ann because Mary Ann was not allowed to call herself. The caller insisted she would not be able to call again. She said, like Mary Ann, she was “not allowed.”
The call gave hope to Mary Ann’s brother, Wayne, and the rest of the family:
Shannon Miller clings to the hope that David Courtney, who admits he was drunk at the time, did not succeed in strangling her to death:
Mary Ann’s brother, Wayne, wonders if his sister might have amnesia:
David Courtney is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of one of his other victims. His wife served ten years for being his accomplice.
UPDATE: Eight months after Perez’s disappearance, unidentified remains were found in a cornfield near Grand Bay, Alabama. And now, after 40 years of painstaking investigative and forensics work, DNA testing has determined those remains to, in fact, be that of Mary Ann Perez.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.SUBMIT A TIP
the couple probably did kill her. if he and or his wife was drunk at the time then they probably dont remember exactly where the body was dumped or they lied. they are able to confirm the timeline and incidents that happened from the night she disappeared.
I watch the episode featuring Mary Ann’s case via Amazon Prime and the episode didn’t include a text update confirming her remains were found like for other cases that were resolved after Unsolved Mysteries stopped filming (Like Donald Webb, Joyce McClain, etc).
How did the person who called have her home number and why did they even call did they not check phone records as to where the call came from ?
They may have finally found her: http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/crime_police/article_31c70bd8-e801-11e7-9b42-1b5418eeae96.html
Mrs.Mary Ann is my great aunt. I never got to meet her but we all miss her. If she is still alive and someone knows where she is then they need to bring her home safely. Our family needs to know where and if she is still alive then we need to know. We need to have peace. We love her very much friends and family
Hello I just came across this, Iam so sorry for your families loss many prayers sent your families way.
I was friends with Shannon in high school, I remember her brothers too Shannon was a sweet and beautiful girl who looked a lot like her Mom. The disappearance of her Mom weighed heavily on her. I pray that one day they will have closure. I miss you Shannon, RIP.
so sad that Shannon passed before they found Mary Ann’s body and convicted the killer
I was curious if the police ever interviewed Mary Anne’s friend from the bar. Or, the bat tender, or OTHER PATRONS at the bar. No one saw anything? A 33 yr old with kids at home “closed the bar?” Was she really that wasted?? It could’ve been anyone who abducted her. I think the Courtney guy and his wife aren’t responsible. Did they interview Courtney’s wife? How did they find her purse in the lake, but no sign of her? I can’t seem to find anymore info on this.
T J Doherty Madisonville La.
My parents grew up in New Orleans I was born in 1977 My mothers father my grandfather died of a Heart attack in September of of 1976 just a few Months After Ms Mary Ann so my heart goes out to this story David Courtney is clearly not telling the complete truth About where he dump her body David Courtney is a man that deserves to be tortured
He should be tortured until he tells the complete truth of the whereabouts of her body Because he clearly knows more than he is saying Anyhow I grew up on the West Bank In Jefferson parish Louisiana After 41 years I don’t think Miss Mary Ann is still alive cannot believe that this case has somehow gone cold When thinks gonna be done to the question Courtney to find out the complete truth And nothing is being done by law-enforcement Ms Mary Ann was probably thinking That Courtney was from the surrounding area’s And could be trusted she did not know he was a serial killer 1976 was a different time wish there was something that I could do to help find Ms Mary ann God bless her soul memory and her family Also God bless her daughter Sharon who is now passed away in 2009
Hey there, great website. Keep going the good work.
Mary annes grandson
If there is anypossibility that she is still alive she most likely would be in a mental Inst.or been held captive for years idk but this drove my mother crazy thinking of all this I watched her be depressed on and off because of it . I think the wife should be serving life as well.
I was very shocked when I saw that she only had to serve 10 years.
How horrible for your poor mother and your whole family.
I am so sorry that this happened to you, this shouldn’t happen to anyone.
I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I am so sorry that you never received answers. My heart just goes out to you all.
Luis Rubén Jordán
I’m so sorry for you and all your family, but I know that Mrs. Mary Ann is with God and wishes that you finally have the peace that all these years have sought so much.
What was David Courtney’s wife name. The reason I ask is. The women who called said her name was Dorthy.. I hope they get closer.
Hey there owner of unsolved.com. Great site. I think you should be little more strict with the comments.
My sister Tammy Lynn Taylor was their last victim. Glad that the killing spree has ended. Sorry for the pain & great the family is going threw. I hope they can get closure.
oh my prayers for you and your family
What if shes in a mental institution and thats the reason why she cant make no calls an she remembered her number n had one of the workers call for her
What if a three-headed monster captured her and they flew away on a space ship to Mars and she’s up there staring down, desperately screaming, trying to tell someone on Earth!? Hey, Earth to Anonymous: she’s clearly dead and this scumbag and his wife killed her.
Why would she be in a mental institution? And for the record, you are allowed to make more than 1 phone call from psychiatric hospitals.