Book brings attention to Tipton County cold case

New hope in 50-year-old case
Book brings new attention to 1965 murder

TIPTON COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - In 1965, Olene Emberton was found dead next to a quiet Tipton County corn field. It is an unsolved cold case. Now a new book is giving new life to Olene’s memory and the mystery.

Miles outside of Tipton the gravel road hasn’t changed much since the 17-year-old high school senior was found naked in a ditch, her clothes neatly folded nearby.

“I try to imagine what it was like that night for whoever put her here,” said author Janis Thornton. She was Olene’s classmate. The title of her book, Too Good A Girl, is a quote from the teenager’s mother.

“My daughter was too good a girl for her to face death this way,” Thornton said

Olene and a boyfriend saw a movie at the Diana theatre, just of the Tipton courthouse square. She drove him home, just across town. Olene never made it to her home. Her car was found in the neighborhood a few blocks away from the house. It was locked and undamaged. There was no sign of a struggle. A farmer found her body two days after she vanished. Investigators never determined a cause of death.

“There was a darkness that came over everybody,” Thornton said. “It affected our class. It changed our lives. It is a mystery. After all these years nobody knows what happened.”

Newspapers jumped on the story. The Kokomo Tribune offered a $500 reward, a substantial amount of money at the time. But the case was never solved. Thornton couldn’t let go of the mystery.

“The thing that surprised me is that nobody seemed to know her she was reserved and quiet,” she said.

But more than 50-years later people in Tipton haven’t forgotten Olene’s suspicious death.

“People are coming up to me and saying I remember Olene in fact I saw here that afternoon, her last day.” Thornton explained.

Over the decades, crime scene evidence, and investigator’s notes have disappeared.

Thornton hopes her book, thaws a very cold case.

“This will jar some memories lose, somebody can come forward with the clue that is going to break the case open.”

Two-months ago a Tipton county detective interviewed a person of interest. He’s a convicted killer in prison. Investigators say he didn’t have anything to say about Olene Emberton 50-years ago.

He’s not saying anything now.

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