Mary Elizabeth Rico

Mary Elizabeth Rico lived in Oceanside, California. She worked as an instructional aide at Mission Elementary School until she left in 1991 due to personal problems that were related to the divorce that she was going through.

Mary was last seen on the 2nd of April, 1992, at her home on Camelot Drive in Oceanside. She had also been to the grocery store, Ralph’s, that was set on Oceanside Boulevard that day.

Mary was reported missing on the 20th of April 1992. However, a neighbour went to the police and told them that he had seen Mary in the background of a news programme ten days after she was last seen. The news programme was regarding a protest about execution, and as Mary was politically active and a champion of liberal causes, the police closed the missing person case.

Mary’s case was reopened around a month after it was closed, as her family had still not heard from her and they were becoming increasingly concerned. It was at this time police discredited the news footage that they had used to close her missing person case before.

When Mary’s son came down to check her home, he found several disturbing things.

Firstly, he found that the back patio’s glass door was broken, and glass was shattered everywhere. He then found bloodstains on her bedding. However, as Mary was not the best at housekeeping, police are unsure as to how long the bloodstains had actually been on the bed. Outside, the phone line had been cut.

To add to this, a bridal slip she was planning to give to her niece at her wedding, a wedding that Mary was very excited about, was found laid out on the ironing table. Mary’s car was in the garage, her suitcases were inside the closet, and her purse and wallet were found on her bed.

All of this made police certain that Mary did not leave the house of her own free will.

Mary has not been seen, or heard from, since April 1992. Her body has never been found, nor have there been any sightings of her. She remains a missing person.

Mary in 1992. Credit: California Department of Justice.

Whilst Mary’s case is strange, to add to the strangeness, one of Mary’s former co-workers, Margaret Yossa, disappeared in February 1994.

Margaret and Mary worked together and knew each other well. Margaret also lived in Oceanside, just under a mile away from where Mary lived, and both women visited Ralph’s store on the day they disappeared.

Margaret’s car was found abandoned in Ralph’s parking lot, and in September of 1994, her skeletal remains were found in a field.

No one has ever been charged with her murder.

Despite all the similarities, police have not been able to link the cases together.

Was the same person responsible for Mary’s disappearance and Margaret’s death?

Newspaper article about the discovery of Margaret. Credit:


Unsolved, Still Missing, Missing Person, Oceanside, California, Mary Rico, 1992, the 1990s, Unsolved Missing Persons Case, Missing Persons Case, Unsolved Mystery, Mystery, Strange Circumstances, Mysterious Circumstances, True Crime, Real Crime

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