Left and Center: Mary circa, 1981
Right: Age Progressed to age 31
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 15, 1981
Missing From: Seaside, Monterey County, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: February 19, 1968
Age: 13 years old
Height and Weight: 5’8” and 120
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes
NCMEC Number: 856128
Details of Disappearance
Mary Day was last seen at some point in 1981; possibly in July. She disappeared from her home in Seaside, California and was never seen or heard from again. Mary was never reported missing when she initially disappeared. She never enrolled in school after her disappearance.
Mary was reported missing by her sister, Sherrie Calgaro, in 1994 and she told investigators of Mary’s troubled life before her disappearance. Mary and her sisters were known to be in and out of foster care from a young age since they had a difficult childhood. While they were in foster care at one point their mother, Charlotte Day divorced from their father, Charles Day.
She remarried to a man named William Houle and they had two more children together, Billie Jean and William Jr. Houle. William enlisted in the army after marrying Charlotte and in 1976, she was able to regain custody of Mary and her sister, Kathy. Sherrie was adopted by her foster family by this time.
In 1978, William was assigned to a base in Hawaii and the family moved there as a result. At some point soon after this, Charles Day passed away. He left his inheritance to both his daughters. The two were known to discuss the inheritance afterwards and would use the codeword “Mohawk” when doing so. William and Charlotte were known to be cashing the checks.
In December of 1980, Mary was taken into protective custody after police alleged that William was being physically abusive towards her. This occurred while the family still lived in Hawaii. In January of 1981, William was reassigned to a base in Seaside, California so the family moved there. Mary remained in custody in Hawaii until a few months had passed.
Mary was returned to her mother and stepfather’s custody and joined the rest of the family in California. Mary disappeared at some point afterwards in 1981. Many missing persons agencies list her date of disappearance as July 15th of that year. There was no sign of Mary getting a drivers license or a job and her social security number hadn’t been used in years.
According to Kathy, one night the family went out to dinner, leaving Mary and her at the home. When they came back, Williams dog was sick and was dying in the kitchen area of the home. William immediately accused Mary of poisoning the dog and proceeded to beat her. Kathy said the last time she saw her sister, Mary had blood coming out of her mouth and was covered.
She said the next morning, Mary was gone. Kathy asked her mother about what happened to Mary, she told her that Mary had runaway from home and to never speak or ask of her again. They slowly started to erase Mary’s existence from their home. They moved to another home shortly after Mary’s disappearance.
Sometime afterwards, the family relocated to New York. Sherrie went to visit them there and inquired about Mary’s whereabouts to Charlotte. She told her that Mary ran away from home. She also asked Kathy who said they were not allowed to talk about Mary.
When Sherrie reported Mary as missing, she told investigators how Charlotte would talk about hiding bodies in California and how there were certain places you could hide one and it would never be found. She started to believe Mary was murdered at this point.
In 2002, seaside police became involved in the missing persons case. Police detectives interviewed Kathy and brought her to the home that they lived in when Mary disappeared. She told investigators of how William brutally beat Mary and also mentioned a place in the backyard of the home that she and her siblings were not allowed to play in after Mary vanished.
The place was the corner of the backyard. Investigators brought cadaver dogs to the home and the four dogs all indicated a body was buried in the corner of the yard at one point. They dug up the yard and found a small shoe which belonged to a child. It’s unclear whether the shoe was Mary’s or not. Investigators believe a body was buried there at one point but then moved. Soil samples also indicated a body was there at some point.
Investigators interviewed both William and Charlotte in April of 2003. They were both still married and lived in Kansas. William was no longer in the army by this time. When Charlotte was interviewed, she admitted she should have tried to find her daughter when she initially disappeared. She claimed that Mary had runaway on various occasions and assumed she’d done so in 1981.
Charlotte also responded and said “If she’s dead, she’s dead”. Investigators interviewed William Houle. He admitted to brutally beating Mary that night but told police he didn’t kill her. He did mention that the morning after Mary disappeared, Charlotte said she saw “Satan in his eyes” the previous night. When investigators asked him on a scale of 1-10 how angry he was at Mary that night, he responded with 15 out of 10.
Investigators also asked him if he believed that the demon inside of him could’ve killed Mary that night, he answered yes. He also said he had blacked out. At this point, investigators believed that Mary was the victim of a homicide and labeled her parents as suspects. They were building up a case against them until a surprising turn of events occurred which brought more questions than any answers.
In November of 2003, a woman was stopped at a traffic stop in Phoenix, Arizona and gave police her name and identification as Mary Louise Day. A detective interviewed her and she did remember some things about her childhood vividly. But some things she wasn’t able to remember at all. It was also found that the identity for Mary was issued a few weeks before she was stopped.
Investigators submitted her to take a DNA test which proved she was a daughter of Charlotte Day. She’s been dubbed as “Phoenix Mary”. Police closed Mary’s missing persons case after the DNA match and Sherrie invited the supposed Mary to live with her in North Carolina. She started to have doubts that Phoenix Mary was actually her long lost sister.
She noticed that Mary had a deep southern accent which she found unusually odd since Mary didn’t grow up in the south. She also noticed that Mary’s magazines were addressed to the name “Monica Devereaux”. Kathy also doubted her identity since Mary couldn’t remember the inheritance their father had left them after his death or the code word “Mohawk”.
In 2008, the investigation into Mary’s missing persons case was reopened after cadaver dogs working on an unrelated case alerted at the home that William Houle and the family moved to shortly after Mary’s disappearance. It was located near Seaside. The location was searched but no body was found. The investigator assigned to the case believed that Mary had in fact been buried in the garden of the old family home and then moved to this new location and then moved else where.
Investigators also believed Phoenix Mary was an imposter posing as Mary Day. They believed that the woman claiming to be Mary was a “secret” daughter who was born before Mary and given up at birth. They theorized that Houle and Charlotte reached out to this woman when they realized they were going to get pinned for killing Mary in 1981.
They also believed that Charlotte and William gave the woman Mary’s birth certificate and other details in order for her pose as Mary. However, it’s possible that Mary simply used her real name in order to get money for a surgery she needed in Arizona to properly get a drivers license. She was apparently assisted by a non profit to track down her information.
Mary was visited by a detective and she told her story of running away from her abusing parents. She apparently traveled from city to city and struggled with alcoholism from her teenage years. She did remember being hurt by William but didn’t remember poisoning the dog which caused William to attack her.
Mary also claimed that about a year after she left, she stayed with a single mother, Morie Kimmel, and her two daughters. A photograph was uncovered in 2017 which showed a girl who strongly resembles Mary with Kimmel and her girls. Mary then apparently ran away from Kimmel’s home at some point.
A DNA test also showed that Phoenix Mary was the daughter of both Charlotte and Charles Day in 2017. That information along with the photograph caused detective Judy Veloz to close the missing persons investigation. There’s been no mention of it reopening. Sherrie Calgaro believes the mysterious woman was probably her sister. Kathys exact thoughts aren’t known but she was very skeptical of the woman.
Some Investigators remain skeptical of what truly happened to Mary since evidence of a homicide and her being alive have both been found. They still consider the imposter theory to possibly be true. Charlotte and William Houle were uncooperative in the investigation and refuse to comment on the case in current times. After the interviews, the supposed Mary Day passed away in 2017. She had last stage cancer.
Some agencies may list her date of disappearance as the spring of 1980 or January 1st 1981. There was once an incorrect set of circumstances which said Mary had disappeared while walking to school in Seaside; this is incorrect since she was never enrolled in school in that area. Investigators are unsure if Mary or someone else was buried in the two locations indicated but believe someone was there at some point.
The whole entire case remains unsolved and there have been many theories regarding what happened to Mary Day. She was originally born in New York and was eldest of 4 siblings.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Seaside Police Department 831-899-6860 831-242-7854