true crime

Daisy Shelton was murdered 61 years ago. A death bed confession led to finding her killers.

Daisy Shelton's murder puzzled police for more than 60 years.

The case surrounding the disappearance and killing of the 43-year-old mother began in June 1964, when a man fishing at a gravel pit in Western Ohio caught a human arm.

The next day, divers found the other arm, and a full-blown recovery effort was launched to pump water out of the pit.

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Daisy hadn't yet been identified when search boats, pumpers and divers found her torso, a leg and her head at the Miami-Erie Canal in Tipp City — a little more than a kilometre away from where the arm was first found.

After an extensive investigation revealed the body parts belonged to Daisy Shelton, police informed her family, who had reported her disappearance months earlier in late August 1963. Her daughter Rita had filed a missing persons report when Daisy did not come home, despite saying she would be "later on in the evening".

Police determined she had been hit in the head with a hammer before her body was dismembered and dumped in the water. "It's very, very shocking that a human being can do that to another human being," Daisy's granddaughter Maria Walling told News Centre 7 earlier this year.


Daisy Shelton was reported missing in August 1963. Image: Dayton Daily News.

For more than 60 years, the case remained unsolved and Daisy's family were left without closure. Then, in 2017, they were informed that a witness had come forward to share new information.


Believing he was close to death, an unnamed man told a nurse he had witnessed Daisy's brutal murder. Her murderer, according to the witness, was a man who had lived on the same street as Daisy and also worked with her at the automotive electronics company Delco.

That man became a suspect, and police tracked him down. Across the course of several interviews with the authorities in 2017, the suspect initially denied knowing Daisy. But he eventually confessed that a box from his home "was used to carry the body parts of Shelton" and "it was possible that Shelton was killed in [the suspect's] home", according to CBS

He insisted he didn't murder Daisy, and claimed he was being set up by the witness.

Before Daisy's family could see justice, the suspect died in September 2022, aged 92. The man who allegedly witnessed the murder take place gave his testimony to a grand jury, but also died before the case could proceed. 

Nevertheless, last month, authorities officially declared the case closed.

Daisy's granddaughter confessed it was bittersweet learning the truth about her grandmother's murder, but was happy to have some answers at last. She said police had identified three men who were likely involved in Daisy's death, confirming at least two were already dead.


"I'm like, 'finally.' They found the killers, there [were] three," she said, per Yahoo News"I'm going to feel bad for the families that are going to find out about these three individuals [who] killed my grandmother."

It's unlikely police will ever be able to confirm a motive.

"Cold case homicides are among the most difficult investigators confront," a sheriff officer for the Miami County Sheriff's Office said, per Dayton Daily News"Revisiting cases is a crucial aspect of bringing a sense of justice to the victim's family, even if it comes long after the crime occurred. Concluding cases even under these circumstances allows an investigation to be released for public interest and makes information available to the victim's family."

Maria sadly never met her grandmother.

However, she keeps Daisy's memory alive thanks to stories passed down from her father — Daisy's son — who passed away in 2020.

"She was sweet, my dad said she was really strict," she said.

"He never let on how he really felt about this, but it was all eating him up inside," she said.

"Dad, justice is served. They're gone and I pray to god no one ever goes through this, and I'm glad you're with [mum]."

Feature Image: Ohio Police.