1966 Three Sunbathers disappear from Beach

Renee Bruhl, Patricia Blough, and Ann Miller, mysteriously disappeared from the Indiana Dunes State Park in Indiana on July 2, 1966.

The women arrived at the Indiana Dunes State Park at around 10am. Miller parked in the park’s lot and the women hiked to a spot approximately 100 yards from the Lake Michigan shoreline. A couple reported seeing the women leave their belongings on the beach around noon and enter the lake together.

Renee Bruhl

The park rangers soon learned that missing persons’ reports had been filed for Blough, Miller and Bruhl over the weekend in Illinois by their families. The rangers began investigating the park and located Miller’s Buick in the parking lot. Her car keys had been located with her belongings and some items of the women’s clothing and other personal effects were still inside the vehicle. The park rangers contacted other law enforcement agencies, including the United States Coast Guard. A search for the missing women was initiated on July 5, three days after the women disappeared.

Ann Miller

More witnesses began substantiating the initial reports that the women entered a white boat operated by an unidentified man. Later accounts described the male as in his early twenties with a tanned complexion and dark, wavy hair. He was wearing a beach jacket at the time. A visitor was filming home movies at the state park on July 2 and offered his reels to investigators. The search was immediately narrowed to two boats once authorities viewed the footage. One was a fiberglass 16 – 18-foot long Tri-hull runabout with a three-hulled design, which was operated by a man fitting the description of the unidentified driver. Three females matching the missing women were seen aboard the smaller boat in the footage. The second boat identified was a 26 – 28-foot Trojan cabin cruiser with three men aboard along with three women. The cabin cruiser was seen at approximately 3:00 PM, three hours after the women entered the smaller vessel. Investigators believe that the women may have been dropped off on the beach by the driver of the smaller boat while he drove back to retrieve two male friends and the cabin cruiser. Blough, Miller and Bruhl were reportedly seen eating and walking along the sand dunes after this time. They were approached by another unidentified man, who accompanied them on to the cabin cruiser. Witnesses stated that the cabin cruiser was equipped with a radio / telephone antenna, but apparently did not have a name printed on its stern. This final sighting has never been confirmed, but is considered reliable by authorities.

Patricia Blough

Blough was a very skilled swimmer who could swim 20 – 30 miles; Miller was thought to possess similar abilities and Bruhl’s family stated that she had fair swimming skills. Drowning was considered a possibility in the disappearances, but unlikely. There have been many unconfirmed sightings of the three women throughout the years, but leads never surfaced. The boats they were reportedly seen boarding on July 2, 1966 have never been located, nor have the unidentified men spotted on the vessels been seen again. Debris from an apparent boat wreck were discovered near the Bailly Generating Station Of Northern Indiana Public Service Company on Lake Michigan shortly after the July 2 disappearances. There were no reports of any missing boats the day the women vanished and authorities do not know if the debris is connected to their cases.

The Indiana Dunes State Park where Blough, Miller and Bruhl were last seen is now called the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.