LAGRANGE COUNTY — Floyd and Mary are two of the surviving children of LaGrange County farmer, Ralph Stutzman, who disappeared Aug. 17, 1952.
Stutzman, at the time of his disappearance, was 47 years old, a husband, a father to 12 surviving children and one deceased and a farmer. Due to major genealogy advancements and databases, like Ancestry.com, the siblings got closure on the 70-year-old cold case.
Floyd and Mary attended a public announcement by the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office Friday, June 16. The pair was accompanied to the announcement by 20 family members and friends. In April of 2022, genealogist Randy Davis was contacted by a relative who was trying to trace down her parents. She had used DNA online databases and found positive results leading back to the Stutzmans in LaGrange and the Schrocks in Florida.
On Sept. 27, 2022, Davis contacted the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office claiming to have solved the cold missing persons case. The relative, “Crystal,” believed she came from the lineage of Ralph Stutzman, but her DNA showed her grandfather was in fact the father of woman named Ruth in Ocala, Fla., who was known as Delbert Schrock, because the DNA matched. The sheriff’s department requested Mary to submit her DNA.
It was determined at some point, Stutzman had moved to Florida and was using the new name of Delbert Schrock. While there, he had fathered another family, having six more children and eventually passing in 1968 in Florida. The second family was none the wiser that their father and husband was a missing person until they were contacted by the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office.
Mary is 92 and struggling with memory issues, her son, Ben Boyd is not sure if his mother will fully understand what news has been broken but the rest of the family does. Boyd remembers the rumors that were circulating about his missing grandfather, but he was 5 years old so he didn’t completely grasp what was happening.
The family still doesn’t have any clue why Stutzman fled to Florida, but the two families are already in talk of arranging a family reunion.