Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Sometime between 20.00-21.00 on the night of July 28, 1973, Frank Oliva and his wife Mary left their house in their 1958 beige Chevrolet and drove away. A Wilber policeman said he saw the Olivas’ Chevrolet bearing the license plate 22F-910 driving through Legion Park on the south side of Wilber late that evening. They were never seen again.
They were reported missing on August 3, 1973, by their son. Neighbors had noticed the Olivas weren’t home by Monday, July 30, but didn’t notify family members until later that week when they believed something was wrong.
Mary’s purse, which she always carried, was still in the house, as was several bottles of her medicine. She had had dental surgery just days before and needed the pills. No luggage or clothing seemed to be missing. The door to the house was closed, but unlocked, and windows had been left open. Daily newspapers had stacked up on the couples’ doorstep and a milk delivery had been left there as well.
A National Guard helicopter joined the search Aug. 10, 1973, looking for the couples’ car. Two airplanes were also used in the search. Foul play was never suspected in the case by law enforcement.
The couple was declared legally dead seven years after they disappeared, though their bodies were never found.
The Olivas had been married 52 years at the time they disappeared. Mary Oliva was a Wilber native, but her husband had immigrated from Czechoslovakia at the age of 17. Frank was a retired farmer and carpenter, who had built the house the couple lived in in Wilber. Along with their two children, the Olivas left behind four grandchildren.
Family members are convinced their grandparents chose their own end in a double suicide. While no one knows the reason for sure, the grandchildren all believe it was because Frank Sr. saw his wife failing and knew he wouldn’t be able to keep taking care of her at home.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Saline County Sheriff's Office
The Seward Independent