In 1946, 12-year-old Muriel Drinkwater walked home from school, singing as she cut through the woods. But Muriel never arrived, and her dead body was later discovered. What had happened to the little girl in the woods?


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Muriel Drinkwater, 12, was the youngest child of her parents John and Margaret, On 27 June 1946, she took the bus home from her grammar school in Swansea.

At around 2:30pm she was last seen making the mile long walk from the bus stop to her family’s farm. Happy, she was singing as she made her way towards Penllergaer woods.

The path she walked along snaked in and out of the woods. Her mother could see her from the family home on the path., and she saw young Muriel enter the woods, but she never re-emerged.

A 13-year-old boy, Hubert Hoyles, was the last person to see her alive as he passed her on his way home from the family’s farm where he’d gone to buy eggs. When Muriel didn’t return home, her mother went searching for her, along with dozens of others from the village.

The following day, her body was found in the woods by a police officer. Muriel had been raped, beaten in the head, and shot twice in the chest. The poor young girl had suffered a brutal and violent end.

Days later, police found the murder weapon – a gun from the First World War. But Muriel’s killer was still at large, and investigators had no idea who he was.

Police visited every home within 150 miles of the area, and interviewed 20,000 men. Yet, it failed to throw up any leads, and the investigation soon ran dry. Muriel’s case became known as The Little Red Riding Hood case – her murder was a mystery.

Then, in 2003, police reopened the case in the hope they’d find DNA evidence on the gun. But it was no use – too many people had handled the weapon since it had been discovered. Muriel’s clothes had been misplaced too.

In 2008, police found her clothes – a blue coat, underwear ,and school uniform. On the back of her coat was a no-longer visible semen stain. Scientists successfully retrieved a DNA profile, but investigators couldn’t match it to anyone on their system.

Hubert Hoyle was cleared by DNA evidence though. For many years locals had suspected he was the murderer,but he’d finally cleared his name.

To this day Muriel’s murder remains unsolved. Leaving many still wondering about the little girl who went into the woods and never came out…