On January 2nd, 1947, a maid at the Milner Hotel in Oklahoma City made a shocking discovery while on her afternoon rounds. She walked in to find 24-year-old Mary “Lorene” Ellen Toon tied up and murdered.
Mary was a waitress at the coffee shop at the hotel and also lived there. This wasn’t unusual for the time. She worked the overnight shift and had gotten off at 7 am that morning. She and a male co-worker, who was later cleared, had coffee together and then rode the elevator up to their rooms. He got off the elevator first and was the last person to see her before her murder. Mary didn’t show up for her shift that night and the manager called several times but there was no answer. The next day the maid found her.
Her hands and feet had been tied behind her with her own stocking and she was lying on her stomach. Her silk panties had been stuffed in her mouth and a scarf, blue silk, been tied so tightly over her face that her nose was flattened. That same scarf was also what strangled her. There were no signs of a struggle. In fact, there were two magazines open on the foot of her bed, as if two people were reading. One was a detective magazine, which Mary never read, and the other a True Romance magazine. All her valuables were untouched, including cash. It is believed that Mary knew her killer and he may have had a key to her room. She was wearing a yellow blouse and slip when she was found. The slip was pulled over her head. Reports indicate she was not “criminally assualted’. The killer left behind his cigarettes and cigarette butts, the ashtray on the floor. Mary did not smoke.
Mary had moved to OKC from Guthrie the year before. She lived with her sister Winnie for a while until she moved into the Milner Hotel. Two gentleman suitors were questioned in her murder but were cleared. It is possible her murder is connected to the murder of Marie Shull. No one has ever been arrested.