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Missing in Missouri: Musician Dora Magrath *UPDATED*


University City, Missouri resident Dora Magrath, age 22, hasn’t been seen since Thursday, February 21. Dora’s mother, Linda Holtzman, told reporters in St. Louis that her daughter was headed to a coffee shop around 12:30 Thursday afternoon when she disappeared. Ms. Holtzman also said she and Dora had dinner plans for that night, and that they often spoke throughout the day.

Dora Magrath apparently had a history of depression. University City police say she may be despondent.

If that is true, Dora’s disappearance may not involve a crime, and technically, her vanishing might not be appropriate for a post in a “true crime” weblog.

Put it down, then, to a bias on the part of this blogger. I have a lot of trouble ignoring the plight of a possibly clinically-depressed musician.

Dora Magrath had her own musician’s profile on MySpace:


This is what she wrote on that page:

I do not want to be a product. I do not want to sell my pretty face to sell a record. I want to play my music, to be a constant student, to live my life the way I want. And if that means that I need to have a day job, and maybe a high-paying night job a couple nights a week, then so be it. I’m tired of seeing every musician turn themselves into a product, into something smooth and glossy that everyone will automatically “love.” I don’t want to smooth out the rough edges, I don’t want to make myself into something or some one that moves with the tide. I want to own one wave, own the bubbles and the rough edges and the swooshing of that one wave and know that I move with it, move like it, because I wish, not because I can gain the whole ocean from it.

Dora Magrath released a cd in January of this year. The following blurb from “Florian” at “GreenClothesMusic.com” was used to promote Dora’s cd on the Web:

Dora Magrath has a superpower. No, she can’t shoot deathrays from her eyes or lead North Korea. She has the ability of making everything disappear around you when she starts singing. This singer-songwriter sounds like a Regina Spektor fed with jazz records. Her amazing voice barely covered by a shy piano just gives me shivers.

Dora’s performances, as preserved on her profile, demonstrate a voice that is both threadbare and beautiful. One singer Dora lists on her music profile as an influence is Billie Holiday, and it shows. Like Billie, Dora’s voice always seems on the verge of fading into a world-weary sigh.

A video of Dora Magrath singing “Amazing Grace” is embedded at the beginning of this blog entry. She posted it on MySpace in 2007. It’s just a young woman with a ukulele, of all things, singing a hymn, but it would be eerie and compelling even if Dora wasn’t among the missing.

But Dora Magrath vanished last Thursday, and watching her sing on a video she made on a lark a year ago is unbearably haunting.

Dora, a 5’6″, 120 lb brunette, was last seen wearing an aqua-colored sweater, brown shoes, and a black coat. She was said to be driving a 2007 Chrysler Sebring. The vehicle is also missing.

UPDATE, 2/25/08

MyFox St. Louis updates the story of Dora’s disappearance here. An interesting quote from the article:

“She’s never been gone overnight without telling where she is,” said Linda Holtzman, Magrath’s mom. “She’s been gone since Thursday morning. We want everybody to be looking for her, the car she was in … we just want her to come home. “

“It was like she was planning on doing something,” said Dora’s father, Mike Magrath. “She had plans. She talked to people and then she was gone.”

Her parents said Dora had also battled depression as recently as three years ago. They did not think that would have been a factor in her disappearance…

Dora could have been in an accident. A point was made in the comments below — when a vehicle and its supposed occupant both disappear, it may be time to check out any nearby body of water deep enough to hold that vehicle. Remote roadways bounded by wooded dropoffs have more than once yielded wrecked vehicles missed by passers-by.

There still isn’t a compelling reason to assume Dora Magrath met with foul play. However, by acknowledging Dora’s problems with depression in the past but indicating that they didn’t think that could be a factor now, Dora’s family is saying they’re worried that something unpredictable, unexpected has happened.

UPDATE 2, 2:05 PM

Dora Magrath was found dead near the car she was driving on Sunday night. STLToday.com didn’t report the cause of her death, but did indicate that foul play was not suspected.

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