In 1948, Virginia Carpenter was a 21-year-old college student from Texarkana, Texas, known among friends and family as a polite and happy-go-lucky young woman.
She first attended the University of Arkansas in pursuit of a journalism degree. But, she later transferred to Texas State College for Women (TSCW)– now known as Texas Women’s University– after changing paths and deciding to pursue a career in the sciences.
Virginia’s end goal was to become a laboratory technician. So, in the summer of 1948, she planned to begin her summer class term.
The 21-year-old left for TSCW on June 1, 1948– boarding a train to the Denton campus. Then, upon arrival, she flagged down a taxi cab and got a ride to Brackenridge Hall– where she had received student housing.
The cab was driven by a man named Edgar Ray “Jack” Zachary, who recalled arriving with Virginia at the dorm hall at approximately 9:00 p.m. At that point, she handed Edgar a dollar and a ticket for her trunk– asking if he could get it from the train for her the following day.
Then, after Virginia exited the vehicle, Edgar detailed how she was greeted by two men.
The men had been standing beside a yellow or cream-colored convertible– which was possibly a Pontiac– parked outside of the dorm and reportedly began calling the 21-year-old’s name. One of the men was described as “chunky”; meanwhile, the other was tall.
According to Edgar, it appeared as though Virginia knew the two men. She even reportedly called out to them, “Well, what y’all doing over here?”
Aside from the trunk that Virginia paid Edgar to fetch the following day, she also had some luggage with her. So, the 21-year-old told the driver that the men would help her carry her belongings.