For more than five decades her brother Colin Frost, 57, and sister, Anne Cleave, 69, were haunted by the knowledge their sister’s killer had never been caught.
But after West Yorkshire Police were persuaded to launch a cold case review last year, new information came to light and yesterday it was announced that a 78-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The man being questioned is understood to be Peter Pickering, who was detained in the Newbury area, but was born in Manchester and has links to Yorkshire.
The discovery of Elsie’s body in 1965 caused widespread shock and revulsion across the country and led to a massive police investigation.
More than 12,000 men were interviewed and eventually a 33-year-old local man, Ian Bernard Spencer, was named by a coroner as the teenager’s killer.
However when the case came to criminal court, it was immediately thrown out due to a lack of evidence and nobody else was ever charged in connection with the killing.
Her parents, railway worker Arthur and his wife, Edith, went to their graves without ever seeing justice and last year with the 50thanniversary of her death approaching, Elsie’s brother and sister made one last bid to get answers to the unsolved murder.
When you have got something you are looking for, and that's justice, then you have to keep pushing for it. We want justice for Elsie.Anne Cleave
Speaking at the time Mr Frost said they might have to accept that the person responsible was no longer alive, but added “we didn’t want to die thinking we had not done anything”.
He explained: “The ultimate, of course, is getting justice for Elsie in whatever shape or form it may be.”
After the case became the subject of a popular Radio 4 programme, West Yorkshire Police agreed to look again at the case files.
Responding to news of the arrest last night, Mrs Cleave, said the development represented a “step in the right direction”.
She said: “It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. We were aware that there had been mistakes in the early days but the police have worked really hard on our behalf to get this far in the past year.
"You are never quite aware what you will feel like when these announcements are made. We have both felt queasy and a bit stressed when we found out about the arrest.
“We don't know how things are going to develop. When you have got something you are looking for, and that's justice, then you have to keep pushing for it. We want justice for Elsie.”
Mr Frost added: “As a family we are very pleased. All we wanted was to be taken seriously…All we wanted was for the investigation to be reopened and that's what we've achieved.”
All we wanted was to be taken seriously…All we wanted was for the investigation to be reopened and that's what we've achieved.Colin Frost
Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen from West Yorkshire Police said: “A reinvestigation into Elsie's murder was launched in 2015 by West Yorkshire Police, backed by a publicity campaign on the 50th anniversary of her death.
“Since then we have received significant numbers of calls and emails from members of the public offering new information, and have generated new lines of inquiry which officers have been progressing ever since.
“Following those inquiries we have now arrested a 78-year-old man in the Berkshire area and will be interviewing him under caution to progress our investigation.”