Entries in Missing Woman (20)


Michigan Mom’s Blood Found at the Scene Where She Went Missing

ABC News(NORTON SHORES, Mich.) -- Police investigating the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, the Michigan woman abducted in late April during her shift at a gas station, said that the suspicious substance found at the scene where she vanished was her blood.

"The substance has been confirmed as blood," police said in a statement released Wednesday. "Based on a subsequent DNA analysis, the blood has been confirmed to be from Jessica Lynn Heeringa."

Police said that there was only a small amount of blood located at the Norton Shores, Mich., Exxon gas station where Heeringa was working at a late shift. The 25-year-old mother of one was within moments of closing the station when she vanished.

Heeringa's family has been notified that her blood was found at the scene, police said.

On May 2, authorities released a surveillance video showing a van believed connected to Heeringa's disappearance. Prior to the blood being identified as hers, there appeared to be no signs of struggle at the service station, and Heeringa's purse and keys were found inside the store. No money had been removed from the register, leading police to believe that the woman knew her abductor.

An employee at a store adjacent to the gas station where Heeringa worked said he noticed a man in a minivan talking to her, but didn't think much of the interaction until he learned she had been abducted.

"It just seemed to me that this was just another guy hitting on her, or whatever, because she was an attractive girl," Christian VanAntwerpen said of the April 26 incident. "It was just an afterthought I almost didn't think about mentioning. [But] I thought it was my responsibility to say something about it."

VanAntwerpen said he watched a man in a silver minivan approach Heeringa when she was at a gas pump preparing to close the station, where she had been working alone on the late shift.

"He was just like, 'Hey, what are you doing over here? Aren't you supposed to be inside?' Just kind of being real flirty, weird about it," he said. "It was just bizarre that he seemed to be actively looking for her, like he knew her and then had this attitude that he wanted to have a conversation with her and then conduct business, and that is what seemed really out of place to me."

Police have released a composite sketch of the minivan driver, a person of interest described as a white male, six feet tall with a medium to heavy build.

Investigators have interviewed and cleared several people of interest, police said, including Heeringa's fiance, with whom she has a 3-year-old son.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Missing Minn. Woman's Blood Found on Jacket in Boyfriend's Car

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.) -- The investigation into the disappearance of 24-year-old Mandy Matula of Eden Prairie, Minn., has yielded new evidence, further tying her ex-boyfriend, who has since died, to the case.

Police said DNA testing confirmed Matula's blood was on a jacket found in the car of her ex-boyfriend, David Roe. Authorities said they believe Roe, 24, of Victoria, Minn., was with Matula before she was reported missing.

In addition, ballistics testing on an unfired bullet found near an Eden Prairie church Saturday came from the same gun Roe used to shoot himself in the head, according to a news release. The ammunition was found near the Victory Lutheran Church May 4 by community volunteers helping with the investigation.

Matula's family members last saw her at 11 p.m. on May 1. They reported the 24-year-old missing around 8:30 a.m. the next day after she did not show up for work at the city's park maintenance division, ABC Minneapolis affiliate KSTP-TV reported.

Roe was identified by police as a person of interest in Matula's disappearance and had agreed to speak with investigators. But before he could be questioned, he shot himself in the head in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie City Center at approximately 1:30 p.m. May 2. He was then transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Roe died Saturday, two days after the self-inflicted gunshot wound, the county medical examiner said, but further details about Roe's death could not be confirmed.

Matula's father, Wayne Matula, told ABC News he saw his daughter get into Roe's car the night before she disappeared. The two often sat in his car in the family's driveway to talk, he said.

"I just periodically checked through the curtains," he said. "The car sat there for about 20, 25 minutes, and then I went to bed."

But he said that when he looked out his window at 2 a.m., Roe's car was not in the driveway. He checked his daughter's room, but she wasn't there. He noticed Matula had left her cell phone and purse on her bed.

"At 5:30 a.m., which is when I usually get up, I walked into her room, and there was still no sign of her having been there," he said. "I asked my wife, 'Did you talk to Mandy? She didn't come home last night.' She left everything here, this doesn't smell right."

He then called his daughter's office to see if she had gone to work. But when he was told she hadn't shown up that day, his wife, Lisa, called Roe on his cell phone to see if he knew where Matula was.

Roe said that he and Matula drove to a nearby park the night of May 1, and that the two had argued.

"[Roe] told my wife [Mandy] jumped out of his car, and said she was going to walk home," Wayne Matula said. "That didn't make any sense. It was a very cold night. For her not to come home didn't make any sense."

He said after his wife spoke to Roe, he went to the police to report his daughter was missing.

"He seemed like a good man," he said of Roe. "He was cordial to us as a family. But he was very possessive of her. He didn't want her talking with any other guys."

While the couple dated for about eight months, Wayne Matula said the two broke up around Labor Day 2012.

"He did love her, and he did everything he could to try and win her love back," he said. "My daughter was a very courteous person. She knew he was hurting, so she spent time with him. But he couldn't go along with that. He tried to win her back. He wanted her."

Although he said the community response had been "tremendous," but the pain was still strong.

"It's like she's vanished," he said. "We're lost right now. We're numb, because we have nothing to listen to and nothing to follow."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ex-Boyfriend Linked to Missing Minn. Woman's Disappearance Fatally Shoots Self

Facebook(EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.) -- A man police wanted to question about the disappearance of a Minnesota woman died before they could talk to him after he fatally shot himself in the head, according to the county medical examiner.

David Roe’s Death was confirmed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. Authorities have said they believe Roe, 24, of Victoria, Minn., was with Mandy Matula, of Eden Prairie, Minn., before she was reported missing Thursday morning, according to a news release.

Roe was identified by police as a person of interest in Matula's disappearance and had agreed to speak with investigators, according to the news release. But before he could be questioned, Roe shot himself in the head in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie City Center at approximately 1:30 p.m. Thursday. He was then transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Roe died on Saturday. The details of his death could not be confirmed. His condition before his death was unknown.

Matula's family last saw her on Wednesday at 11 p.m. They reported the 24-year-old missing around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday after she did not show up for work at the city's park maintenance division, ABC Minneapolis affiliate KSTP-TV reported.

According to the news release, police believe Roe was with Matula at a local park at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Matula's brother, Steven Matula, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his sister and Roe had been dating on and off for several months. They both graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2007.

KSTP reported that Roe left a note on his car's dashboard before he shot himself, but police would not disclose its contents.

Matula's mother, Lisa Matula, declined to speak to ABC News.

Meanwhile, a group of people casing the city for clues in Matula's disappearance today uncovered an unfired piece of ammunition near Victory Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., police spokeswoman Katie Bengston told ABC News.

Authorities cordoned off an area surrounding the church to further investigate, Bengston said.

"[Police] are going to take a look at it, and look at any markings [on the bullet] to determine what specific weapon it might have come from," said Bengston.

The community has rallied around Mandy Matula's family since her disappearance, organizing search efforts independent of law enforcement officials to assist in finding the 24-year-old.

The group that found the bullet was unaffiliated with the authorities' organized search, Bengston said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Arrest Made, Body Found in Search for California Woman

ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- Authorities searching for Brittany Killgore, a 22-year-old California woman who disappeared last Friday, arrested a woman on suspicion of murder and then located a dead body based upon leads stemming from the arrest, officials said.

The body, which has not been formally identified, was found near Lake Skinner in Riverside County, Calif., the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

Key to the case was an apparent suicide note at the arrest scene that detailed Killgore's fate and the location of her body, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego.

The suspect, Jessica Lynn Lopez, who police said was 27, was arrested at a Ramada Inn in San Diego Tuesday morning and then treated for an undisclosed medical condition at a local hospital, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

Authorities expected to charge her with murder after her release.  They would not disclose her relationship to Killgore.

The developments came after Killgore's estranged husband said he would return home from Afghanistan, where he is an active duty Marine, to help in the search for his wife.

Killgore, of Fallbrook, Calif., filed for a divorce from her husband, Cory Killgore, also 22, just days before she disappeared Friday evening.

Police said they believe 45-year-old Marine Louis Ray Perez may have been the last person to see Killgore alive.  Perez was arrested Sunday on an unrelated charge of possession of an AR-15 assault rifle and is being held in San Diego Central Jail on $500,000 bail.

"Mr. Perez was not cooperative or what we felt was fully forthcoming in his interview," said Lt. Larry Nesbit of the San Diego Sheriff's Office.

"He's being actively investigated for this murder," Nesbit told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Killgore told friends she was going to spend Friday evening in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.  However, authorities believe she never made it.  Her cell phone was recovered in the area by San Diego trolley security.

Police declined to say whom Killgore planned to spend the evening with or the nature of her relationship with Perez.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Joins Search for Missing Montana Teacher

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(SIDNEY, Mont.) -- Police and now the FBI are racing against the clock to find clues leading to a missing Montana teacher, but will scale back searches in her hometown which began when the 43-year-old mother of two vanished four days ago.

Sherry Arnold disappeared near her Sidney, Mont., home after she went for a jog Saturday morning.

Investigators interviewed a local resident Tuesday who believed he was the last to see Arnold when she jogged past his car at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

"I'm not 100 percent sure, but I have a strong feeling it might have been [Arnold]," local resident Lonnie Lyttle told ABC News.

Investigators searching for Arnold are becoming desperate for a break and say they don't have much to go on, but police told ABC News that they will reduce their search on Wednesday, calling off the sizeable search parties that have involved more than 1,000 members of the community in the past few days.

Some are now concerned that the teacher, who has worked in Sidney since 1993, could have been abducted and taken across the nearby Canadian border. Others, including Sidney Police Chief Frank Difonzo, believe she will be found.

"I'm going to be optimistic that we are going to find Sherry.  I want us to find Sherry," Difonzo said.

Since she disappeared on Saturday, so many volunteers showed up to help in the search that school buses were needed to move them.  Searchers scoured countless square miles of terrain, but they've found only one clue so far: one of her running shoes.

Hundreds of Arnold's friends and neighbors packed a family church to pray overnight, and husband Gary Arnold has said that while the turnout for his wife has brought tears to his eyes, it has felt like an eternity since she went missing Saturday.

"It's horrible," he said. "It's a nightmare, but it's what you go through to get somebody back you love, I suppose."

The couple have five children between them from previous marriages.  Gary Arnold has three and she has two.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Search Continues for Missing Montana Teacher; Running Shoe Found

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(SIDNEY, Mont.) -- Montana police are searching for a mother and math teacher who was last seen when she went out for an early morning jog on Saturday and did not return.

Police found a running shoe identified as Sherry Arnold's near a truck route that is reportedly part of her normal jogging route, but say they have been unable to determine what may have happened to her.

Arnold's stunned family is praying for her return.

"I'm hoping she's found.  I'm hoping that she's healthy.  I miss her so badly," Arnold's husband Gary Arnold told ABC News.  "We miss her so badly.  This community needs her back."

Sherry Arnold, 43, was last seen at about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday when she was leaving home for her usual early-morning jog.

When asked what he thinks may have happened to his wife, Arnold said in a choked voice, "I don't even want to go there at this point."

The couple has five children between them from previous marriages.  Gary Arnold has three and Sherry Arnold has two.

She has been a teacher in Sidney, Mont., since 1993, teaching at both the middle school and high school, where she is currently a math teacher.

The Sidney Police Department is working with about 40 soldiers from the Montana Army National Guard in the search for Arnold, according to ABC News' Great Falls, Mont., affiliate KFBB-TV.  Search and rescue teams have used canine units, private planes, a helicopter, and searchers on ATVs and on horseback.

"We'll keep looking and we'll maintain looking until we've exhausted all of our resources, which hasn't happened yet," Bob Burnison of the Sidney Police Department told KFBB.

Arnold has brown eyes and black hair.  She is 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a slender build, weighing about 140 pounds.  She was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt with white stripes on the sleeves, red nylon pants with black leggings and black gloves.

Authorities are asking that anyone with information regarding Arnold's whereabouts please call the Sidney Police Department at 406-433-2210.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Remains Found Near Shannan Gilbert's Purse

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Police searching for missing woman Shannan Gilbert may have found human remains in the area where they previously found the woman's purse, identification and shoes, sources told ABC News.

The discovery came amid heightened search activity in the Oak Beach area of New York's Long Island shore.

Gilbert was last seen in May 2010 apparently running from someone near Tuesday's search area. On the night of her disappearance, witnesses told police Gilbert did not appear to be acting rationally.

The search for Gilbert led to the discovery of10 sets of dismembered bodies that are believed to have been the victims of a serial killer.

Gilbert's death, however, is not believed to be linked to the other 10 deaths.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Search for Woman's Remains at Long Island Beach Yields Evidence

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police searchers recovered evidence on Tuesday potentially linked to Shannan Gilbert, a young woman who disappeared near the same stretch of the Long Island, N.Y., beach where an apparent serial killer dumped the bodies of his victims.

Police recovered the item or items during Tuesday's search of a swampy area near the ocean beach, according to sources.  The sources did not specify what evidence was found.

A third day of searches at the Gilgo Beach Association area begins on Wednesday.

Ten sets of dismembered human remains have been found in the area, believed to be the work of a single serial killer who dumped his victims' bodies there.

Gilbert's disappearance, however, is not believed to be linked to the serial killer, sources said.  In fact, there is a strong likelihood that Gilbert was not murdered at all, sources said, but was a victim of cold water and strong currents after possibly falling in to the water.

On the night of her disappearance, witnesses told police Gilbert did not appear to be acting rationally.  She was last seen in May 2010 apparently running from someone near Tuesday's search area.

Tuesday's search, which included putting divers in the water, was not based on any new tip, nor were any human remains found.

The renewed effort began Monday under FBI direction and using information gleaned from past FBI flyovers with sensitive photography equipment able to see down through ground cover.

Rabbit and seagull carcasses were found, but no human remains.

Based on the belief that Gilbert may have wandered into the swamp, the search will continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Skull Belongs to Mysteriously Missing Woman

File photo. (Siri Stafford/Digital Vision)(CLARK COUNTY, Ohio) -- A skull found by hunters in Ohio has been positively identified as a woman who mysteriously disappeared more than a year ago.

Faith Willison, 56, of Clark County, disappeared in June 28, 2010, after her car was seen traveling off a four-lane highway and crashing to a halt on the side of the road. A delivery truck driver saw the accident, turned around and came back to the scene, to call 911. But when the truck driver arrived back at the scene of the crash, there no was no driver or passenger in sight, according to Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly.

No blood was found inside the vehicle and the air bags were not deployed, Kelly said. Ohio highway patrol officers found a pair of flip flops in front of the vehicle, he said.

Police determined that Willison had left a note the day before telling her husband she had decided to return to a mental health facility to seek further treatment. She had prescription medications with her for her mental health problems, Kelly said.

In January 2011, hunters found a purse in a field close to the accident and contacted authorities when they recognized the name on the license inside, he said. All of Willison's identification cards and licenses were in the purse, in addition to prescription medication.

The skull, found Saturday, was positively identified by an Ohio dentist, and has been sent to a medical examiner for toxicology screening. There was no blunt trauma or bullet wounds detected on the skull, he said. The investigation is still open. No cause of death has been determined and they have not ruled it a suicide. They do not know whether Kelly got lost or disoriented following the accident, he said.

Kelly said police are still baffled by how the woman disappeared immediately following the crash.

"It was only 60, 90 seconds for the driver to turn around and come back," he said. "Was she hiding in the grass? We don't know."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive Photo: Last Known Picture of Robyn Gardner In Aruba

ABC News(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Missing Maryland woman Robyn Gardner was heavily intoxicated when she was last seen alive in an Aruban restaurant, less than two hours before her companion reported her missing after an alleged evening snorkeling trip.

The man with Gardner at the restaurant, Gary Giordano, is being held in an Aruban jail and is the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance, although he has not been charged with a crime. Aruban police have said they believe Gardner is dead.

Eyewitnesses said Gardner seemed woozy at the restaurant and barely ate her salad.

In addition, a restaurant worker told ABC News he thought it was odd to hear that the couple went snorkeling because Gardner "seemed so perfectly put together," referring to her clothing, hair and make-up.

ABC News has obtained the last known pictures of Gardner, 35, to be taken before her disappearance at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill in the Baby Beach area of the island on the Aug. 2 evening that she vanished.

Gardner's cousin, Kelly Reed, said the family recognized the dress Gardner was wearing in the photo. And Gardner's live-in boyfriend in Maryland, Richard Forester, told ABC News that it was Gardner in her favorite dress, "with 100 percent certainty."

Those who saw the couple at the restaurant tell ABC News they were clearly in a romantic relationship, with Gardner reportedly telling the server, at one point, she was waiting for her "husband" to order.

The server at the restaurant said Giordano "inexplicably" jumped up after the couple sat down and introduced himself, saying, "My name is Gary and this is Robyn and we're from Maryland." The server found Giordano's behavior odd and reported it to authorities.

The woman’s family issued a statement Tuesday asking people to not lose hope in finding Gardner.

"After three weeks we ask everyone to please keep praying for Robyn. And we thank all who are helping to find out what happened to Robyn and ask anyone with information to please, please contact authorities," the statement said.

The statement came out as Aruban authorities suspended the search for Gardner. A massive search had been resumed Monday with more than 60 officials, including FBI agents, Aruba riot cops and volunteers combing the rocky and treacherous area along Aruba's coastline area away from the beach where Gardner went missing, but found nothing.

The latest witness account and the photographs of Gardner and Giordano together emerged just one day after a witness came forward to dispute Giordano's account of what happened the day Gardner disappeared.

Three days after the search for Gardner began, Giordano got within feet of leaving the country before he was stopped at Aruba's airport, where he told U.S. Customs he had to change flights because of weather, and told officials that his travel companion was "taking another flight." When arrested, authorities say Giordano was drenched in sweat.

Federal agents have searched Giordano's Gaithersburg, Md. home, seizing cell phones and laptops. The home was known to have been equipped with surveillance cameras and signs warning visitors that video and audio of their visits would be recorded, according to neighbors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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