Missing Since: June 6, 1979 from San Pablo, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: August 24, 1966
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 4'11, 65 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black hair, brown eyes. Cossey is of Native American descent. Some agencies may spell her middle name "Cossette."
Clothing Description: A blue tank top, cutoff Levi's jeans and thong sandals.
Details of Disappearance
Cossey was last seen in San Pablo, California on June 6, 1979. She walked to Pirelli's Liquor Store to purchase a bag of sugar for her mother during the day. Cossey was last seen inside the Montalvin Shopping Center. She never returned to her family's residence and has not been heard from again.
Some agencies may list June 10, 1979 as the date of Cossey's disappearance. Her age is occasionally listed as 11 years old.
Authorities announced that Timothy Bindner had a possible connection to Cossey's case, as well as the disappearances of Michaela Garecht, Ilene Misheloff, Amber Swartz-Garcia and Amanda Campbell. A photo of Bindner is posted below this case summary. He maintains his innocence and successfully sued Campbell's hometown of Fairfield, California in 1997 for defamation of character. Bindner, a married sewage treatment plant worker, came to authorities' attention after he began sending birthday greetings to young girls in the East Bay area. One child's parents contacted authorities and handed over a letter Bindner had written to their daughter. The note was printed backwards and could only be deciphered by holding it up to a mirror. Bindner claimed he sent the cards as a kind gesture because the girls were "lonely."
Bindner also visited the Oakmont Cemetery gravesite of Angela Bugay, a five-year-old girl girl who was abducted and murdered in Antioch, California in 1983. A photograph of Bugay is posted below this case summary. Bindner was never considered a suspect in her murder and another man has since been arrested in that case.
Bindner approached many of the mothers of missing girls from the East Bay area offering his assistance, including Amber and Garecht's families. He introduced himself to Kim three days after Amber vanished. Investigators asked her to maintain a quasi-friendship with Bindner in hope of learning if he was connected to any of the girls' cases. She and authorities agreed that Bindner appeared to playing mind games with victims' loved ones and law enforcement. Many people theorize that he enjoyed taunting families into thinking that he may have been involved in the presumed abductions. He was once arrested for annoying two little girls whom he was trying to lure into his van, but the charges were later dropped. Bindner often drove around in a light blue Dodge van with a license plate that said "Lov You." Inside the van was wallpapered with many pictures of children. A photograph of the van is posted below this case summary.
Bindner refers to himself as a "good Samaritan." He asked Linda Golston, a reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, to interview him at Oakmont Cemetery at 4:30 a.m. He played his favorite song on her car stereo, "Jesus, Here's Another Child To Hold." Bindner told Goldston that he thought of the missing girls as "his children." She asked him how he believed the abductions occurred and he said one child was submissive, but another fought back against her assailant. Bindner added that he was "guessing" about the girls' reactions.
Bindner wrote a letter to a law enforcement agency in the late 1980s, stating that he believed the next girl who would be abducted from the area would be nine years old. Garecht disappeared shortly thereafter; she was nine at the time of her abduction. Bindner also sent a holiday card to a profiler for the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) in 1990. The card depicted an image of a young girl holding up four fingers. Campbell vanished in 1991 at the age of four. Search dogs traced Campbell and Swartz-Garcia's scent to Bugay's grave. Authorities never had enough evidence to prove Bindner was connected to their cases, although he was known for visiting the cemetery on occasion.
Bindner was given a heroism award by the California State Patrol after assisting victims in the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. He has never been charged in any of the cases. Cossey's disappearance remains unsolved.