Published: Lewiston Tribune
STILL A MYSTERY
The decade of the '80s leaves a number of lingering mysteries.
The murders of three young women, one a University of Idaho student and two stepsisters from Lewiston, remain unsolved. Six people have disappeared between 1979 and 1989, three from Grangeville and one each from Moscow, Lewiston and Asotin.
Two disappearances in 1979 have never been explained. Sometime after 10 p.m. on April 28, 1979, 12-year-old Christina White of Asotin disappeared from the Asotin County Fairgrounds. Extensive work by police and psychics have not located her.
Just three months later, Gayla Schaper, 27, vanished after going to feed her horses in a field east of Moscow on the evening of June 29, 1979. Again, searches and investigations were fruitless.
Two years later, on June 26, 1981, UI student Kristin David, 22, disappeared while riding her 10-speed bicycle between Moscow and Lewiston on U.S. Highway 95. Her dismembered body was found July 4 along the banks of the Snake River below the Red Wolf Crossing at Clarkston.
Law enforcement officers from four counties in two states and the FBI formed a task force to investigate the grisly murder, but the case has never been solved.
Four people disappeared in a two-week period, beginning Aug. 31, 1982.
Young Ricky Barnett disappeared Aug. 31 from Hillcrest Farms seven miles north of Grangeville, where he was visiting his grandparents. Hundreds of volunteers searched for days for the 2-year-old boy, but he has never been found.
Sgt. Herbert J. Lindsey of the Idaho County Sheriff's Department said the case is still open. Ricky's picture still appears on posters circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. ''We get leads all the time,'' Lindsey said. ''We check all of them out.''
He said he checked out a possible sighting in Montana just last week. ''But the subject was a year older,'' he said. Ricky Barnett would be 10 this year.
''There's every possibility that he's not alive,'' Lindsey said. ''But we have to treat it as though he is alive.''
Three Lewiston residents vanished without a whisper 12 days after Ricky's disappearance. Steven R. Pearsall, 35, and stepsisters Kristina Nelson, 21, and Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller, 18, all disappeared Sept. 12, 1982, from the Normal Hill area of Lewiston.
The bodies of the two young women were found almost two years later, on March 19, 1984, at the bottom of a steep embankment on State Highway 3 north of Kendrick. Pearsall has never been found.
A couple of months after the bodies of Nelson and Miller were found, Lewiston police announced they had a strong suspect in the killings. But no arrests were made.
The same suspect was being looked at in connection with the disappearance of Christina White, police said earlier this year. The person is still a suspect in both cases, and still resides in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, police said last week.
The latest unsolved puzzle is the disappearance of Marie L. Rogers, 50, and her ex-stepson, Samuel L. Webb, 16, of Grangeville.
Rogers and Webb were last seen the evening of Nov. 1 at the Cash and Carry grocery store at Grangeville. After the pair's pictures were run in the Lewiston Tribune, police also received reports that Rogers and Webb were seen at a restaurant at Craigmont and a store at Moscow.
Family members say they have their suspicions about what happened to Rogers and Webb, and police admit they considered foul play. But the initial suspect in the case, Rogers' ex-husband Pat Webb, voluntarily submitted to and passed a polygraph test.
So the whereabouts of Marie Rogers and Sam Webb remains the last mystery of the decade. Diane Pettit