Police seek tips in 1984 missing person case
Without a trace
By Kim Morava
Detectives say they hope a new age-progression picture of a Shawnee teenager who went missing from Shawnee Bowl in 1984 may provide some fresh leads to help solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance. Sandy Pathresa Rea was last seen leaving the bowling alley on Sept. 19, 1984. The 17-year-old disappeared without a trace.
Today, Rea is, or would be, 40 years old.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently released a new age-progression photo of what Rea could look like today. This is the third time such a picture has been drawn in her case.
She reportedly walked to a convenience store at Highland and Bryan streets on the evening of Sept. 19, 1984. Friends noticed her walking and picked her up before going to the Shawnee bowling alley. There, Sandy asked her cousin for a ride to a party. He couldn't take her, so she made a phone call before leaving.
Sandy Rea never came home.
In the last 22 years, hundreds of people have been interviewed as part of the missing person case. Through the years, searches for Rea have included police digging up a basement under a Shawnee home. Detectives have even driven to Houston and as far away as Cincinnati to interview potential witnesses. Rea's mother, Carol Wells, who now lives in Oklahoma City, spent years conducting her own searches.
In the years since the initial investigation, witness statements indicate Rea was seen at parties after leaving the bowling alley that night, including a party at Shawnee Twin Lakes and another at a Shawnee motel. But no one seems to know what happened to her.
Shawnee Police Detective Greg Gibson took over the investigation in 1994. The case was cold and Gibson has had trouble with leads ever since. But even today, he's dedicated to solving the case; Rea's picture still hangs on his office wall.
There's hasn't been any new developments since the FBI called in 2005 with a possible discovery of her body. Police sent Rea's DNA sample from a sibling to the FBI to see if it matched a woman's body found in Arizona, but it didn't.
Gibson, now serving as the evidence officer, hopes police receive new leads to solve this mystery. It's been a case close to his heart.
"Before my time is up, I'd love to be able to solve this for the family," he said Wednesday while looking over the case file.
Rea's sister, Brandy Davis, was 9 years old when her sister vanished.
"The worst part of it all is how memories have faded," she said. "Somebody took her away from us."
And while Davis has a "sinking feeling" that her sister is no longer alive, she still holds on to hope, wondering if Rea could have hit her head, suffered amnesia and is now living happily somewhere raising her own children.
"You can't let go of hope," she said.
Davis said there's so much to share with her sister. Their father passed away a couple of years ago and Rea now has several nieces and nephews, including Davis' 6-year-old daughter who sees pictures of her "Aunt Sandy," but doesn't understand why she's missing.
"I'd love to know she's alive I'd love for her to meet my daughter," Davis said.
But if she isn't alive, Gibson said it would be nice for police and Rea's family to know where she is and for her to have a proper place of burial. He still thinks there's someone out there with information that can bring that closure.
"At some point, somebody's conscience will get them," Gibson said. "There's still somebody out there that ran with this group who knows something."
If anyone has information that can help police, Davis said she hopes they come forward. Many of the teens who Rea knew and partied with in 1984 probably have children of their own, she said, and those children could now be the same age Rea was at the time of her disappearance.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Gibson at 878-1639 or 273-0989.
"If we only get one call, it's one call we didn't have before," he said.
Editor's Note: A previous feature story printed on this unsolved case appeared in the News-Star on July 4, 2002. To read that complete archived story, go to: http://news-star.com/stories/070402/New_38.shtml
For more information on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, go to www.missingkids.com
Kim Morava may be reached at 214-3962 or email@example.com.