ID - Pocatello Abductions, 1978-1983

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by kemo, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    Between 1978 and 1982 4 girls aged 12 to 14 were abducted and murdered in the town of Pocotello Id. Two of them, Patricia Campbell, 15, and Tina Anderson, 12, disappeared together from a Pioneer day festival in Alameda Park in Pocatello, july 1978 . Their remains were found in an isolated garge in Oneida County 60 miles away. near their bodies were the remains of another, yet unknown girl, aged 15 to 20. To date, these cases have remained unsolved but Sheriff Jeff Semrad of Oneida County , where the three bodies were found, has made progress and believes the the three cases linked to his county will be solved.

    The cases of the Four Abducted Girls were not properly investigated at the time of their disappearances because they were dismissed as runaways. By the time their bodies were discovered, the case was cold.

    Another complication was the belief that the unknown girl was Afro-American. There were no know missing girls among the miniscule Afro-American Communities in Idaho or Utah. It now turns out that the remains were actually of a Caucasian (or possibly mixed race) girl and years have been lost in the effort to identify her.

    The families of the girls are disappointed that no arrests have been made. The Sheriff has indicated that he believes he knows who the perp is but he will not disclose the identity or what evidence he has. Apparently the Idaho dept of Prisons has been involved in the case and it is likely that the suspect is incarcerated so their in no hurry to obtain an inditement.

    Apparently there is no evidence that this case is linked to the other unsolved abductions: Cindy Bringhurst and Linda Smith (both 14). These two cases are very likely connected to each other but may not be connected to the other three.

    http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/127339528.html
     
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  3. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    Thanks for this! This is gonna be one of my pet cases!
     
  4. flourish

    flourish You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're on

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    Thanks for the thread! I grew up there, and remember hiking up where Cindy Bringhurst was found. Chilling, scary stuff!
     
  5. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    Rrefresh my memory as to who Cindy Bringhurst was
     
  6. flourish

    flourish You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're on

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    Sorry, I misread and thought this thread was for all abductions in Pocatello in that time period. Anyway, Cindy Bringhurst was a 14-year old girl who was abducted from a babysitting job in Pocatello in...I believe 1983.
     
  7. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    In a 5 year period (1978-1983) 5 young girls were abducted/murdered in the Pocatello Id area. Two (Campbell 15 and Anderson 12) were together when they were abducted in July 1978. Their remains were found in an isolated gorge near the body of a third, yet unknown young girl. Bringhurst and Smith (both 14) were abducted from residences under similar circumstances respectively in 1981 and 1983. Their bodies were found in isolated but separate areas.


    Looking back, these five cases have been a "black eye" on Pocatello Law Enforcement because all of them were pretty much dismissed as "runaways" until the bodies were found. Linda Smith's 9 year old brother witnessed the abduction. A Sherriff in the county where the 3 remains were found thinks he has solved that case but no names have been given. He has hinted that they may not be related to Smith and Bringhurst. The 5th, unknown victim was probably a runaway or transient who was not from the area as there are no missing girls that fit the basic description from Idaho in that period.


    I have been unable to find any original news stories about the cases. There are quite a few secondary internet postings that are usually (actually AAL) very critical of the handling of the cases. There are some newspaper accounts of Sherriff Semrad's efforts during the last 5 years but little information on the original investigations.

    My own opinion is that the Perp(s) was/were local. All bodies were found in isolated areas away from major highways. They were all very young girlsÂ’ regular girls with no lifestyle issues. Even then, these were horrific, unusual crimes. This was a metro area with less than 70,000 people. Chances are either one or two killers of young girls lived and operated in the Pocatello area.


    If any one of these girls went missing today, it would be a national news story but things were different then. The FBI didn't get involves so much, only crimes in major media markets got national attention and local media would often "work" with local LE to tone down the coverage of crimes that might not be solved. Parents of missing children were not able to "manage" the coverage the way they can today.
     
  8. flourish

    flourish You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're on

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    Hi Kemo:)
    Okay, let me see if I have this straight now:

    • The two girls who disappeared from the Pioneer Day event at Alameda Park (eta: now called Fairview Park) in 1978 were Campbell and Anderson. They were found near a gorge which is not in the immediate Pocatello area (correct?) Nearby their remains, the remains of an unidentified girl were found, id'd as an african-american female but later the african-american part was rescinded or rethought? It's thought she may or may not be related to the other bodies and may or may not have even been from the area, correct?
    • (Connecting this to my life, this would have happened one year before my family moved there, and would be the story my cousin, who already lived there, used to scare me with whenever we played in that park)
    • Then in 1981, (I know it says 1983 above, but I'm pretty sure that's backwards), Smith is kidnapped from her home, with her younger brother as a witness. Was her body ever found or is she still technically "missing?"
    • Then in 1983, we have Cindy Bringhurst, a name that brought chills to my skin every time I heard it as a little kid. She was babysitting and disappeared from there. Her body was found in the foothill areas of the nearby mountains, IIRC, b/c my father used to take me and my friends hiking and pointed out where she had been found. I don't know if it was the exact spot, or just the general area, but my father's job may have entitled him to some specific information on the place she was found.
    • These are all unsolved, correct?
    • And we know Ted Bundy didn't do it, right? b/c he was out of that area long before then after the 1975 killing of Lynette Culver.
    I hope I'm not confusing anyone. I'm just trying to reconcile hazy childhood recollections of snippets of conversations and what-not with the actual facts.
    :)
     
  9. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    Flourish,

    You got it. Actually Linda Smith's body was found in a vacant lot very close ot town off Hospital Way. Cindy's body was found in the West Branch of Mink Creek; about 75 miles from town. This is a pretty remote spot.

    Overall, a stranger passing throuigh doesn't just pick two homes at random and abduct 14 year old girls. He knew that Linda lived where she did and he knew where Cindy was babysitting. This is a guy with ties to the families involved. Since you grew up there, did you hear any rumors of who did it?
     
  10. flourish

    flourish You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're on

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    Wow, Hospital Way is close to town...Yeah, I've been up in that Mink Creek area...like 20 years ago or so...I did some Google mapping to refresh my memory.

    The only rumor I've heard of was a semi-recent internet rumor that there was some suspicion of a boyfriend or wanna-be boyfriend of Cindy Bringhurst's mom that was maybe involved? That super vague information is the least vague explanation I've ever heard of, so you can see I don't know much:) As a kid, we always thought it was some crazy pervert...because at that time and place, pretty much everything was blamed on either crazy perverts (and the term pervert was used loosely to describe anyone non-mainstream), or dang teenagers...so...??

    I actually don't remember hearing about Linda until recently...since I've moved away, actually.
     
  11. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    In some respects, the REAL story of the "Pocatello 5" (for want of a better handle) is not the five abduction/murders but the failure of Law Enforcement. What little Web information available seems to suggest that the 4 girls who vanished from Pocatello were all dismissed as runaways until their bodies were found? There is also suggestion that when the 5th victim, thought to be African-American, was basically ignored.

    Particularly galling are the allegations that Linda's 9 year old brother was "not taken seriously" by the police when he said he saw her being carried away by a man and later, after Linda's discarded clothes were found, that it was dismissed as just a "trick" runaways used. I do not know that either of these allegations is true but people with ties to the victims are making these allegations now.

    When high profile cases have gone unsolved, it is not all that unusual for people to claim police incompetence or even claim that a "cover-up" is involved. In this case, the charges seem a little more credible than others but I have access to very little information so I can't really judge. What can easily happen is that a small town Police Chief, when confronted by a situation that could be interpreted as either: 1)a major Crime that would eat up their overtime budget and cause a lot of bad publicity for the town OR 2)a routine teenage runaway, would make the expedient decision.

    Additionally, people today don't realize how public attitude towards the abduction and possible murder of young people has changed. Back then, there was certain contempt for young people, particularly young people who adopted any kind of "non-traditional" dress or identity. Drugs and "free sex" (whatever that meant) and the style of hair and dress that was associated with them would cause kids to be shunned by their family and harassed by law enforcement. People recall the outrage and concern about Natalie Holloway. I absolutely guarantee that had that happened 30 or 40 years ago and it received any kind of publicity (which it wouldn't have) the consensus among "proper upstanding Americans" would have been: "underage drinking, dressed like a slut, carrying on in a bar like that, whatdaya expect; serves her right".

    From what I have read (but cannot verify as accurate), on the day they disappeared, a number of people claimed to have seen Campbell and Anderson with a young man who fit a specific description yet that description was not publicized, no composite was drawn and no real attempt was ever made to identify this young man: after all, it was just a couple of runaways.

    Realistically, how many people knew where Cindy Bringhurst was babysitting that night? Standard operating procedure would be to interview her friends, family and those of the parents who hired her. This rather insipid piece of information would have been passed on to very few people and they could have easily been identified. Again, why bother if it was just a runaway.

    Probably everyone involved in the "Pocatello 5" cases are either retired or dead but there is still a sense of loyalty and that old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie. I believe that the best way to prevent "errors" of the past from being repeated is to demonstrate sufficient outrage in the present. If they are just buried and forgotten, they are sure to happen again.
     
  12. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    Kemo, can you detail the Cindy Bringhurst case?
    Also, the discarded clothes-2 of the girls were found stark naked?
     
  13. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    I’ve been out of the country for a few weeks so I haven't worked on this for a while. I am disappointed no one has contributed to the thread but I know very little information is available.

    The Cindy Bringhurst case seems to have the most information out there on the Net. From the various sources I have read, I have "gleamed" the following information. (I cannot verify the accuracy of all of this)

    Cindy was babysitting for a young single mother who spent the evening at a local watering hole where she was well known. She called at 11 PM and everything was fine. Cindy had babysat for her frequently in the past. It is possible that any guy who had recently "dated" the mother would infer by her presence in that bar that Cindy was at her apartment babysitting. I read one rumor that the mother's keys were stolen that night and the probable thief was known by LE. If this was true, it's a bombshell, but these sorts of rumors always come up. Still, you have to wonder, did anyone who saw the mother at the bar that night know that Cindy was her "regular" babysitter?

    Cindy's mother was rumored to have had a number of men pass through her life. One ex-boyfriend (or perhaps rejected suitor) was apparently the subject of a certain amount of speculation.

    A sheriff's Dept who lived directly below the apartment reported that he was frequently bothered by noise from that apartment but that night he heard nothing. He speculated that Cindy let her abductor in and left without a struggle. I read a few posts from friends who knew Cindy from school but none addressed the critical question: did she have the sort of boyfriends who would visit her later a night when she was babysitting?

    Cindy's body was found wearing the same cloths she wore that night. This is solid evidence that she was abducted by her killer (as opposed to running away and meeting her fate at a later time).

    The most tantalizing evidence is the connection to the Linda Smith murder. Most likely, the perps are the same. Her brother witnessed the abduction and did not recognize him so he wasn't a friend, relative or close neighbor. Was there anyone with "ties" to Cindy that fit the brother's description of the abductor?

    You can't read up on a case like this without feeling a little outrage. This should have been solved (and still might be) but small law enforcement agencies in cash strapped communities aren't up to the task. State (or federal) LE agencies need to move in.
     
  14. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    Whatever happened to the woman Cindy babysat for-was she interviewed by the cops?
     
  15. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    I have absolutly no information. All the information I have comes from either The Idaho State Journal (the Pocatello paper) from 2007 and later, or fairly recent postings in "cold Case" type web sites. I was hoping that someone from the Pocatello area might have additional information.
     
  16. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    I really think someone wants this case swept under a rug.
     
  17. unsure

    unsure New Member

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    I also would like a little more information on this case. I lived in Pocatello at the time Cindy Bringhurst was killed but my memory of the case differs from what I've read. I was thinking that the news sources at the time said that she was shot, rather than strangled. I was also given (apparently incorrect) information that the as yet unidentified girl was abducted by Ted Bundy--he supposedly said in an interview just a day or so prior to his execution that he couldn't remember the name of the town but that his description matched the evidence. So I was told that particular crime had been solved. Obviously not. Do the dates even remotely coincide? If he was picked up in Colorado based on gas receipts, did anyone look for a link between Co. and Id., not just Utah and Idaho? Obviously, I'm missing a lot of information on both of these cases. I wish I knew more. For example, the police questioned my family because we lived nearby but as far as I know, their investigation focused on the boyfriends of Cindy's mother and the woman she babysat for regularly. Was there ever any indication that her killer might have been someone she knew from a local shop? Again, the memory is fuzzy but as I recall it, it was a sex crime. I haven't seen anything recently that says that. Was the two year old a boy or girl? Was there any indication that the man played on her sympathies to lure her out of the apartment? Has any information ever been released as to what she was strangled with? How do you know what might be important if you have so little information? Also, how do you know if you might have information that could be useful, not just lead people on another wild goose chase?
     
  18. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    Ted Bundy confessed to abducting and murdering Lynette Culver (12) from Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho on May 6th 1975. He wouldn't (or couldn't) disclose the location of the body. Ted was taken off the streets for good Feb 15th, 1978, 5 months before the first of the Pocatello abductions we have been discussing. I have no information to the effect that Culver was excluded as the possible identity of the mystery girl (found near Campbell and Anderson), but I would hope that angle was checked out.

    There appears to be a serious suspect in the Campbell/Anderson case but no charges have been filed. The family of Linda Smith believes they know who did it. It is unclear if Law Enforcement agrees.

    The following article is a good overview of the cases.

    http://thejhub.com/?p=123154
     
  19. doublestop

    doublestop Member

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    From the May 16, 2007, Idaho State Journal, which could explain the renewed interest in the cases a few years ago. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have resulted in much:

    "A Gate City businessman has offered a $10,000 reward for new information about five unsolved local murders. The benefactor, who asked to remain anonymous, specified his reward — to be administered by the Pocatello Police Department — applies to the Linda Smith, Cindy Bringhurst , Patricia Campbell, Tina Anderson and Nori Jones cases. He told police he could think of no better way to give back to the community that has given so much to him."
     
  20. unsure

    unsure New Member

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    Kemo,

    I do remember hearing a couple of rumors about the case. Like many people, my family was scared after Cindy died and so we moved away after that. So I don't know many of the rumors. One was that it was a teacher. Another was a disgruntled employee of a local business (who may not have known her) was fired later for psychological problems. He was a pedophile/rapist but there was never enough evidence to convict him for those crimes. There were certain similarities between his methods of acquiring victims and those of Ted Bundy. He is known to have frequented a sex shop in the same general area as the bar where Cindy's employer is rumored to have had her keys stolen. It would be interesting to find out if Cindy, her family or her employer ever had any connection with the business where the pedophile worked. Of course, many rapists never take the step to murder. I agree with that deputy that whoever did this needs to suffer for eternity.
     
  21. kemo

    kemo New Member

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    Between 2007 and 2009 there was a lot of interest in these cases and active Cold Case investigations on all of them. Sheriff Jeff Semrad of Oneida County claimed he knew who did it and expected an arrest shortly. It never happened. There was an active Cold Case investigation on both Cindy Bringhurst and Linda Smith that no one in LE made any particular promises on. There was quite a bit of interest in the local media. Linda Smith's family has been particularly outspoken in their criticism of the PPD. From what I can tell, there was no real investigation of the Linda Smith case until her body was found but the Cindy Bringhurst case may have been handled better. Evidentially, there were a number of men who were looked at. The fact both cases are so unusual yet so similar in such a small town makes it probable that it was the same perp. I wonder is any attempt was make seek out men with links to both girls.

    The Nori Jones case was the murder in her home of a young woman in Pocatello in 2004. There is no reason to believe it is related to the others but it remains unsolved.
     

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