Details of Disappearance Kipper drove to St. Joseph, Missouri from her family's residence in Kansas City to pick up a friend during the evening of February 24, 1997. They went ice skating together.
The low-fuel warning light in Kipper's red 1989 Ford Probe LX activated as she was driving her friend back to St. Joseph at approximately 1:00 a.m. She refused to stop for a gas fill-up, saying that her car always had good gas mileage and she could return to Kansas City without topping the tank.
Kipper's family said that she used her AAA Auto Club membership several times prior to February 1997 after allowing her car to run out of fuel while driving.
Kipper dropped her friend off in St. Joseph at approximately 2:00 a.m. and promised to call him by 3:00 a.m. to announce her arrival home. Her friend fell asleep while waiting for her call.
Kipper's car apparently ran out of fuel shortly after 2:30 a.m. as she drove down Interstate 29 north of the Kansas City International Airport. A truck driver observed a dark-haired Caucasian female flagging down traffic with a concerned look on her face by the southbound shoulder of the highway at approximately 2:34 a.m.
The woman fit Kipper's description. The witness told investigators that he saw another vehicle backing up on the exit ramp towards the woman's car as he passed. Kipper has never been seen again.
Kipper's mother discovered her daughter's Ford Probe later in the morning on Interstate 29. The hazard lights were on and the vehicle's battery was low. There was no sign of Kipper at the scene.
Authorities searched the Kansas City, Missouri residence of John E. Williams later in 1997 when he was implicated in the abduction and sexual assault of another woman. Investigators discovered Kipper's identification cards, paycheck stub, car keys, mock turtleneck and jeans inside Williams's home.
DNA tests confirmed that the clothing belonged to Kipper and investigators believed the damage to the clothing was consistent with a homicide. Williams was questioned about Kipper's case and claimed he accidentally struck and killed her with his vehicle on the night of February 24 on Interstate 29.
Williams was a convicted sex offender and told authorities he was afraid of becoming implicated in the crime, so he placed Kipper's body in his car and disposed of her remains. He initially refused to divulge her burial location, but eventually led investigators to the Platte City area. Nothing was discovered during an extensive search.
Authorities learned that Williams had his car's windshield repaired the day after Kipper vanished. They believed it was damaged by someone kicking it during a struggle.
Williams denied the statement and also denied intentionally killing Kipper. Several witnesses provided tips which placed Kipper's body in the woods of Platte County, but no evidence was located to confirm the reports.
Williams was imprisoned for the rape and abduction of the other Missouri woman and was about to be charged with Kipper's homicide when he committed suicide in his cell in April 1999. He died without revealing the location of Kipper's remains. After his death, two of his cellmates corroborated his previous statements, saying he had told them he had killed Kipper and disposed of her body.
Kipper had been an exotic dancer in the Kansas City area in 1996, but had decided to leave the industry at the time of her disappearance and had secured employment elsewhere. Her case remains unsolved.
- Platte County Sheriff's Department
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 8, 2018; four pictures added.