Details of Disappearance Elizabeth was last seen jogging at 10:00 a.m. on August 16, 1983 in her hometown of Idaho Springs, Colorado. She was last seen in a park near her family's residence.
Investigators believe that a male seen in the park at the same time as Elizabeth may have been seen speaking to her. The man was driving a small red 1975 or 1976 pickup truck with a white camper shell and out-of-state license plates. It has not been established if the man has any connection to Elizabeth's disappearance, but police are interested in identifying him and questioning him.
Elizabeth's sister says a man in a pickup truck had flirted with Elizabeth a few days before she vanished. The truck was red with a white camper shell, out-of-state license plates and blue or black lettering and a a brown stripe on the sides. The man was fair-skinned and about 175 pounds, with light brown collar-length hair parted on the side. He wore prescription eyeglasses with blue-tinted photo-grade lenses and had a generally neat appearance. He said his name was Claude. He became angry after Elizabeth refused to have a conversation with him.
Elizabeth disappeared shortly thereafter and has not been seen again. She did not have any cash or personal belongings with her on the day she vanished. She normally left a note for her parents if she was going away for any length of time; she did not do so on the day of her disappearance.
Elizabeth was a basketball player in 1983 and she jogged regularly to stay in shape. She is one of seven children and was a freshman at Clear Creek Secondary School. At the time of her disappearance, she baby-sat to earn spending money; her baby-sitting earnings were left behind at her house when she vanished.
An unidentified Ohio man has been under investigation for several years in Elizabeth's case. Authorities believe he may have been involved in Elizabeth's presumed abduction, but he has never been charged. In 1995, a serial killer from Mississippi claimed that he had killed Elizabeth, but police did not find his story credible.
Another suspect, a New Mexico man named Edward Apodaca, is deceased; he was murdered by his wife and mother-in-law in 1990. Two independent witnesses reported they'd seen Apodcada talking to Elizabeth three days before her disappearance, while they were sitting in a red or rust-colored pickup truck with a camper shell and New Mexico license plates. A license plate with some matching numbers was later found on Apodaca's property.
Apodaca's former girlfriend claimed she had helped him bury Elizabeth in the mountains near Idaho Springs. Three cadaver dogs indicated the presence of human remains in the place the girlfriend indicated, but police excavations turned up no evidence. Elizabeth's family believes, however, that Apodaca was in a fact involved in Elizabeth's case.
In 1995, a woman police picked up in Tampa, Florida claimed to be Elizabeth. Elizabeth's parents flew to Florida to meet the woman, but she turned out to be someone else. Possible evidence relating to Elizabeth's case was found in Empire, Colorado in 1994. Some bone fragments, a piece of fabric similar to canvas, and a single blonde hair was found buried near Interstate 70.
The bone fragments have never been identified; police do not even know if they are human. The fabric was very degraded and appeared to have been buried for a long time. In 2004, the police sent the hair to the FBI to test for mitochondrial DNA. They hope to conclusively link the hair to Elizabeth's case.
Elizabeth's family had her declared legally deceased in 1994. A grand jury investigated her disappearance in 2007, but the jury disbanded in November of that year without any indictments being handed down. Her case remains open and unsolved.
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Updated 10 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 17, 2019; details of disappearance updated.