Josephine Yvette Cogburn

1 2 AP
Left and Center: Josephine, circa 1983;
Right: Age-progression to 44 (circa 2011)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 2, 1983 from Norman, Oklahoma
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: April 10, 1967
  • Age: 16 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'1, 128 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Josephine goes by her middle name, Yvette. She has the nickname "VETTE" in script lettering, with a swirl underneath, tattooed on the inside of her foot near her toes. Her ears are pierced.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Josephine and her younger sister, Joyce, were staying at family friend's apartment in Norman, Oklahoma. The individual reported the sisters' disappearance on October 2, 1983. He claimed that he was out that day and Josephine and Joyce were supposed to go to the library, and when he came home they were gone. They have never been heard from again. All their belongings were left behind. Investigators initially believed they'd run away from home, but as time passed without anyone seeing or hearing from the sisters, they began to suspect foul play.

    Joyce and Josephine's father was killed in a car accident in 1968. Their mother was pregnant with Joyce at the time, and Josephine was an infant. She gave the two girls to their paternal grandparents; their older sister, Rosetta, went to her maternal grandmother. The sisters were reunited in 1975, after their mother remarried. She made her second husband leave their home over allegations that he'd tried to molest Joyce and Josephine. In 1983, Joyce and Josephine were having disciplinary problems at home in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. They left and moved in with the family friend in Norman. He was granted temporary custody of them. Then they disappeared.

    The sisters may have been involved with drugs at the time of their disappearances. There have been possible sightings of them since they vanished and investigators think they may still be alive, but none of the reports have been confirmed. Their older sister believes the family friend murdered Joyce and Josephine. He has been interviewed several times by police and never ruled as a suspect in the Cogburns' cases; he's considered a person of interest. In mid-September 1983, Josephine told Rosetta that Joyce and the man had been dating, but Joyce now had a new boyfriend and didn't want anything to do with her guardian. Rosetta theorizes the man killed both teens in a jealous rage. She says he never returned the girls' belongings, like clothes and photo albums, to the Cogburn family, even though they asked him to.

    Neither sister's names, birth certificates or Social Security numbers have been used since October 1983. Their disappearances remain unsolved and foul play is suspected.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Norman Police Department
    405-366-5211

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    The Oklahoman
    NewsLibrary
    The Doe Network
    The Norman Transcript
    NamUs

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    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated December 12, 2011; age-progression updated.

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