Details of Disappearance Ada co-owned Groomes Transit Company in East Huntington Township, Pennsylvania with her estranged husband, Donald Arthur Groomes, in 1988. She drove to the company's headquarters on Route 819 on October 7, 1988 during the morning hours.
Ada requested that one of the company's mechanics inspect her vehicle upon her arrival at work. A witness told authorities that she appeared to have an argument regarding the inspection at approximately 10:30 a.m.
She apparently drove her vehicle to her residence in Scottdale shortly afterwards. Her car was parked on a side street near her home later in the day, but there was no sign of Ada.
Donald was allegedly the last person to see her that day. He told investigators that he saw Ada between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. and stated that Ada drove a 30-foot mobile home owned by the couple away from the residence. All of her other belongings, including recently purchased groceries, were left behind.
Donald said that he believed Ada drove to Arizona and joined a cult organization. She has never been heard from again.
Ada was supposed to visit her mother in Butler, Pennsylvania that day to celebrate her mother's birthday. She also planned to go square-dancing the following weekend. She never arrived at her mother's home and never went square-dancing. Her mother and her adult daughter reported her missing.
The couple's mobile home was discovered in Tampa, Florida in 1989, approximately one year after Ada disappeared. There was no trace of her at the scene. Authorities believe the mobile home had been driven to Tampa by John R. "Bud" Neckerauer and Linda Gettemy. They were later charged with concealing evidence, but the charges were dismissed before trial.
Ada and Donald had been married for 34 years and four children together, but they separated in 1986, two years prior to her disappearance. They were in the process of a complicated and bitter divorce which included allegations of infidelity.
The Groomes children stated Donald wanted complete control of the family business and Ada was opposed to this. Ada claimed that Donald physically abused her and obtained protection orders against him in both Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Ada's case is officially listed as a missing person's file, but authorities believe she met with foul play. The missing persons investigation was reclassified as a homicide in December 1, 1988, less than two months after her disappearance.
Investigators believe Ada was killed in the office of Groomes Transit and her body was stuffed in a cardboard container and taken away in the back of Donald's pickup truck. They have not found most of the physical evidence, however, including Ada's body and the cardboard container her body was allegedly put in.
In 1992, Ada's disappearance was brought before a Pennsylvania grand jury, but no indictments were issued. The case was reopened in 2000 as part of a cold case investigation process in Pennsylvania.
Several of Ada's family members believe she was murdered and buried at an unknown location, but investigators lack the evidence necessary to prove this theory. His second wife said they had had no problems during their marriage and she described Donald as a brave, kind and generous man.
Ada was declared legally deceased by a Pennsylvania court in October 1996, at the request of her daughter. Donald was given control of the couple's assets, worth over a million dollars. He died in 2011 at the age of 78; he was never charged in connection with Ada's disappearance and always maintained his innocence. Ada's case remains unsolved.
- Pennsylvania State Police
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 3, 2011; details of disappearance updated.