Details of Disappearance Amber was last seen at approximately 6:00 p.m. on December 18, 1997 in her hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her mother spoke to her on the phone while she was at a friend's home and told her to come home. She left her friend's residence and was last seen riding her blue ten-speed bicycle in the 3000 block of northwest 45th Street at the time. Amber was on her way to her home home in the 3100 block of northwest 39th Street. She never arrived and has never been heard from again.
Amber's bicycle was discovered abandoned in Denniston Park in Oklahoma City on December 19, the day following her disappearance. The bike was located near northwest 27th Street and Drexel Boulevard, which is one mile from her home. Amber's sweater, shoes, one sock and a ring were found along Drexel Boulevard and northwest 12th Street on December 20. One of her shoes was a block away from the other one.
Investigators stated that blood, hair and fiber evidence was discovered near Amber's possessions. There were blue fibers on her sweater, as well as vomit mixed with possible ejaculate. There was a speck of blood on her shoe, but the blood spot was so small that authorities could not link it to any specific person. Authorities were able to form a partial DNA profile for an unknown man from the evidence on the sweater.
Daniel John Smith, Amber's sister's common-law husband, was previously convicted of attempted kidnapping in 1995. He admitted that he assaulted a woman in Oklahoma City while he was intoxicated and tried to steal her car keys. The woman says he tried to rape her. Smith pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a five-year deferred prison sentence and four months at a boot camp, where he earned excellent reviews.
The police had been summoned to another of Amber's sisters' homes in November 1997, approximately one month before the child disappeared. Her sister claimed that Smith hit her after she refused his sexual advances. He was given a citation by authorities but was not arrested. Smith was allegedly at Amber's residence when she called her mother to say she was returning home. He left the residence immediately afterwards and headed west, the same direction Amber was coming from.
Smith was questioned about Amber on the day after her disappearance, and authorities wanted to interview him further, but he discovered hanged from a tree in at Ray Trent Park in Del City, Oklahoma at 11:30 p.m. on December 22, 1997, four days after Amber was last seen. His death was ruled a suicide. Smith was not labeled as a suspect at the time; authorities simply said they wanted to question him regarding Amber's case. However, both the police and Amber's family suspected he had knowledge of her disappearance.
Amber's disappearance remains unsolved. She was a fourth-grade student at James Monroe Elementary School at the time of her disappearance. Her loved ones stated she wasn't having any personal problems when she went missing; neither does she have a history as a runaway.
One of Amber's sisters died in 2013, and her mother died in 2014. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved in her case.
- Oklahoma City Police Department
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated February 23, 2021; details of disappearance updated.