Details of Disappearance
Andrea was last seen at approximately 6:00 p.m. on July 11, 1993 near her family's residence in the 4800 block of southeast Ebbtide Avenue in Port Salerno, Florida. Her mother's boyfriend gave her permission to walk to a friend's residence on Flounder Avenue and the Port Salerno Grocery Store on Salerno Road.
Two witnesses observed Andrea walking towards the business shortly afterwards, which was two blocks from her home. An employee at the store told authorities that Andrea purchased potato chips and candy with some change she had, then departed the business.
On her way back, some people she knew drove past her and she waved at them. She may have been collecting empty soda cans near Commerce Avenue and Seward Avenue at the time of her disappearance. Her friend said that Andrea never arrived at her home. She has never been seen again.
Her mother arrived home from work at 10:10 p.m. and realized Andrea wasn't home. She searched the neighborhood, which is known for its drug activity, before reporting the child's disappearance to police at 11:00 p.m.
Claude Davis, a Port Salerno resident who was convicted of child molestation in an unrelated case, was considered the prime suspect in Andrea's disappearance. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
He went to the police a few days after the child vanished and claimed he had seen Andrea being forced into a maroon four-door Oldsmobile by four or five Hispanic men. He said he didn't try to intervene because he was too afraid.
Davis later told authorities that Andrea died after an accidental fall on the night she vanished. He claimed that he panicked afterwards and put her body in a dumpster, and never reported the incident until November 1993, four months after Andrea was last seen.
Investigators arrested Davis on a false imprisonment charge as a result of his second statement, but the charges against him were dropped due to a lack of evidence. Davis later claimed he was not involved in Andrea's disappearance and his story about witnessing her abduction by several men was the true account. When police asked him to take a lie detector test, he refused.
A landfill in Martin County, Florida was searched in December 1993, five months after Andrea disappeared. Investigators were looking for her remains at the time, but the search yielded few clues.
The porch of Davis's residence was burned down in April 1994. He claimed that the arsonist was a person who thought he was involved in Andrea's disappearance. Davis was on probation for molestation charges at the time of the fire. In 1999, he was sent to prison for nine years for violating the terms of his probation by having contact with his victim.
Chester Duane Price was charged with Andrea's kidnapping and murder in November 2012, nineteen years after her disappearance. He was living in Haleyville, Alabama at the time of his arrest. A photo of Price is posted with this case summary. He has an extensive criminal record, including convictions for assault and drug-related charges as well as sex crimes.
The crux of the case was Davis's testimony: he was cooperating with the investigation and testified before a grand jury that he and Price forced Andrea into Davis's 1978 van and Andrea bit Price in the hand in an unsuccessful attempt to escape. The two men murdered her and disposed of her body the next day.
Davis could not face charges for his alleged role in Andrea's disappearance because his constitutional right to a speedy trial would be violated; the state was legally obliged to either file formal charges against him within 175 days of his false imprisonment arrest in 1993, or let him go. Prosecutors were unable to find enough evidence to try Davis before the time limit ran out, so they were forced to release him.
In the summer of 2013, Davis died suddenly at his home, at the age of 76. His death seriously compromised the case against Price, which relied heavily on Davis's testimony. As a result, in 2014, the prosecution offered Price a plea deal. He pleaded no contest to manslaughter and kidnapping a child under 13, and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
With credit for time served, Price will serve less than nine years. A no contest plea means the defendant doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him if the case should go to trial.
Andrea resided with her mother, her mother's boyfriend and her half-sister at the time of her disappearance; they moved from Dayton, Ohio to Florida in September 1992. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.