Barbara Jean Dreher

Dreher, circa 1984

  • Missing Since 08/12/1984
  • Missing From Washington D.C., Washington D.C.
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Age 39 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'2, 130 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A green shirt and white slacks.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Burgundy 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Dreher's ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Dreher was last seen in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 1984. She dropped off her two young sons at her adult daughter's home at 5:00 p.m. She said she was going to pick up some money and would return shortly. She was driving a burgundy 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme at the time. She never returned to her daughter's home and has never been heard from again.

Prior to her disappearance, Dreher had occasionally spent extended periods of time with her estranged husband in Hillcrest Heights. She was not reported as a missing person for nine days as a result.

A few days after Dreher went missing, one of her relatives saw another man driving her car. The relative followed the driver to an apartment building in the southwest section of the city, where he parked Dreher's car and got out. Her relative called the police and identified a man as the driver when investigators arrived at the scene.

The man denied having driven Dreher's car and said he did not know her. Since her vehicle had not been listed as stolen, the man was not taken into custody. Dreher's car was impounded, however. A ski mask, gloves and rope were found inside it, as well as some items belonging to Dreher.

The person had a violent criminal record. When he was eighteen, he had pleaded guilty to killing two people, a 23-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl. The victims were repeatedly stabbed by a group of four men, and the girl was gang-raped by three of the men before she was killed. The man didn't get a lengthy sentence for his role in the deaths. A year after Dreher went missing, he was charged with abducting and raping a woman, but the charges were later dismissed.

In the years since Dreher's disappearance, the police lost a lot of evidence in her case, including the original missing persons report, and the ski mask and rope found in her recovered vehicle. Her missing persons file had to be restarted and a second report missing, using the original 1984 case number.

Dreher had been employed as a secretary for the Washington public school system for fifteen years prior to her disappearance. She has five children, and one of her sons described her as a devoted but strict mother. He doesn't think she would have abandoned her family. Foul play is suspected in Dreher's case, which remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Violent Crime Case Review Project
  • Violent Criminal Apprehension Program
  • 202-727-5037

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 27, 2018; details of disappearance updated.