Details of Disappearance
Kelly was last seen at approximately 8:30 p.m. in Gilmer, Texas on January 5, 1992. She was leaving her place of employment, Northeast Texas Video on Buffalo Street, and heading to the bank around the corner to make her usual night deposit. The bank's security cameras showed that an individual did make the night deposit, but it is unclear whether or not the person was Kelly. She has never been heard from again.
Kelly's car was discovered later in the evening in her employer's parking lot. One of the vehicle's tires had been slashed. The other three tires were intact. All of Kelly's personal belongings, including her purse, were inside the car, but her keys were missing.
A grand jury indicted Gilmer Police Department sergeant James York Brown and seven others on charges of Kelly's abduction and presumed murder in January 1994, two years after Kelly disappeared.
Prosecutors believed that Brown, who had been assigned to investigate Kelly's case, was involved with the seven other individuals with kidnapping and imprisoning Kelly for over one week. The state also contended that they sexually assaulted, and tortured Kelly while she was held captive, then stabbed her to death.
It was alleged that the group was part of a satanic cult and engaged in violent acts, including child molestation, as part of their cult rituals. Many of the defendants charged with Kelly's murder were also charged with sexually abusing children.
The murder charges against everyone were later dropped, two months after the initial allegations had been made. One suspect, a teenager named Michael Biby, was convicted of a misdemeanor for slashing Kelly's car tire. He admitted to the crime, but maintains he knows nothing about Kelly's disappearance and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The "satanic cult" was found to be nonexistent, a fantasy concocted by overzealous investigators. Brown and the other defendants maintained their innocence in Kelly's case from the onset of the investigation.
Kelly was dating Chris Denton at the time of her disappearance. He reportedly had a hot temper and police investigated him for possible involvement in her case, but found no evidence to implicate him. He died of cancer in 2004 and there were rumors he had made a deathbed confession regarding her case, but the stories were untrue; Denton maintained his innocence until the end.
Joe David Henry, the owner of Northeast Texas Video and the last person to see Kelly before she vanished, was arrested on child pornography charges in 2004. Authorities have emphasized that in spite of the nature of the charges against him, he has never been considered a serious suspect in Kelly's case.
Kelly was a student at Gilmer High School in 1992. Her disappearance remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected.