Details of Disappearance
Riley disappeared with Omar Scharief Seymore Sr., who is the father of her two sons. A photograph of Seymore is posted with this case summary.
Riley's grandmother, Vernice Akers, last saw her on December 20, 1998 and said everything seemed to be normal with Riley at the time. Seymore's mother, Linda D. Waters, reportedly was the last one to see Riley, on December 23. On Christmas Day Riley did not arrive at her family's holiday celebration.
Akers called Waters, and Waters claimed Riley, accompanied by Seymore, had dropped her children off at Waters's apartment on December 23 and said she was going to do some last-minute Christmas shopping at a mall in Elyria, Ohio, but never returned to pick up her sons.
Akers was worried and she and her husband collected Riley's sons from Waters's house. The children had only one bottle each and their car seats; they had no diapers, no extra clothing and no extra milk.
Akers claims Waters told three different stories about what happened when Kimberly dropped off the children at her house. The next day, Waters called Akers to ask if she'd heard from Riley and Seymore. She suggested that perhaps they had run away together.
Riley had left behind wrapped Christmas gifts in her apartment, which was unusually clean and decorated for the holiday season. The only things missing from her apartment in the 1600 block of Cooper Foster Park Road were some blankets off the bed, two photo albums containing pictures of the children, and a large plastic trash bin from the kitchen. Riley's medication, groceries, toothbrush and curlers were left behind. All of Seymore's belongings were missing, however, except one sock.
On December 31 of that year, Riley's mother got a towing bill for Riley's orange 1989 Mazda, which disappeared with her and Seymore.
The car had been found on Diece Street in Cleveland, Ohio and was towed to an impound lot. When it was returned to her mother, it had been stripped of all Riley's belongings, including the stereo. The car seat had been moved back to accommodate a person much taller than Riley.
The police did not inspect the car until the spring of 1999. There were bloodstains on the passenger side of the car, and some hair and some bloodstained pieces of cardboard in the trunk. Five years later, police investigators tested the cardboard from the trunk and found that the blood was Riley's.
A small amount of blood was also found in her and Seymore's shared apartment in the 1600 block of Cooper Foster Park Road. Riley's mother also located a photograph of Riley in her home, where Riley had onced lived with Seymore; the picture had the words "die soon" written across the front.
Seymore was located in 2004 and arrested on drug charges. He was sentenced to time served and released after his conviction. He was rearrested in California in June 2005, on identity theft charges unrelated to Riley's disappearance. He had been impersonating his mother's boyfriend. He was extradited back to Ohio and sentenced to prison for parole violation.
Riley was not with him when he was located. Authorities have repeatedly questioned him as to her whereabouts but he has refused to divulge any information. Seymore was released from prison in July 2007.
Riley's mother stated her daughter had a rocky relationship with Seymore; he was arrested once for hitting her, but no charges were filed against him in that incident. Seymore does have a criminal record for drug possession. Riley was declared legally dead in 2006.
In 2007, Riley's mother filed a civil suit against Seymore for Riley's wrongful death, seeking upwards of $25,000 in damages. A civil judge found Seymore liable for Riley's death and ordered him to pay $4.5 million to her mother. He did not defend himself against the suit and refused to answer any questions about Riley's disappearance, citing his right to avoid self-incrimination.
Riley's mother stated she did not expect to actually receive any money, as Seymore has few assets. He has not faced criminal charges in connection with Riley's disappearance.
Riley's case remains unsolved. Authorities suspect foul play was involved in her disappearance; they and her family believe she is deceased.