Details of Disappearance
Rebecca was last seen with her mother, Desiree Tompkins, in Bossier City, Louisiana on November 20, 1983. Royal R. "Dick" Tompkins Jr., who is Rebecca's father and Desiree's husband, reported the two missing on November 25. Photos of Royal and Desiree are posted with this case summary. The family lived in the 3300 block of east Texas Street.
On December 3, Desiree's nude body was found by hunters in a ditch on Rice Road near Greenwood, Louisiana. She had been stabbed to death. There was no indication of Rebecca's whereabouts and she has never been heard from again. Royal was subequently arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of both his wife and his daughter.
According to his confession, Royal and Desiree were arguing on the evening of November 20, and when Rebecca interrupted them with her crying, he flew into a rage and strangled the baby. When Desiree tried to defend her daughter by knocking Royal onto the ground next to his fishing equipment, he grabbed a fishing knife and stabbed her to death. He said he wrapped Rebecca's body in a blanket and put it in garbage bag, then put the bag in a dumpster.
Royal initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. In March 1984, in order to avoid a possible death sentence, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to two terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In June of that year, however, Royal recanted his confession and said Rebecca was still alive. He said that prior to Desiree's murder, he had told her to get the baby from the babysitter, and she said she couldn't because Rebecca "wasn't ours anymore." He said he didn't know his daughter's current whereabouts and he only claimed he strangled her because the police didn't believe him when he said he didn't know where she was.
Authorities searched a landfill in Caddo Parish, Louisiana for two weeks, trying to find the baby's body, but it was never located. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.