Rita Marie Bartschot

Bartschot, circa 1990; Drew Thompson, circa 2009

  • Missing Since 08/24/1990
  • Missing From Seattle, Washington
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 11/25/1949 (74)
  • Age 40 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'3, 100 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A gold St. Rose Academy 1967 class ring with a red stone.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Blue Honda (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Bartschot wears eyeglasses.

Details of Disappearance

Bartschot was last seen on the morning of August 24, 1990, working in the yard at her deceased mother's home in the 5500 block of 31st Avenue northeast in Seattle, Washington. She has never been heard from again. When a neighbor checked on the house, she noticed the television set was turned on, the cat had been left without water or food, and the coffee pot was full of coffee that had turned moldy. The neighbor reported Bartschot missing.

Drew Richard Thompson, an unemployed landscaper, was charged with using Bartschot's debit card on September 7, two weeks after her disappearance. A photo of Thompson is posted with this case summary. He withdrew a total of $3,200 from her accounts. Following his arrest, police found another of Bartschot's bank cards at his home.

Her vehicle, a blue Honda which had disappeared with her, was found near the University of Washington campus on September 9. There was blood in the backseat.

DNA testing was not very advanced at the time, but forensic experts were able to determine the blood could have come from Bartschot and only 11% of the Caucasian population, and Thompson was excluded as a source of the blood. Several hairs found in the car's backseat were microscopically similar to Thompson's hair. He had five felony convictions prior to Bartschot's disappearance, and authorities described him as a professional thief. His fingerprints were found inside Bartschot's vehicle, and he admitted to having stolen and driven it after her disappearance.

Thompson pleaded guilty to first-degree theft in relation to his withdrawals from Bartschot's accounts. In May 1991, he was charged with her murder. Two of his former cellmates testified at the trial, saying Thompson had told them he killed Bartschot and the police would never find the body. He was convicted of first-degree murder in November 1991 and sentenced to 32 years in prison. He continues to maintain his innocence, and will not be eligible for parole until 2022.

Foul play is suspected in Bartschot's disappearance due to the circumstances involved. She worked as a professor of chemistry at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Washington at the time of her disappearance.

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 26, 2017; casefile added.