Part III: Kathleen McBroom Missing Person

This is my third post on the disappearance of Kathleen McBroom.

On October 27, 2008, Ms. McBroom did not arrive at her workplace, a federal government facility in Anchorage, Alaska, and was reported missing by her family the next day. Her truck was found abandoned on a highway south of Anchorage along with her cell phone and other personal items (recovered inside the vehicle).


3) In my novice opinion, what aspects of the case are odd and/or important?

In General

--I am not familiar with the area, but believe that Ms. McBroom lived in Anchorage and the news articles list her employer as the US Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage. I mapped the approximate location her vehicle was recovered, and that section of the Seward Highway near Girdwood is well south of her employer (and I assume her residence as well).

--Assuming that she started work at 0800 or 0830 like most federal jobs, if she was encountered by police at 0830 on a road well south of her job, she had either changed her mind about work or something happened to cause her to detour from her planned route.

--In the news article, it states that she was wearing walking shoes and not shoes typically worn to work.

--The land surrounding the Seward Highway near Girdwood is described as rugged. The specific area where Ms. McBroom's truck was recovered includes cliffs, drop-offs, and an estimated 30 foot surf in the waters below the highway on the day she went missing.

--Another article states that she had struggled in the past with bipolar disorder.

From Her Journal

--Her 16 year old daughter had just returned home from a residential treatment center in Utah for a week’s visit. Ms. McBroom was concerned how her daughters would get along, but stated things were going well with her family.

--Her professional life was very important to her. She indicates several times in the journal that she was unable to be proactive due to the volume of her workload, and it bothered her. She was concerned about the future of her career:

...i think i am bored and wanting to move on, to step outside of my comfort zone. and i think the thought of staying in my present career field until i retire at age 55 (that’s 15 more years) sounds stifling. i feel this urge that i want to explore something else and staying another 15 years in the same field feels depressing to me. i’m not sure what to do...

--She felt her career was missing something:

…but i crave something career wise that i can’t quite put my finger on yet. and i think i am kind of afraid to do something about it right now. but i feel this some kind of itch that i can’t quite reach yet. and i think i likely will keep feeling this itch until i find what it is. i’m not done looking.

--The federal fiscal year ends on September 30, and Ms. McBroom makes mention that her workload had become almost unbearable-—but she reported it getting better due to less overtime as noted on September 24.

--She was aggressively dieting. Ms. McBroom reported losing over 33 lbs. since JAN of 2008, had changed her eating habits, and increased her physical activity (e.g. climbing stairs).

I'll continue next time with several surprising entries from Ms. McBroom's journal.

Previous posts in this series can be accessed by clicking "Kathleen McBroom" on the left margin of the home page or a list of historical posts is here.

Note: Image was used from this site.


Sue said...

I think it's good that you can look at this with fresh eyes. But sad, too, that the detective and reporter assigned to the case did not. *pat on the back* I hope you can shed some new light on this case.

J. J. in Phila said...

The route is interesting, if Ms. McBroom was heading away from where she should would normally would be going.

The walking shoes many not be an issue, for several reasons:

First, at least in my government job, there was no dress code regarding shoes. People wore whatever they'd like. My guess is that Alaska would not be too formal regarding dress codes.

Second, even in an office job, there can be a lot of walking and standing. The walking shoes could have been both practical and comfortable.

Third, Ms. McBroom was rather heavy, for her height. 167-200 pounds. That can create both back and foot problems. Sensible shoes can offer more support. Unless I'm wearing a suit, I usually wear boots, and did so routinely at work.

Now, the bipolar part could be very significant.

Good job.

Stephanie Faris said...

I work for the government and people do tend to show up for work wearing whatever. We have casual day every Friday (don't know if this was a Friday or not?) and even with that, there are weeks we're allowed to wear casual clothes. I also know a lot of people would wear sneakers in and change once they got to their desks.

What doesn't make sense is why her car wasn't found within her normal route to work. Unless she was abducted and the person who took over the car left it there...

BobKat said...

Hi Slam... another great post which provides enough information and insight to stimulate one's interest.

I agree with JJ about the shoes. Good catch JJ.

I was interested in Kathleen's frustrations with her job. She is 30, I am 55, and it's remarkable how similar our attitudes are. My workload is also unbearable and stifles my creativity and proactive nature. I'm simply a cog in a machine - that's pretty much the way it is these days, and in fact suicides are up as a result of the bleak job picture... people are stuck, literally, in jobs they don't want, and there is no place to go. In most states getting fired means no unemployment benefits. No chance to get help to find a new job. A job more in line with our evolving natures.

I have not had a chance to read her blog... I'm concerned more with what you tell us - so obviously if she had a bipolar disorder, and her vehicle was found past where she would have gone to go to work, something happened.

I rather doubt an abduction, though possible. If she suddenly came to a decision... as you suggest she was open to options, what went through her mind that day as she should have turned into her job, but continued. (She could have missed her turn).

She was headed to work... her vehicle found abandoned past her job site. I hesitate to bring this up, but is there any indication that - given the bleak job experience these days, that suicide was an option? It's a touchy, personal subject I know. And I don't know how to post such things, but maybe things in her blog that give insight into her thoughts and frustrations...

Does her family - whomever they are - have a website for her? If so I might let them know you're interested in her story, and invite them here. You're not a novice anymore...

Slamdunk said...

@ Sue: Thanks all for the feedback.

@ JJ and Stephanie: Good point on the shoes. In my next post, I will be discussing a reason that she might have been wearing walking shoes to work--chronic back pain from a fall down the stairs. Her disappearance was on a Monday, but it is certainly possible that someone with a medical issue may have needed to wear special shoes.

Two other things: First, Ms. McBroom talked in her journal of her enjoyment with wearing business attire at her new job. She talked of skipping the casual on casual Fridays because she liked looking professional.

Second, the missing woman (again on the journal) spoke highly of being able to walk during her lunch break sometimes. Perhaps, she was wearing the shoes for that purpose or she had a long walk from the parking lot to her office.

In sum, as JJ said, the shoes may mean nothing at all.

@ Bob: Relevant thoughts. On the website, her daughter posted a final entry to Ms. McBroom's blog, but I am not aware of any other family site.

Lena said...

It is nice to see a fresh perspective on Beany's case. It was so frustrating to see how it was handled at the time.

Patricia said...

She is dead from a fall, into the icy waters below. She more then likely was having some sort of medical emergency, that the officer assumed was due to lack of sleep, when he did not smell any alcohol. Think stroke, hypertension, hypoglycemia, sepsis, seizure, etc...

She probably got out to get her bearings and fell. I think the lack of anything else tangible, is why the media, is staying away from this hum-drum story, cause really...there is no story.

Sue said...

That's a lot of assumptions, Patricia.

I need to point out that she passed a field sobriety test.

There is a lot more information to this than has been posted. Maybe you should stick around?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the feedback all.

@ Patricia: I hope to cover aspects of the case related to your thoughts with my next post.

Oz Girl said...

Indeed, who is this Patricia? :-0

I'm glad you're providing fresh perspective on this case. I know how frustrated many other bloggers were that this case was not getting the attention it deserved from the police and the media in Alaska.

Melissa said...

I think Patricia might be a serial killer. This serial killer: