Part III: The Disappearance of Beau Ramsey

Albeit a week behind schedule, this is the third installment in my series on the disappearance of Beau Ramsey.


Case Summary:

On August 17, 2004, twenty-three year old Beau Ramsey, was following his employer to a construction site in Benton, AR. Beau’s coworkers reported that Ramsey fell behind in traffic and never made it to the job’s location.

A few days later, Beau’s motorcycle, with the keys in the ignition, was found abandoned on a dirt road near the county line. After several intensive police and volunteer searches, no helpful information regarding the missing man’s whereabouts were ascertained.

Nine-months after Beau had been reported missing, his decomposed body was found in a heavily wooded area about three miles south of where his motorcycle had been recovered.


In the last post, I discussed several confirmed witness sightings of Beau after he mysteriously left work, as well as describing interest by authorities in childhood friend Jon Thibeault’s alleged phone discussions with the victim and possible involvement in the case.

With this entry, I’ll start with the victim’s motorcycle.

Similar to two other missing persons cases that I have discussed, Brianna Maitland and Kathleen McBroom, officers encountered Beau's transportation without realizing there was a connection to a missing persons case.

Prior to his disappearance, Beau had only recently purchased the 2001 black Honda 250 motorcycle.

This is how one article described the confusion and delay in recovering Beau's bike:

...The bike was propped on its kickstand, key in the ignition, as if its owner had just stepped through the underbrush to answer a call of nature, expecting to return momentarily.

The land is leased to a deer club, and hunters were in and out all week, preparing for the upcoming season. Tracy Manning spotted the cycle when he came out to work on the gate to the property, which is owned by International Paper and used for clear-cutting.

Ed Dodson and Bob Clay, president of the deer club, also saw the bike. “

We called the sheriff’s department and talked to a dispatcher,” he says. “They said someone would be right out. We waited around for two or three hours, but nobody showed up, so we left.”

Cpl Mike Frost, with the sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), says, “There is no record that we ever received a call about that bike being out there.” Dee, however, says a dispatcher told her about taking Clay’s call.

Benton firefighter Russell Evans saw the bike on Saturday, Aug. 21, when he went out to set up digital game cameras. The next day, when he returned to find the bike still there, he called his brother-in-law, Ryan Jacks, an Arkansas State Trooper.

Jacks ran the license plate, and then called a wrecker to tow the bike...
For missing persons, authorities gather and record relevant personal information. Height, weight, scars, tattoos, as well as vehicle information is then entered into state and national databases--to assist law enforcement in matching case details later.

With that, why was Beau's motorcycle not listed with a "hit" in police databases to link it to his disappearance?

Was the cycle recovered prior to a missing person report officially being filed or was the information omitted from computer systems just by an oversight?

The published reports do provide clear answers to these questions.

Another factor may have complicated the process of obtaining fingerprints and other evidence from Beau's motorcycle.

It was rumored that, since the keys were with bike, several men had been using the Honda for joyriding prior to police arrival; thereby contaminating the scene.

In any event, not being able to properly recover and then process Beau's motorcycle as related to a crime certainly hindered the investigation. Missing persons cases can be difficult enough to solve, but when potential evidence is not able to be collected, it presents an enormous obstacle.

The bike's discovery did provide authorities with a new opportunity--a place to search for additional traces and evidence of the missing man.


For the previous posts in this series, click here.


 ALH said...

Will there be another post about Beau? I'm interested to see what eventually led the authorities to the body as it seems some of the evidence was contaminated and not immediately connected to his case. Perhaps there were other clues that were similarly handled? Could they have found him sooner? These cases really illuminate how the missing person's process is handled.

Amanda West said...

I just finished reading all three of your posts on Ramsey.

That's a really sad story.

About a year ago, a young man from my town went missing after his mother passed away unexpectedly.

Apparently, he did meth and got strung out after his mother's death and went walking in the woods behind his house.

The authorities called out a search party, and because my dad's in the fire department, he got dispatched.

They found the man's body in the woods.

It was really sad.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

I'm suprised the men just went joyriding on the bike and that no one stole it. Don't you wish real life missing person cases were like on tv where they are all solved within an hour?

Javajune said...

I am baffled by the fact that people can just diappear like that without a trace, it's scary and sad.

suzicate said...

I find it strange that the bike was supposedly used for joy riding but wasn't actually stolen. At any rate, such a sad story.

Dan said...

Never make the assumption that information systems are complete and/or well integrated. Especially in police systems, there is usually a patchwork of databases that may or may not be connected to each other in a meaningful way. Thus it is not surprising that the plate search didn't pop a missing persons alert. A shame, but also a budgetary truth.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
1. Your post and the comments to it make me remember that our information world still has serious disconnects. That CSI effect isn't just with CSI!

2. Do you think-- that as a young male in the 'footloose time of life' --it did not look urgent in the way that a young woman or gainfully-employed family woman's disappearance would make waves? This question is I suppose a kind of 'profiling' question.

3. Bad deed done with accomplice, or a meeting gone bad. The keys in the cycle meant they hoped it would be stolen. And the killer left by second transportation method.

Or, the death occurred off-site and he was moved. The ME couldn't check lividity after 9 months, I don't believe, but maybe soil samples?
(Whoops, back to CSI!! only I did read a couple of books, not CSI)

Very interesting. Thanks for this, it is fascinating as always!
Ann T.

Krista said...

How very sad and interesting at the same time. I hope you will continue the follow up on this story because I'm curious to read whatever else is known.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

Your posts are part police-detective, part investigative-journalist, part suspense-author. Sometimes, it's hard to believe they're real because they're all so gripping.

Confessions From A Working Mom

traceepersiko said...

I am person who loves life stories. As I am watching the Olympics, I love the part where the life stories are told.

Beau's story is captivating. A guy trying to figure out life. Lost of roads to choose for him to go down.

I just see the huge heart of God who loves this kid.

I really like your captivating stories of missing people. He was missing in more ways than one. Makes me think how i am missing?

J. J, in Phila said...

I agree with Dan's comment. In any bureaucracy, and police do qualify as a bureaucracy, there are going to be problems getting all the information out.

luisa said...

Any child gone missing is a nightmare to me. Thank you for your dedication.

kiwidutch said...

Another case of " what if's and "if only's" where small connections of information would have really mattered and who knows? may have made a big difference in solving this young mans disappearance. I can only hope that note is made that these little connections *are* missing, an unnecessarily so, so that they can be tightened up, gaps filled. Hopefully even if it doesn't turn out to help Beau and his family, maybe for another missing person, another family, it might make a world of difference. A very sad story, but good that someone is still thinking about Beau's plight.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks all.

@ ALH: I plan to do a couple of more posts on the case, but unfortunately facts seem to be scarce and I don't want to waste everyone's time with just guesses.

@ My Husband...: I am all for that.

@ Ann T: I was not a crime scene person, but here is me faking it--

2) Yes, I argue that, despite what the official statements are by authorities, all missing persons cases are not pursued equally--the victim's personal struggles contributed to the slow start of the investigation.

3) All good reasonable. The cycle parked upright with the keys in it on a lonely logging road see to indicate meeting, but it could have certainly been dumped there.

zorindha said...

This was such an interesting post, and very sad! Thank you for that, and thanks for stopping by my blog the other day =)