Part IV: The Disappearance of Beau Ramsey

I wanted to thank Rowe at Societe Amore for recognizing one of my February entries with an SAP award that she gives monthly for two posts that offer "...fire, zest, exuberance" in the blogosphere.

I'll have to verify how much cash that I owe Rowe for making such a public statement of support.

Today's entry is the fourth and final planned post for my series on the disappearance of Beau Ramsey.

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Case Summary:

On August 17, 2004, twenty-three year old Beau Ramsey, was following his employer to a construction site in Benton, Arkansas. 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.

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.

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In Part III, I discussed sightings and the recovery of the missing man's motorcycle.

Police and volunteers were able to conduct additional searches of the rural area where the bike was found, but unfortunately nothing new was uncovered.

Sadly, the missing person portion of the story was closed when a citizen discovered Beau's clothing and house keys which led investigators to discover his remains:

...The bones lay in dense underbrush between a gravel road and a railroad bed in northern Grant County, about three miles south of the woods near Baxter Trail where Beau’s abandoned motorcycle was found.

After finding the keys, Donna Gentry—who was searching for Beau, as she has so often done since her friend’s son disappeared—called Sheriff Mask...

Beau’s father Jerry Ramsey took the keys to the apartment at his home, where Beau had been living; they fit...

The area around Baxter Trail had been searched extensively in the months since Beau’s disappearance. Though several people had come close, none had looked in the spot where the remains were found.

The fact that the area is so overgrown with bushes indicates that Beau may not have gone there on his own, but that his body was hidden there, possibly by someone in a vehicle approaching on the adjacent road...
Why was Beau's motorcycle abandoned on the seldom used road? What was his body found so far from the bike? Where had the victim been on the night he disappeared? Did he meet with his childhood friend (Jon Thibault), who police believed that Beau owed money to, prior to disappearing?

The answers to these questions are unclear, and the case remains an unsolved homicide.

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What aspects are important in relation to future missing person investigations?

Here are three:

1) Citizen Involvement in a Case is an Asset

Donna Gentry, who found the clothing, is a friend of the victim's family. She had participated in the original searches and continued walking the wooded areas periodically for the months that followed. A citizen being observant helped bring some closure to Beau's family, and provided police with remains and evidence to further the investigation.

2) The Term "Cleared Area" is a Misnomer

As stated above, Beau's remains were likely missed during previous efforts.

It is imperative in these types of investigations that areas be searched comprehensively in an organized fashion (which can be a challenge when volunteers assisting have varying levels of training and skills).

Just because an area has been cleared certainly does not mean that there is nothing or will never be anything there in relation to a case.

There is nothing wrong with conducting additional searches in areas that have already been examined; especially as conditions change.

Perhaps the most well known example of the need to search a cleared area on more than one occasion was in the Caylee Anthony case--when authorities resisted several opportunities to search a "cleared area" before eventually finding the young child's body there.

3) Case Information Distribution is Essential

It is essential that pertinent information relating to the missing person, including the specifics regarding his/her vehicle, be entered into law enforcement databases and otherwise disseminated.

Had Beau's recovered motorcycle been linked immediately to a missing person case, investigators could have processed it properly as well as initiating additional searches in a timely manner.

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In sum, studying missing persons cases that have been closed, and identifying positives and negatives, can only help authorities and the public better respond to these incidents in the future--as sadly, there will be more puzzling cases like Beau Ramsey.
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For the previous posts in this series, click here.

18 comments:

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

It's almost like some of the puzzle pieces have gone missing, and it's so sad for the family.

Motorcycle Clothing said...

Wao what a nice post and informative. thanks for sharing us.

LadyFi said...

What a tragedy!

Congrats on your award.

A Doc 2 Be said...

I've been on a couple of searches for missing people... it is heart-wrenching to know the likelihood of finding said person alive is not good. Worse, is not finding the person at all. Worst, is finding out later the remains were in an area that had been cleared and watching the family grieve as if from day 1, all over again.

As citizens, not trained S&R, we might not see the details a seasoned detective might... and yet, without citizens searching, without citizens calling in minute tips, people might never be found.

So sorry for Beau's family.

Tamika: said...

My prayer is for the family. The not knowing is just as painful as the losing.

The need the Lord's peace.

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

Congrats on the award and thanks for not forgetting about me. It's so sad in cases like this where there are no answers, call me a woman which I am, but I want to know WHY!?

Luisa Doraz said...

My heart goes out to all families in this situation.
Have a safe week! :)

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

Congrats on being featured! You deserve it-- your posts are always riveting. I am eagerly waiting to see how this ends.

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
This is a terrible story and one that must resonate with every parent. I hope his family gets the help they need.

Thank you for this series. As always, I learn so much from the missing persons accounts.

Sincerely,
Ann T.

BobKat said...

I admire your style of writing, Slam! Not that any of these details or posts on missing persons are simple, but you have an excellent ability to simplify the details, without losing the complexity.

As a person who spent around two years searching with the father of Brianna Maitland, I can concur the idea that a "spot of vital importance" was just missed, maybe by mear inches. I often heard - "it's been thoroughly searched..." and I would cringe, thinking... it becomes a fear, but one has to accept it. Or go crazy.

Keys, keys, keys... I'm beginning to think keys are crucial to any case. Why would Beau leave the keys in his bike... and without(?) the house-keys with them? He obviously didn't decide to skip work and take a walk along a trail. Not with the keys left in the ignition switch. Seems if he was being followed to work and knew it, he could have wove through traffic to catch up to the work-crew, where he'd be safe. So maybe he lagged behind to meet someone - but what sense in that? I don't know. But it appears he pulled off on that road and got in another vehicle... either forgetting his keys, or was distracted, by a weapon pointed at him perhaps.

I hope to see a couple follow-ups on Beau Ramsey. I think you've done an excellent job bringing this case together and highlighting how citizen participation is invaluable.

Thanks!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

These type of cases are so frustrating. What happened to him and why? Ugh, it is mind boggling.

Holly said...

Congrats on your award!

Sad and frustrating that these things happen. You list of what is important to future cases is spot on.

Rowe said...

Thank you, SD for graciously accepting your award. What terrible fate this young man Beau met with.

Krista said...

Such a sad story. He was so young and life holds so much potential!

Thanks for telling us his story. You never know, maybe one day someone will read your blog and have the answer that is needed to solve this one!

MONICA-LnP said...

sad story with a sad ending,not knowing why or how must be hard on the family.
Congrats on being recognized.

torn blazer said...

I was watching a report on TV the other night and it said that there is over 100,000 missing in the USA and about 1600 missing in Australia.....that's a lot of people.....how may disappear each year?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks all.

@ Torn Blazer/Sean: Good question.

This article provides some numbers on missing persons in the US:

As of December 31, 2008, there were 102,764 active missing person records in NCIC. Juveniles under the age of 18 account for 51,054 (49.7%) of the records and 12,648 (12.3%) were for juveniles between the ages of 18 and 20.

During 2008, 778,161 missing person records were entered into NCIC, a decrease of 4.5 percent from the 814,967 entered in 2007. Missing Person records cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 745,088.

Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record was invalid.


The stats can be a bit confusing for several reasons including that one individual may be missing and recovered multiple times in a year.

I hope that helps.

Amanda West said...

Wow. That's just an all around sad story.

Your posts on this case, though, were very intereting.