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.
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.
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.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?
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...
The answers to these questions are unclear, and the case remains an unsolved homicide.
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.
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.
For the previous posts in this series, click here.