Gone Without a Trace: The Heather Teague abduction in Kentucky
In exactly one week, Heather Danyelle Teague will have been missing from Kentucky for a quarter of a century.
Newbuirgh Beach, Spotsville, Kentucky
Teague was sunbathing at Newburgh Beach in Henderson County, Kentucky on August 26, 1995 and a witness, Indiana resident Tim Wathall, was observing the beach area through a telescope from across the Ohio River at approximately 12:45 p.m and saw a Caucasian man approach the 23-year-old.
The abductor allegedly grabbed Teague by the hair and dragged her into the woods off of Newburgh Beach at gunpoint. The suspect was approximately 6'0 and weighed 210 to 230 pounds. He had brown hair and a bushy brown beard. He was wearing jeans and did not have shirt on. He was also reported to be wearing a wig and a mosquito net at the time he abducted Teague.
Authorities searched the Newburgh Beach area later in the day and discovered part of Teague's bathing suit near the alleged abduction site. Additional evidence was also located, but nothing investigators found could lead them to Teague's whereabouts.
Her body has never been found and she was declared legally dead in 2007. Her mother, Sarah, declared her dead so she could access the numerous FBI files on the case.
Marvin Ray "Marty" Dill, a resident of Henderson County, Kentucky, was
pulled over in a routine traffic stop after Teague's disappearance. He drove a red and white Ford Bronco, which was identical to a vehicle a witness reported was parked next to Teague's car on Newburgh Beach.
Authorities discovered a hair resembling Teague's, two guns, two knives, duct tape, rubber gloves and rope in Dill's vehicle at the time of his traffic stop. The truck had bloodstains on the inside tailgate. Dill also strongly resembled the composite sketch made of Teague's abductor.
Investigators received several tips connecting Dill to Teague's case in August 1995 and arrived at his home to question him. Dill reportedly told his wife to leave their residence after becoming alerted to law enforcement's presence. He then committed suicide by shooting himself before officers could enter his home.
Prosecutors compiled available evidence against Dill after his death and brought the information before a grand jury. His was called as a witness during the grand jury phase, but she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer any questions about Teague's abduction.
Another possible suspect in Teague's case is Christopher J. Below, a native of Henderson, Kentucky. He pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 1991 death of Kathern Fetzerand is serving a prison sentence of 11 to 18 years for the crime.
Fetzer's body has never been found, but Below confessed to shooting her and pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter. He is also considered a possible suspect in the disappearances of Mary Kushto, Shaylene Farrell and Kristina Porco.
Investigators believe Below may have attacked other women who physically resembled Fetzer. Both Teague and Fetzer had long dark hair and were about 5'0 and 100 pounds. Below was known to be in the general area when Teague was abducted, but shortly after her disappearance, on the same day Dill committed suicide, he left Kentucky. He, Dill and Teague shared some acquaintances.
Although the witness to Teague's abduction consistently identified Dill and not Below as the kidnapper, authorities believe they have circumstantial evidence to tie Below to the crime. They believe he and Dill may have done it together; perhaps one grabbed Teague and the other drove the getaway car. Below has not been charged in connection with Teague's case, however, due to a lack of conclusive evidence linking him to the crime.
In February 2013, Teague's mother, Sarah, filed a lawsuit against local, state and federal authorities in connection with her daughter's abduction, alleging malfeasance and a cover-up. Her mother claims law enforcement focused on the wrong suspect in Teague's kidnapping and failed to follow up on leads that would have lead the investigation elsewhere.
That lawsuit is still working it's way through the Kentucky legal system.
Teague's disappearance remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved in her case.
If you have any information that might help solve this cold case you are asked to call the Kentucky State Police at 270-826-3312.