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Married into the wrong family; The tragic life and death of Gravel Switch, Kentucky's Kara Rigdon

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Kara Denora Rigdon was last seen on Beech Fork Road in Gravel Switch, Kentucky on July 17, 2010.

The 27-year-old said she was meeting a friend and would be back in a few hours. At 2:00 a.m. on July 18, she spoke on the phone with her mother and said she'd been home shortly.

She never arrived home and never showed up for work later that morning. She has never been heard from again.

The car Kara was driving, a silver 1999 Pontiac G-G with the Kentucky license plate number 381-LAE, was found abandoned on Bluegrass Parkway, westbound, on July 25.

It had three-quarters of a tank of gas and the windows were rolled down.

Two months after Kara's disappearance, police arrested her estranged husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law on unrelated charges. Authorities stated the investigation in Kara's case had uncovered evidence leading to the charges.

Her father-in-law, William Joseph "Joey" Rigdon, was charged attempted murder, first-degree arson, criminal mischief and possession of destructive devices in connection with a 2004 incident where a trailer caught fire and exploded.

Kara's husband, William Robert "Bobby" Rigdon, was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and being a persistent felony offender.

Her sister-in-law, Wendy Rigdon, was charged with intimidating a witness. Several days after the three arrests, Bobby's twin brother William David "Billy" Rigdon turned himself in to the police to face charges of possessing stolen property. Wendy was his wife.

Bobby and his twin brother William "Billy" Rigdon were already facing charges in another case at the time of their September 2010 arrests. In 2005, they allegedly kidnapped a teenage girl whose family lived in the trailer Joey allegedly blew up the following year.

The Rigdon family were well-known to the police and had been jailed several times. Following the arrests, police began excavating Joey's property on Sulphur Springs Road.

In 2012, Bobby shot and killed Wendell Gleason Pyles at Pyles's place of work in Columbia, Kentucky. The prosecution theorized that Bobby, a member of a local motorcycle club, killed Pyles, a former member of the same club, at the behest of the club's president, David Salyers, and to show his commitment to the club.

Witnesses testified that Pyles had borrowed money from Salyers and not repaid it. Salyers wanted Pyles dead, but couldn't commit the crime himself because he was partially paralyzed from a prior stroke, so he asked Bobby to do it. DNA from a cigarette butt found at the crime scene was matched to Bobby.

Salyers was convicted of complicity to murder in 2014 and sentenced to twenty years in prison. In 2015, Bobby was convicted of murder and sentenced to 38 years in prison.

Kara and Bobby had divorced in 2003, then reconciled in December 2009.

They separated in June 2010, the month before her disappearance.

They had two children.

Her case remains unsolved, but foul play is suspected.

If you can shed any light on this almost ten-year-old mystery you are asked to call the Kentucky State Police at 800-222-5555 or 270-384-4796.

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