Alyne Barrick followed the same routine each night before she went to bed. The 61-year-old would light her last cigarette of the night, empty the wastebasket in her bathroom, and take her dentures out. On the evening of Friday, April 12, 1996, Alyne lit a cigarette, carried a plastic bag into the bathroom, and started to take out her dentures as usual. She was interrupted by something, however, and never had a chance to finish getting ready for bed. Police believe she encountered evil that night, and she was never seen again.
Alyne had been a widow since 1982, and she lived with her Pomeranian, Fifi, in a cabin near Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Her cabin was in a quiet gated community; although there were more than a dozen cabins near hers, Alyne had only two permanent neighbors. All the other cabins were used as seasonal vacation homes and were empty at the time of her disappearance. Alyne’s cabin was located at the end of the isolated gravel road; it wasn’t a place that someone would simply stumble upon as there was very little traffic in the area.
Nothing had seemed to be out of the ordinary that Friday; Alyne had an appointment with her chiropractor that morning, then she spent some time at a local tanning salon. She then stopped by the home of a handyman who worked for her before returning to her cabin.
Around 2:30 pm, Alyne took Fifi for a walk around the neighborhood. She stopped briefly to chat with a teenager she knew who was staying at his parents’ cabin, then continued on her way. This would be the last confirmed sighting of Alyne, although three days would pass before anyone realized she was missing.
That Monday, one of Alyne’s neighbors realized that he hadn’t seen her walking her dog for a few days. Her truck was parked in her driveway as usual, but she didn’t answer the door when he knocked. Concerned, he called the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Department and asked them to do a welfare check. After checking with several of Alyne’s family members, it became clear that no one had heard from Alyne since Friday. Deputies were immediately dispatched to Alyne’s home.
Deputies knocked on the door and got no response; fearing for Alyne’s safety, they broke into the home through her kitchen window. They went from room to room looking for Alyne, but there was no sign of her. Except for Fifi, who was in her crate, the house was empty. As deputies checked Alyne’s house, they found a few disturbing clues that seemed to indicate Alyne had not left her home willingly.
It appeared that Alyne had been in the bathroom when she was interrupted by someone. She had set her cigarette down on a shelf, where it eventually burned out on its own. An unused plastic trash bag was sitting on the sink, indicating that Alyne had not yet had a chance to empty the bathroom wastebasket. Her lower dentures were found soaking in a cup, but her upper dentures were missing.
Bloodstains were found on Alyne’s bedclothes, and her sheets and blankets were wadded up into a ball on the center of the mattress. A glass that she normally kept on her nightstand had been knocked onto the floor. There were traces of blood found on the living room floor as well, and Alyne’s couch appeared to have been knocked askew.
Going by messages that were left on Alyne’s answering machine, detectives determined that whatever had happened to Alyne had likely occurred on Friday night. They canvassed the neighborhood, trying to locate anyone who might have seen anything unusual around the time that Alyne disappeared, but found no one who recalled witnessing anything out of the ordinary.
Investigators spoke with the young man who had seen Alyne walking Fifi on Friday afternoon; he had not noticed anything unusual about her behavior at that time. She was her normal friendly self, chatting with him for a minute or two before continuing on her walk. He told detectives that Alyne had been wearing denim shorts and a blouse when he last saw her; she had been walking along Laurel Ridge Road at that time.
With the help of Alyne’s family, detectives determined that the only items missing from Alyne’s home were her small clutch purse and the fitted sheet that had been on her bed. Although the bedroom was in disarray, it didn’t appear that robbery had been a motive in the crime. None of Alyne’s belongings were missing, and a large amount of cash that she kept in her freezer was untouched. The keys to her truck were in their usual spot inside her home, and the truck itself remained in the driveway.
The Edmonson County Sheriff’s Department originally classified Alyne as a missing person, but they soon turned her case over to the homicide division of the Kentucky State Police. Although the small amount of blood found in Alyne’s home wasn’t enough to indicate that she was dead, detectives didn’t believe that she was still alive.
Several large-scale searches for Alyne were conducted, though officials admitted that the surrounding terrain was difficult to comb through. Helicopters and search dogs were both used to aid in the search, but investigators were unable to find any clues pointing to Alyne’s whereabouts.
Detectives speculated that Alyne had been ki*lled inside her home, likely in the bedroom, then wrapped up in her fitted bedsheet and carried out the door. They believed her body was likely left within a few miles of her house, and they thought it was extremely likely that she knew — or thought she knew — her k*iller.
Alyne’s daughters agreed. They didn’t believe their mother would have opened up her door to anyone she didn’t know, especially as she was in the process of getting ready for bed. The fact that she had already started to take her dentures out indicated to them that she was not expecting any company; Alyne never allowed anyone to see her without her dentures.
Like detectives, Alyne’s family believed Alyne had likely opened up her front door to someone she knew. It appeared that a struggle had broken out in the living room; Alyne’s couch had been knocked aside, likely as she tried to make it to her bedroom. Her daughters noted that Alyne kept a gun inside her nightstand, and she likely made an attempt to get to it but was overpowered.
The family realized from the start that Alyne was most likely dead, and they concentrated all of their efforts on finding her body. More than anything, her four daughters wanted to give her a proper burial; they didn’t believe that she would be able to rest in peace until they had done so. Hoping to bring in some tips, they offered a $5,000 reward for any information that led to the recovery of Alyne. Some tips came in, but unfortunately none of them led them closer to finding Alyne.
Residents of the community were shocked by Alyne’s disappearance and apparent mu*rder, and many of them questioned if they were safe. Although Alyne had a reputation for telling people exactly how she felt without sugarcoating anything, she had no known enemies and was well-liked by her neighbors. She was known by many as “the rose lady” because of her beautiful flower garden; she would often bring bouquets of fresh flowers with her when she went into town to do her banking and hand them out to employees. None of them could believe that someone had wanted to hurt Alyne.
Detectives believed that the person responsible for the crime likely lived in the area, and they were convinced that there were people who had knowledge about the crime. They made several public appeals for information, but if anyone knew who was responsible, they remained quiet.
In early 1997, Kentucky State Police divers conducted several searches of the Green River in Mammoth Cave National Park after a fisherman reported finding human hair caught in his fishing line on two different occasions. It had happened while he was casting his line into the mouth of Echo River Springs; lab testing showed that the hair was human and was consistent with hair found in Alyne’s hairbrush.
Investigators used sonar to scan that area of the lake, and they noted some abnormalities along the underwater banks of the river. Unfortunately, the extremely cold weather and murky water made a search nearly impossible; the conditions were hazardous for divers and the search was called off shortly after it started.
That spring, four dogs from the Kentucky Search Dog Association were brought to the area, and each one appeared to pick up on the scent of human remains both along the shoreline and in the water. Divers from the Jefferson County Police Dive Rescue and Recovery team scoured the river in that area, but were unable to find anything. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, they were certain that Alyne was not in the water.
Investigators believed it was possible that Alyne had been buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the woods that surround her cabin, but despite several searches they were unable to find anything to substantiate this theory.
The search for Alyne has been going on for more than 25 years now, and her family remains committed to finding her body and bringing her home. There have been numerous physical searches conducted over the years, but none of them have brought investigators any closer to determining exactly what happened to Alyne that April night.
Alyne’s family still believes that she knew her k*iller; they are certain that the handyman she had hired had something to do with her de*ath. Detectives have interviewed this man, whose name they have declined to release, but state that they have no evidence linking him to the crime. They do believe that there are people in the area who know more than they admit, and urge them to come forward so Alyne’s family can finally bring her home.
Alyne Barrick was 61 years old when she went missing in 1996. She has green eyes and gray hair, and at the time of her disappearance she was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. She had several surgical scars on her back, and was wearing an upper denture plate when she went missing. If you have any information about Alyne, please contact the Kentucky State Police at 270–782–2010.