Before 1980, 14-year-old Alma Violet Root and her elder sister Laura Huff were placed in foster care for a number of years. After the two girls fled their home to avoid being s*exually abused, they were placed in foster care. By then, a third sister had also left the family.
Alma’s father was found guilty of se*xually abusing both Alma and Laura and received a prison sentence. By the time Alma vanished, he was still a prisoner. Even though they frequently had to stay in different foster homes, the two sisters were very close.
The sisters were reunited and moved in with their grandmother in Applegate, California, shortly before Alma vanished. Last seen on January 1, 1980, was Alma. That evening, she was picked up from her grandmother’s house by her 25-year-old boyfriend, Scott Petschek.
After visiting his grandmother’s house for a while, Scott claims that Alma asked him to take her to her aunt’s house in Rio Linda, California. After delivering her to her desired location, he proceeded to his workplace at McClellan Air Force Base. When he returned to Rio Linda after work to get Alma, she was gone.
Scott told the authorities that, given Alma’s history as an occasional hitchhiker and runaway, he did not find her disappearance to be unusual. Investigators were informed by her family that she didn’t have an aunt who resided in Rio Linda. After going missing, she might have travelled with an unidentified male companion.
Alma’s past as a runaway led police to assume that she had departed voluntarily in 1980. Laura had always felt that this was not the case; she said that Alma wouldn’t have abandoned her and that they had always fled together. Laura says Scott told her she would never find Alma when she asked him what had happened.
When Alma’s father approached the police in 1991 to inquire about the whereabouts of his daughter, following his release from prison, the case was reopened. After re-interviewing Scott, the authorities also looked in the well behind his grandmother’s house, but they turned up nothing noteworthy.
It’s interesting to note that Scott was found guilty of child molestation sometime after 1980 and is currently listed as a se*x offender. He maintains his innocence and has never been charged in Alma’s case. Regarding Alma’s fate, not much is known. Her mother and her two sisters are still living, but her father and grandparents have passed away. Her case is still unresolved, and some authorities continue to label it as a runaway. Her preferred middle name is Violet.