It was around 11:15 pm on Thursday, April 4, 1991, when Angela Hammond called her fiancé, Rob Shafer, from a payphone in the parking lot of a Clinton, Missouri supermarket. Rob was babysitting his younger brother that night, and Angie had planned to meet up with him. The 20-year-old was four months pregnant, however, and she called to tell him she was tired and planned to go home and take a bath.
While she was on the phone with Rob, Angie noticed a man was circling the parking lot in an older model green pickup truck. When he stopped the truck near the payphone and got out, Angie quietly described him to Rob, noting he was wearing glasses and had a beard and mustache. He was carrying a flashlight with him and Angie thought he might be looking for something in the parking lot, but then he started walking in her direction.
The man walked up to the payphone next to the one Angie was using and lifted the receiver as if he were making a call but then hung it up immediately. Rob heard Angie ask the man if he needed to use the phone she was on; the man said he would try again later. He started to walk back toward his truck but then stopped and turned around. Angie whispered to Rob that the strange man was heading back in her direction; before Rob could reply, Angie screamed and the line went dead.
Terrified that his fiancé was in trouble, the 18-year-old jumped in his car and headed for the Food Barn parking lot, which was seven blocks from his home. As he raced down the street, he saw a green truck coming toward him. When it passed him, he could hear Angie screaming for help. He quickly turned around and tried to catch up with the truck, which he thought was a 1969 or 1970 Ford. He only made it about a mile when his car’s transmission blew out, stranding him on the side of the road.
Rob made his way to a payphone and called the police, telling them everything that he knew about Angie’s abduction. Although he didn’t get a good look at the driver, he noticed that the green pickup truck had a decal of a nature or fishing scene covering its rear window; he also believed the truck had damage to its left front fender. Police scoured the area for any sign of the truck but were unable to find it.
Officers found Angie’s car in the Food Barn parking lot near the payphone she had used to call Rob, but there was nothing to indicate what had happened to her. Witnesses recalled seeing a white male driving a truck near the payphone shortly before Angie was abducted, but they hadn’t paid much attention to him so were unable to give a detailed description of him.
Angie wasn’t the first young woman to disappear in Missouri that year and investigators worried that they might have a serial k*iller on their hands. In January, Trudy Darby was abducted from a convenience store in Macks Creek, Missouri, while in February, Cheryl Kenney was abducted from Nevada, Missouri shortly after she finished her job at a convenience store. Trudy was later found dead, but Cheryl was still missing. It seemed possible that someone was stalking business parking lots, looking for vulnerable women.
Since detectives immediately knew that Angie had been abducted, the FBI was brought in to assist in the investigation. FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza admitted there was a possibility the cases of the three women were related, but cautioned the public against jumping to conclusions as it was just one of a number of theories investigators were considering.
More than 250 volunteers helped local, state, and federal authorities search for Angie; by Sunday night, they had covered much of Henry County but had been unable to find any clues to her whereabouts. A search for the green pickup truck had also been fruitless.
Rob was extremely concerned for his fiancée’s safety, especially since she was pregnant. He was trying to remain hopeful that Angie would be found alive but admitted it got harder to be optimistic as days went by without any progress in the investigation.
Friends described Angie as a friendly and outgoing young woman who was a lot of fun to be around. A graduate of Montrose High School, she was looking forward to becoming a mother and had already started buying things for the baby. Angie worked most evenings as a night processor at Union State Bank but had off the night she was abducted.
She and her best friend, Kyla Engeman, spent much of Thursday night driving around the small town of Clinton and hanging out with friends in the town square. Shortly after 11:00 pm, the friends had parted ways, with Kyla going home and Angie heading for a payphone so she could call Rob and tell him she was too tired to meet up with him later that night. Angie didn’t have a telephone at home, so she was familiar with the locations of various payphones and used them frequently. She had never expressed any fears for her safety prior to this incident.
Detectives obtained phone records from the payphone and determined that Angie called Rob at 11:13 pm and spoke with him until around 11:45 pm. They hoped to find witnesses who might have seen a green pickup truck in the area while Angie was on the phone.
Clinton Police Detective Damon Parsons admitted that he feared for Angie’s welfare, noting that the chances of finding her alive were slim. He also noted that no one had been eliminated as a possible suspect in the case; investigators were still in the process of interviewing everyone associated with Angie to see if they could think of anyone who might have wanted to harm her.
A few days after Angie went missing, her fiancé and one of her ex-boyfriends both agreed to take polygraph examinations about her disappearance. Bill Barker, a 17-year-old who had dated Angie before she started seeing Rob in late 1990, said he was questioned for about three hours. “I guess they were just trying to clear us as suspects…they were asking why we would do something like this to her.”
Rob was questioned by FBI agents for more than five hours. “They don’t think my story’s any good…I told them everything I know.” Detectives wouldn’t discuss the polygraph results but said that Rob and Bill had been questioned primarily as witnesses who had known Angie well. Eventually, both young men were cleared of suspicion.
On April 15, 1991, detectives enlisted the help of the Missouri Rural Crime Squad. Detective Parsons said they had exhausted all available leads and still had no idea exactly what had happened to Angie; they were hoping the extra resources would help them find Angie or the green pickup truck driven by her abductor.
Angie’s mother, Marsha Cook, said she was happy to learn that the crime squad would be helping detectives. “They’re not sitting still…they’re still working on it, so we’re very pleased. We’ve more or less left the investigation up to the police, and they’ve been wonderful.”
Union State Bank where Angie worked announced that they were offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Angie or the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her disappearance. Another local bank also set up a reward fund; a week after Angie’s disappearance, they had collected $600.
As the search for Angie entered its third week, officials asked for help from the public. Residents in rural areas of west-central Missouri were asked to check their properties, including any outbuildings, for anything suspicious that might help detectives locate the missing woman. They also noted that the owner of the pickup truck might have abandoned it after all the publicity surrounding Angie’s abduction; it was possible it was dumped on someone’s property without their knowledge.
As news of Angie’s disappearance spread, new witnesses reached out to detectives. Two women said they saw Angie using the payphone the night she vanished; they initially thought she was one of their friends so they pulled into the Food Barn parking lot to talk to her. As they got closer, they realized it wasn’t their friend and started to drive away. As they did, they saw a man sitting in a green pickup truck; he leaned back in his seat as if he didn’t want them to see his face. Detectives believed Angie was abducted right after the women drove away.
After interviewing several people who thought they saw the pickup truck driven by Angie’s abductor, detectives announced that they were looking for a 1968 to 1970 Ford truck with a color decal of a fishing scene covering the rear window. The truck was light green on its bottom half and dark green on its top half, with a strip of chrome separating the two colors. The truck also had a white roof, and its license plate may have contained the letters “XY.” The driver was a white male, 20 to 35 years old, with dark, collar-length hair and a mustache. He had a medium build and was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and a baseball cap; the witnesses all said he was dirty in appearance.
A month after Angie was last seen, the reward for information was up to $11,000 as detectives struggled to develop any solid leads in the case. They had followed up on more than 500 tips but none of them brought them any closer to finding Angie. Clinton Police Chief Bob Pattison said detectives weren’t going to give up until Angie was located. “We’re staying right on it. We’re still looking for the vehicle, for the suspect, and for Angela. There’s been nothing really solid, though.”
Angie’s mother was trying to stay positive. “I’m trying to prepare myself for the worst and yet trying to hope for the best. I’m taking it one day at a time…until they find something, I’m trying to stay optimistic.” Hoping to bring in some new leads, Angie’s grandparents, Lloyd and Elizabeth Young, offered an additional $5,000 reward for information about her whereabouts.
Even with the increased reward, Angie’s case soon went cold. Months went by, and investigators admitted they didn’t know anything more than they had on the night Angie disappeared. In October 1991, Marsha admitted that it didn’t look as if her daughter was going to be found alive, but she was still hoping for a miracle. “I know the statistics aren’t good at this point for finding her, but until something happens, you can’t give up.”
Detective Parsons stated that investigators still had no idea what had happened to Angie. “There’s someone out there who has information…they just may not realize it. Until they come forward, or until she’s found, there really is not much more we can do.”
In December 1991, investigators received a tip that Angie had been seen in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. A man named Russell Smith was certain that he had seen the missing woman in September; he claimed she walked out of a drugstore and got into a green truck with a white top and a mural in the rear window. “I know that I saw the girl. I know that for a fact…I never forget a face.”
Detectives said they did not doubt that Russell believed he had seen Angie but they had been unable to confirm the sighting. Since Angie should have had her baby by the time Russell saw her, Canadian authorities distributed Angie’s missing flyer to local hospitals, birthing centers, and infant clothing stores, but no one recalled seeing her.
On January 29, 1992, Angie’s case was featured on an episode of the television show “Unsolved Mysteries.” Detectives — and Angie’s loved ones — were hopeful that the national exposure would bring in some new leads and reinvigorate the investigation, which had been stalled for months.
In the days following the “Unsolved Mysteries” episode, investigators received 387 calls from people who believed they had information about Angie or her abductor. By the end of the week, the number would rise to more than 600. It would take time for detectives to wade through all the tips but they followed up on each one. None of them led to Angie.
In April 1993, police used cadaver dogs to search a farm in Lafayette County, Missouri after a psychic claimed that Angie was buried there. Detectives said they didn’t usually launch searches based on psychic hunches, but they had questioned a man who used to live at the property in the past after receiving a tip he had a truck similar to the one used in Angie’s abduction.
An informant claimed the man had a green pickup truck at one time and it was supposedly buried on the Lafayette County property. Detectives searched the area and found some car parts but nothing that came from a truck. A few weeks after they completed their initial search, a reporter for a Clinton newspaper took a psychic to the property and she claimed Angie had been held there.
Chief Pattison admitted he was skeptical. “I don’t have any faith in psychics. The particular person that’s being looked at as a possible suspect, we’ve 95 percent cleared him…he has a pretty good alibi. He took a lie detector test and we feel like he passed it.” Rumors that Angie’s body was somewhere on the property continued to spread throughout Clinton, however, so investigators decided to bring in cadaver dogs to settle the issue.
Around two dozen investigators from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office and five cadaver dogs spent several hours combing through the 60-acre property. The dogs didn’t react to anything and the search turned up no clues to Angie’s whereabouts.
Angie’s case gradually faded from the headlines as the investigation stalled. Years went by without any significant developments; although detectives continued to receive sporadic tips about the case, they still didn’t know exactly what had happened to the missing woman. Despite the passage of time, Clinton Police Sgt. Paul Abbott insisted the case wasn’t cold. “We’ve been working on this case diligently for the last 18 years.”
Marsha told reporters she knew her daughter was most likely dead but she wanted her body to be found so she could give her a proper burial and obtain some degree of closure. As hard as it would be for her to know Angie had been k*illed, the uncertainty was worse. Marsha praised the detectives working on the case, stating that they were wonderful about keeping her updated on the status of the investigation.
As the 30th anniversary of Angie’s disappearance approached in 2021, the Clinton Police Department released new information that seemed to suggest Angie’s abduction was a case of mistaken identity. The lead centered around a confidential informant who aided police in a sting operation targeting a large narcotics ring. This man, who had been assigned a confidential number to protect his identity during the court case, received a letter postmarked April 4, 1991, at the home where he was staying in Clinton, Missouri. The sender addressed the man by his confidential number and wrote, “We know where your foxy daughter is at…she will see us soon.” This man’s daughter was named Angela.
Detectives believed that Angie might have been abducted after being mistaken for the confidential informant’s daughter. They said they had recently received additional information that made them believe this was a credible theory; an anonymous person had called and given them the names of two people who were possibly involved. They pleaded with this person to contact them again, promising to protect his identity. If this man did reach back out to detectives, they didn’t inform the public.
As of July 2023, Angie remains listed as a missing person. There are many theories about what might have happened to her that April night more than three decades ago, but with little evidence to prove any theory, detectives have been unable to move forward. Some people believe she was abducted by someone who just happened to be driving by and saw her alone in a parking lot and took advantage of her vulnerable state. Others think it was a case of mistaken identity, while still others whisper that her boyfriend was somehow involved — despite the fact that police have said he was cleared as a suspect. Sadly, until someone confesses or Angie’s body is found, we may never know the truth.
Angela Marie Hammond was just 20 years old when she was abducted from a Clinton, Missouri parking lot in April 1991. Angie was four months pregnant at the time and engaged to be married; she had a bright future and a lot to look forward to, but this was stolen from her by a person who has never been identified. Angie has brown eyes and brown hair, and at the time of her disappearance, she was 5 feet tall and weighed 140 pounds. She was last seen wearing black pants, a white button-down shirt with black polka dots, and white sneakers. If you have any information about Angie, please contact the Clinton Police Department at 660–885–5561.