Sandy Ross left her home in Apex, North Carolina, around noon on January 8, 1984. The woman, who was 31, was going to get her 15-month-old daughter’s medicine at a nearby pharmacy because she had been sick that morning. She also planned to buy some food. Sandra got in her 1976 Chevrolet Chevelle and drove off. She was going to the pharmacy, which was in the Cary Village Mall. She never came back home, and no one ever saw her again.
Her husband, Robert Ross, started to worry when she didn’t come back after about an hour. He wrapped his daughter up in a blanket to keep her warm, then put her in his car and drove to the Cary Village Mall, where he saw his wife’s car parked in the lot. She wasn’t in any of the stores when we quickly looked, and neither customers nor employees remembered seeing her that day.
Robert called the police to try to report his wife missing because he was afraid something bad had happened. Someone told him that he couldn’t file a missing person report until she hadn’t been seen in at least 24 hours. Robert was angry, so he looked around the area by himself before taking his daughter home. He was tense all night as he waited by the phone for Sandra to call.
When Robert called the police again early Monday afternoon, Sandra was officially put on the missing person list. Deputies from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office helped Cary police search the area around the Cary Village Mall, but they couldn’t find any signs of Sandra. There were no signs of a fight in or around her car, and no one could remember seeing Sandra park or get out of the car for them.
As the manager of the blood bank at Rex Hospital and a nurse, Sandra wasn’t the kind of person who would just disappear. Robert told the police that he first thought she couldn’t get home because her car was having trouble, but when he found the Chevelle, he realised this wasn’t true. He was worried that the fact that deputies would not take a missing person report until 24 hours had passed had slowed down the investigation.
According to Wake County Detective Lt. S.M. Pickett, waiting 24 hours before starting a missing person investigation is a good idea because most adults come back on their own within that time. When Sandra didn’t come back in that time, four deputies were put in charge of her case full-time.
Detective Lt. Pickett said they didn’t have much information. The Chevelle had been searched for fingerprints, but they couldn’t find any hints about where Sandra was. There were no fingerprints that couldn’t be identified in the car, and Sandra hadn’t bought anything before she disappeared. “We need that one thing to point us in the right direction.” It is very frustrating. We have no proof of foul play, but when a missing person case drags on for a long time, investigators start to think more weird things.
Robert had thought there was foul play from the start. He said Sandra was the kind of person who would always call home if she was going to be late; she would never be seen for long periods of time. He was sure that Sandra was being held against her will. He could only pray that she was still alive and would soon be with him and their daughter again.
Detectives said that most people who go missing on their own do so because of problems at home or at work. Sandra, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have any reason to disappear. It looked like she and Robert were getting along fine financially and there were no signs of problems in their marriage. Investigators talked to more than 100 people who knew Sandra, and they all agreed that she would never quit her job or her family. People said she was a great wife, mother, and worker.
The job of Robert was as a financial aid officer at Central Carolina Technical Institute in Sanford, North Carolina. He took time off to help look for his wife. He told her that it was getting harder to stay positive five days after the last time he saw her. “It’s really hard. I haven’t slept well for a long time and walk around the floor a lot. I don’t really want to do anything.” He was always busy handing out flyers for missing people. “I need to do whatever I can to help find my wife. I could not think about work.”
Each of the seven entrances to the Cary Village Mall was blocked off by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the Cary Police Department a week after Sandra went missing. They stopped everyone coming into the mall parking lot for four hours and asked if they had been there the week before. They wanted to find someone who had seen Sandra or anything strange that could help them figure out what happened to her. They talked to almost 800 people, but none of them could help with the investigation.
Detective Lt. Pickett told reporters that the case had been hard to solve because there were no clues at all. “At this point, I wouldn’t say we’re leaning towards kidnapping; we’re looking into every part of the case.” On January 16, 1984, police spent several hours in a helicopter flying over the Cary area, hoping to see something that would help them figure out where Sandra was.
Deputies for Wake County Sheriff John Baker said they couldn’t do their jobs because they didn’t have enough information. “We still don’t know anything more than the first day she was missing.” We haven’t found anything useful.” Investigators didn’t think Sandra had walked away from her life on her own, even though they hadn’t found any signs of foul play. They thought her disappearance was suspicious.
The investigation had been going on for three weeks when Sandra’s family and friends said they were raising money for a reward. Robert said that over $4000 had already been raised. “Perhaps someone, anyone, saw something and is now going to tell.”
Cops from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said they were thinking about talking to a psychic because the investigation wasn’t going anywhere. But Detective Lt. Pickett agreed that they had nothing to lose, even though Sheriff Baker said he didn’t believe in psychics. “They might not give us anything, but we only have nothing right now.” Investigators had searched for and talked to hundreds of people but had not found any useful information.
The reward for information in Sandra’s case had grown to $10,000 by the beginning of February, but the case was starting to slow down. Sandra hadn’t been seen since she left her house to go to the pharmacy, and detectives said they didn’t know if she had ever made it to the shopping centre or if someone had driven her car there and left it there.
At the end of the month since Sandra went missing, Wake County Detective Capt. T.W. Lanier told reporters that there were no new clues in the case. He quickly corrected himself by saying, “That might be wrong because I don’t think we’ve ever had any leads in this case.” We’re still talking to people, but nothing has come together yet.
Someone attacked a woman driver in Cary on March 2, 1984, when he jumped into her car while she was stopped at a red light. He held a knife to her throat and made her sit in the passenger seat. He then took her car and drove it to a rural area west of Cary. There, he and another man who had been following in a different car raped the woman and then ran away. The woman called the police right away. The next day, a man with a knife approached another woman as she walked to her car at a different Cary shopping centre. She got away without getting hurt. Detectives weren’t sure if these cases had anything to do with Sandra’s disappearance, but they couldn’t say for sure that they didn’t. There were sketches of the two suspects made public, but no one was able to identify them.
Sandra’s case went cold after a few months. Robert kept putting up classified ads about the $10,000 reward for information, but all he got were boring phone calls. After a year, he took back the reward offer. Robert moved to Greensboro a few years after his wife disappeared. “After about five years, you just have to go on,” he told reporters. He spent a lot of time with his daughter, but he did start dating again and married again in 1991.
The girl’s mum, Lucille Randall, kept hoping that her daughter would be found. In 1998, she said she remembered something important that happened in the days before Sandra went missing but didn’t want to go into too much detail. “Something in her life did it.” The last time I saw her, she did tell me a little something.
Lucille said she thought about Sandra all the time. Every day, I can’t help but think of her. I hope and pray that the good Lord will tell us something or help us find her.
Sandra Kay Randall Ross was last seen in Apex, North Carolina, in January 1984. She was 31 years old. However, detectives never found any signs of Sandra. They do not believe that she voluntarily left her husband and young daughter, though. Sandra has brown eyes and brown hair. She was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds when she lost her way. Sandra was last seen with a wine-colored purse in her hand and tan corduroy trousers and a burgundy jumper on. Please call the Wake County Sheriff’s Office at 919-856-6800 if you know anything about Sandra’s whereabouts.