Kimberly Arrington was in the mood for something sweet. It was around 5:00 pm on October 30, 1998 when the 16-year-old told her mother that she was going to walk to a nearby CVS Pharmacy to get some candy and a soda. As she left her Montgomery, Alabama home, she promised that she would be back shortly. Kim was last seen walking towards CVS; it’s unclear if she ever made it that far. Kim never returned home that day, and she was never seen again.
Kim was a sophomore at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery; she was an excellent and well-behaved student who never got into any kind of trouble. She enjoyed school, and was especially interested in learning more about computers. She loved children, and would often babysit kids in the neighborhood as a way of making some extra spending money.
Kim’s friends described her as someone who was fun to be around and always in a good mood. She was friendly to everyone she met and tended to see the good in everyone; this was a potentially dangerous trait as it might have led to her trusting the wrong person.
When Kim failed to return home by 5:45 pm, her parents started to get worried. Kim was usually extremely reliable; if she said she was going to walk to CVS and then come straight home, that was exactly what she would do. She wasn’t the type of teenager who would change her plans without calling to let her parents know where she would be. They spent several hours searching the neighborhood for any sign of Kim, but by 8:00 pm they were convinced that something had happened to their daughter. They called the Montgomery Police Department and reported Kim missing.
Although Kim’s parents were certain that the teenager had been abducted, police weren’t so sure. Investigators canvassed the route Kim would have taken from her home to CVS, but found nothing to indicate that any sort of struggle had taken place; there were no disturbances found in the grass and none of Kim’s belongings were located. Detectives believed that Kim had likely gone off with some friends and lost track of time. They started contacting Kim’s friends, but they were unable to find anyone who had seen her that day.
As the night wore on without any word from Kim, detectives started to re-evaluate their runaway theory. Kim had never stayed out late without first telling her parents where she was going to be; even if she had detoured on her way home to visit a friend, there was no way she would have remained there for hours without calling her parents.
Detectives re-canvassed the route Kim should have taken to CVS, knocking on doors and interviewing residents. None of them recalled seeing Kim that afternoon, and no one reported hearing any sort of scuffle or disturbance.
Kim had intended to walk to the CVS Pharmacy located on the corner of Forest Avenue and Third Street, but investigators were unable to determine if she ever made it that far. The pharmacy had no surveillance cameras in 1998, and none of the employees remembered seeing Kim in the store that day.
Kim’s father, Walter Arrington, believed that his daughter had been abducted. He noted that Kim was extremely friendly and trusting; if someone had pulled over and asked her for directions or some other kind of help, she most likely would have approached the vehicle willingly. It would have been relatively easy for someone to then grab her and force her to get into their car; Walter feared this was exactly what had happened.
Detectives interviewed dozens of people, including Kim’s family members, friends, classmates, and all residents who lived between Kim’s home and the pharmacy. They also compiled a list of all known sex offenders in the area and interrogated each one. Investigators were never able to find anyone who recalled seeing Kim on the day she disappeared; they have no idea how far from home Kim was when she ran into trouble.
Officials made several public appeals for information; they were hoping that someone might have witnessed something unusual that might help them break the case, but they received few tips. Most of the tips that were called in were nothing more than rumors and speculation, but detectives followed up on each one. Unfortunately, they were never able to develop any solid leads.
Detectives admitted that they had no potential suspects or person of interest in Kim’s disappearance, and the investigation soon stalled. In an effort to keep information flowing, Kim’s parents hired a private investigator to help track down leads. Despite their best intentions, the case slowly went cold.
A year after Kim went missing, the Montgomery Police Department asked the FBI for assistance in determining what had happened to the teenager. Although the FBI found nothing to indicate that foul play had taken place, they didn’t believe that Kim had voluntarily run away from her family. There were rumors that Kim had run off with an older man, but detectives found absolutely no evidence of this and didn’t believe Kim would have been able to hide something like this from her family. Her disappearance was a baffling one; they were unable to conclude that Kim was dead but there was nothing to suggest that she was still alive. Her case was an enigma.
Kim’s family was haunted by her disappearance. Kim was the middle sibling in a family of five children, and had been close with her brothers and sisters. Her younger sister, Jennifer, had an especially hard time dealing with her loss. Kim had asked Jennifer to walk to the CVS with her that day, but Jennifer hadn’t felt like walking and opted to remain home. If she had gone with Kim, she may never have disappeared.
Kim’s mother, Shirley, never fully recovered after Kim went missing. Her health remained poor and she died in 2005; friends believe she died of a broken heart. While she was on her dea*thbed, she made her husband promise that he would never stop looking for their daughter. Walter has kept this promise. He can still clearly recall the last conversation he had with Kim; he was leaving for work that morning and Kim was happily chattering about her plans to use her babysitting money to buy Christmas gifts for her family members. Despite the fact that Christmas was still two months away, Kim was already excited about the presents she planned to purchase. Walter had promised he would take Kim shopping at some point; there was no way he could have known that he would never see his daughter again.
Although detectives were unable to obtain Kim’s DNA, they collected DNA samples from Walter and one of Kim’s sisters. These samples have been submitted to the national database and are available for comparison with any unidentified bodies matching Kim’s description. Although her family has held on to the hope that Kim is still alive, they have prepared themselves for the possibility that she was ki*lled.
Jennifer gave birth to a daughter in 2004 and named her after her missing sister. She has told her daughter all about her missing Auntie Kim and hopes that Kim might one day get to meet her niece.
A psychic once told Walter that Kim was alive and well, with two children of her own but no memory of her life before she was abducted at age 16. Although he knows that this is an unlikely scenario, Walter remains committed to finding his daughter and bringing her home.
Kimberly Arrington was 16 years old when she went missing in 1998. She has brown eyes and black hair, and at the time of her disappearance she was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing light blue Levi’s jeans, a gray Bugle Boy shirt, and white Reebok sneakers with gray trim. She was also wearing a gold ring containing an emerald with two diamonds on each side, and a gold double-heart ring with a diamond. She has a small surgical scar on the left side of her abdomen. If you have any information about Kim, please contact the Montgomery Police Department at 334–241–2790.