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The Disappearance of Amanda Jones

The Disappearance of Amanda Jones

 

Case File Overview

 

On August 14th, 2005, twenty-six-year-old Amanda Jones disappeared from Festus, Missouri. Amanda was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she vanished.

After attending church, Amanda meet Bryan Westfall, the alleged father of her unborn child, at the Hillsboro Civic Center at around 1:00 PM. The civic center is located on Highway 21 in central Jefferson County. Roughly fifteen minutes into their meeting, Amanda took a call on her cellphone from her former sister-in-law. This was the last time anyone heard from Amanda.

Later that same night, Amanda’s family became concerned when she did not answer their calls. While searching for Amanda, her family and friends found her blue 1997 Pontiac Sunfire unlocked and abandoned in the community center parking lot where the meeting had taken place that afternoon.

Amanda’s family reported her missing to the local police. When the authorities searched her vehicle, there was no trace of Amanda, or her keys, purse, cellphone, and wallet.

Despite local law enforcement and the FBI investigating hundreds of leads, Amanda remains missing.

Amanda is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 215-225 pounds, and has brown hair with blonde highlights and blue eyes. She loves the colour pink, and was last seen wearing a pink sleeveless top, a pink and white flowered skirt, and pink sandals; she also was carrying a pink purse.

 

Case File Theories

 

Walked away to start a new life

As is often suggested in missing person cases, some people believe that Amanda ran off to start a new life. I find this highly unlikely. Not only did Amanda have a close and loving relationship with her then four-year-old daughter Hannah, but also Amanda and her family were thrilled about the arrival of her second child, Hayden Lucas. Amanda also enjoyed her job as a loan administrator at Eagle Bank and “was well-loved by everyone who knew her.” Detective Doc Coombs of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, an investigator who has worked the case since 2011, is adamant that Amanda did not leave of her own volition. Detective Coombs said, “After many years in law enforcement I am seldom surprised by human behavior. However, I am sure Amanda did not ‘just walk away’ or wander off. I think something real bad happened to Amanda or she would have returned to her family.” Given all the above, I just cannot buy into the idea that Amanda left her seemingly happy life willingly.

Stranger abduction

Could a stranger have come upon Amanda after her meeting with Westfall and abducted her? Perhaps. However, there is absolutely no mention of this possibility by law enforcement. And no report of any evidence of a struggle at the scene. Although I guess it is possible that Amanda could have been snatched from the busy parking lot of a civic center in broad daylight and not one witness reported seeing anything, I think this is about as likely as Amanda leaving her loved ones to start a new life somewhere.

Scott Jones

Was Amanda’s ex-husband Scott Jones involved in her disappearance, perhaps motivated by the desire to get custody of their daughter Hannah? After Amanda vanished, Hannah did go to live in St. Louis with Jones. Amanda and Jones married in 1999, separated in 2000, and divorced in 2002. I guess this theory has more meat to it than the ones above; however, it seems odd to me that he would wait three years before deciding to act. Also, there are no reports of any acrimonious custody battles over Hannah, which I think points to Jones’ lack of involvement. Detectives interviewed Jones about Amanda’s disappearance, and stated that he was cooperative and is not considered a suspect. I think we can cross Jones off the list.

Bryan Westfall

Bryan Westfall, the alleged father of Amanda’s unborn child, is considered by many people to be the prime suspect in Amanda’s disappearance. Not only is Westfall the last person known to have seen Amanda, but also he is said to have been far from excited about his impending fatherhood. In fact, Amanda’s parents say that Westfall wanted so little to do with the baby that he offered to pay for Amanda to get an abortion. He apparently had a long-time girlfriend when he and Amanda had connected.

Amanda and Westfall met at a Christmas party in 2004, but the relationship did not last long, and they were not in contact until February when she called to let him know she was pregnant. In early August, Amanda called Westfall and they decided to meet in a few days to discuss his role in the baby’s life and what, if any, type of financial support she could expect from him. The pair met at the civic center at 1:00 PM to hash out the details.

Westfall has told authorities that he and Amanda had an easy-going conversation for about an hour, at which point she returned to her car and he went back to some volunteer work he was doing at the civic center. Then he claimed that he saw Amanda three hours later parked in a different area of the parking lot and still talking on her phone.

Numerous aspects of Westfall’s story have been called into question. For instance, the police contend that Amanda’s cellphone records indicate that she did not receive or make a call after her quick phone call with her former sister-in-law. Even more, the authorities “find it inconceivable that anyone, especially a woman 34 weeks pregnant, could sit in a car on a hot and humid, August day, for three hours.” It is also important to note that the air conditioning in Amanda’s car was broken at the time of her disappearance.

Initially, Westfall cooperated with the police, although he did hire a lawyer and has since been unwillingly to participate in the investigation. The authorities have described Westfall as a “person of interest” in Amanda’s case since the very beginning, and Amanda’s family is convinced that he is responsible for her disappearance.

What do you think happened to Amanda?

Photo of missing person Amanda Jones

Source: Daily Journal

Amanda’s loved ones continue to seek answers in this tragic case. Her mother, Bertha Propst, explained, “To lose someone in a way like this, you don’t have closure. Deep down in your soul, it eats at you. You don’t have the answers – you don’t know the who, what, when, where and why.”

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the location of Amanda and her (unborn) child, and/or for information leading to the identity of the person(s) involved with their disappearance. If you have any information about this case, please call the FBI’s St. Louis field office at 314-589-2500.

Related Reading

Amanda Kay Jones – FBI Missing Persons file overview

“True Crime: She disappeared when she was 8 months pregnant”KSDK article

“Ex-husband of missing pregnant woman dies”Southeast Missourian article

“Pregnant woman goes missing after attending church: Family pleads for info” – Crime Watch Daily article

“10 years later, pregnant mom’s disappearance remains unsolved”CBS News article

Interested in missing person cases? Check out the disappearance of Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso and the vanishing of DA Ray Gricar.

 

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14 Comments

  1. David David

    Westfall is somehow responsible. In a related article I located: “Prior to meeting Westfall, Jones told her parents that she was going to have lunch with Westfall at Off the Hook restaurant located about 6.5 miles south of the Civic Club. Westfall told police that he and Jones stayed in the Civic Club parking. However, Jones’ mother spoke with Westfall after her daughter’s disappearance and claims that Westfall told her that they had, in fact, had lunch.” Inconsistencies in his story are not adding up.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi David, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I also saw the report of the rumoured lunch and how Westfall’s story appears to have changed. You are very right that the inconsistencies definitely don’t add up! Here’s hoping that Amanda’s loved one’s can get some answers soon.

    • I suspect, strongly, that he killed her. Has he ever told a wife or girlfriend that he did? Has he ever taken a lie detector test?

      • Christine Christine

        Hi Audrey. Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. Both good questions. I hope if he tells someone something they come forward. I don’t give much credence to lie detector tests, but I guess you never know where the answers might lead the police. Have a great weekend.

  2. Robyn Robyn

    I have read and watched a few pieces on this story. I can’t believe how Westfall lawyered up and no more questions answered. How can this be when he told lies, was the last person to see Amanda and had motive. The cops should have swooped with cadaver dogs on his property, his car, his parent’s house and left no stone unturned. It’s not good enough, those poor parents and Hannah left with no closure. Then I read Hannah’s father died too. Do you know if she stsyed with the step mother or went to Amanda’s parents to live?

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Robyn. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I couldn’t agree with your insights more. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be when it’s pretty clear who killed Amanda but it just can’t be proved in a court of law. Last I read, Hannah was living with her grandparents (Amanda’s parents) and was 17. They raised her after Amanda disappeared. A heartbreaking case all around. Here’s hoping Amanda will one day be found.

  3. Gayle Toms Gayle Toms

    I am curious if it has been turned over to a cold case team or if the law enforcement investigating in 2005 are still in office or employed in that jurisdiction. If the previous investigation team was afraid to buck Westfalls family maybe a new team would take more intiative. Seems to me they had enough inconsistencies in his statements for cause to pursue a warrant to search the family farm.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Gayle. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I couldn’t agree more. A fresh set of eyes on this case could work wonders. Here’s hoping that one day soon Amanda’s loved ones can have at least some sense of closure.

  4. Lisa Lisa

    Hi Christine, Thanks so much for writing such a great article. I am also investigating this case for a missing persons podcast I help run. I am hopeful that the podcast will plead to those who know more to come forward. The FBI has an anonymous tip line and if anyone knows anything, they don’t have to say who they are. This is someones loved one, a mom, a daughter, a sister, someone has to know what happened. I hope that there can be something done. I am surprised his lawyer is that good that they were only able to obtain limited searches. This was a pregnant woman with a medical condition. The lack of urgency in the investigation is what disturbs me so much. They should have taken her missing seriously from the start. No pregnant woman would take off, on foot, in the heat and not be found again.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. And of course thank you for your kind words! I’m happy to hear that you liked the article and found it useful for your research. Which podcast are you involved with? I’d love to give it a listen. I completely agree that the lack of urgency in Amanda’s case is disturbing. I sure hope more was and is happening behind the scenes that we just aren’t being informed of.

      • Lisa Lisa

        Hi Christine, thank you for your interest! In my work too. I co-host the Podcast called “Missing Persons Cases Network” that is available on Anchor & Spotify. I did the script and produced the audio for them. I also run my own podcast on True Crime where I do everything on my own. That podcast is called True Crime Corner and I also have a Youtube Channel under that name I started recently.
        We interviewed Berta and Hugh on Friday and they’re such amazing people, I can only imagine how wonderful Amanda was if she was raised by these two. Their story is one of a devastated family that desperately wants answers and they’re not getting any support from law enforcement. Not only was this investigation botched from day one, but 13 years later nothing has changed.
        I’m working on that audio from the interview today and will be uploading it to both podcasts and the YouTube channel this week.
        Praying for justice for Amanda and baby Hayden.

        • Christine Christine

          Thanks for the info, Lisa! I’ll be sure to check out the shows. Let me know when the one on Amanda is up and I can add a link to the Related Reading (and listening) section. That must have been quite a heart wrenching interview. Thank you for all the work you do to shine a light on cold cases!

  5. Lisa Craven Lisa Craven

    Hi Christine,
    Here’s the link to the video on YouTube that has the same audio as the podcast but has supported images with what we discuss.
    https://youtu.be/Ni4W9L9XWpM

    And here’s the link to the podcast. I’ll give you the RSS feed because it’s available on multiple platforms. Part 2 is the interview with Bertha and Hugh.
    https://anchor.fm/s/3292ae0/podcast/rss

    Thanks again!
    Lisa Craven

    • Christine Christine

      Thanks, Lisa! I can’t wait to listen. I appreciate you sharing the links on the site.

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