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.
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.
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, 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?
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.
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