Missouri police suspect that a pregnant woman who was kidnapped while speaking to her fiancé on a payphone was the victim of mistaken identity after she may have been confused with the daughter of a law enforcement informant.
Angela Hammond, 20, was abducted from a pay telephone booth while four months pregnant on April 4, 1991 in the town of Clinton, the Clinton Police Department said in a news release.
The case is one of America’s most notorious cold cases and was even featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Cops revealed the theory in the hopes of getting help in cracking the cold case while release a chilling ransom-style note received by a confidential informant who ‘played a crucial role in disrupting a significant illegal narcotics operation.’
The ransom note that points to the mistaken identity theory came from the original police file for the Hammond case but had been ignored because police couldn’t figure out how to connect it to the 1970s model green Ford truck that her fiancé Rob Schafer had tried to chase down after hearing her scream on the phone.
‘The letter was postmarked April 4, 1991, the exact date that Angela Hammond was abducted late that evening. The informant’s wife and his daughter – also named Angela – were living in Clinton, MO at that time,’ cops said.
Angela Hammond, 20, was abducted from a pay telephone booth while four months pregnant on April 4, 1991 in the town of Clinton
The ransom note that points to the mistaken identity theory came from the original police file for the Hammond case
Marsha Cook, Angela Hammond’s mother, told KCTV she ‘was in shock for several days’
Much of the initial investigation focused on a 1970s model green Ford pickup truck
The message, which used clippings of letters from magazines and newspapers, addresses the informant by the number that had been assigned to him to protect his identity before the court proceeding – which police redacted.
‘Hello, [redacted]. We know who you are, [redacted]. People like you deserve what you get. We know where your foxy daughter is at. She will see us soon. Tell [redacted] she has our deepest sympathy in her futher (sic) loss,’ the note reads.
Police told KCTV that investigators have been exploring the new theory for years after originally only revealing the theory to Angela’s mother.
Hammond, known as ‘Angie’ to her family and friends, was a recent graduate of Montrose High School and ‘was well known and popular in the small community of Clinton’ before her disappearance – and there has been no signs of her since.
Hammond’s fiancé Rob Schafer was on the other end and heard her scream after she told him she spotted a creepy car passing her before pulling over near her, KCTV reported. He drove to the payphone and chased the suspected abductor’s pickup until his transmission went out.
Marsha Cook, Angela Hammond’s mother, told KCTV she ‘was in shock for several days.’
‘Took a while to process that could happen in a small town like this. That’s not something that would happen in Clinton,’ she said.
Angela Hammond may have been mistaken for the daughter of police informant in another case
Schafer provided police with details about the 1970’s model Ford pickup truck with a fishing scene in the rear glass, which much of the early investigation centered around. Schafer had an alibi and passed numerous polygraphs, cops noted.
‘Hundreds of leads involving vehicles matching that description were followed up on, but never produced any significant evidence,’ cops said in the release.
Captain Paul Abbott of the Clinton Police Department called the alleged case of mistaken identity ‘pretty incredible.’
When asked if the two women looked alike, he told the outlet: ‘There were striking similarities. Very much so.’
Police said in the news release that the case has not been nailed down just yet – there are still several active and open leads being considered.
However, cops noted that investigators have come across information, that was not provided by police, that lends credibility to the mistaken identity theory ‘and have so far been unable to refute it.’
Cops said that another break in case might be made if an anonymous tipster who recently reached out would get back into contact with them after providing information about a person cops had previously investigated.