Who was Angela Hammond? Ransom note suggests pregnant woman abducted 30 years ago case of 'mistaken identity'
Authorities shared a ransom-style note they obtained from an unnamed informant, dating back to April 4, 1991 -- the same evening Hammond was kidnapped from a payphone booth
It has now emerged that the notorious abduction of 20-year-old Angela Hammon in 1991 may have been a case of "mistaken identity." Authorities probing her disappearance shared a ransom-style note they obtained from an unnamed informant, dating back to April 4, 1991 -- the same evening Hammond was kidnapped from a payphone booth in Clinton, Missouri.
At the time, the informant's wife and daughter -- who is also named Angela -- were reportedly living in Clinton. Now, police are wondering whether his daughter may have been the intended target considering they had the same name and are said to have looked "strikingly similar."
"This Angie’s father had been involved in a case where he was a confidential informant," Clinton Police Captain Paul Abbott explained. "This was a pretty significant narcotics case that probably disrupted some pretty significant drug business. Revisiting the case file again for the third or fourth time we ran across this lead from very early on in the investigation."
The ransom note reportedly read as follows: "Hello no (redacted). We know you you are no (redacted) people like you deserve what you get. We know where your foxy daughter is at (sic) she will see us soon. Tell (redacted) she has our deepest sympathy in our further loss. Good by (sic) (redacted)."
Hammond was four months pregnant when she was abducted from the phone booth. She was reportedly on the phone with her boyfriend Rob Shafer at the time and was reportedly perturbed by a filthy bearded man hanging around the booth.
Shafer heard Hammond's screams as the man entered the box and kidnapped her. He immediately rushed out to try and save his girlfriend and reportedly drove past her as she was driven off in a green Ford truck.
While attempting to turn around and chase the vehicle, Shafer broke the transmission of his car. He had to watch his pregnant girlfriend being driven away to her presumed death. Authorities haven't found a trace of her since.
Last month, however, Clinton police unearthed the biggest piece of evidence in decades, suggesting Hammond was snatched because she was mistaken for someone else. The bombshell ransom note that corroborates the 'mistaken identity' theory reportedly came from the original police file for the Hammond case.
According to the Daily Mail, it had been ignored because authorities couldn't determine how it was connected to the 1970s model green Ford truck that was used in Hammond's abduction.
"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," police said.
Speaking to KCTV, investigators said they had been exploring the new theory for years and had originally only revealed it to Angela's mother Marsha. Endearingly known as 'Angie' to her loved ones, Hammond was a recent graduate of Montrose High School and "was well known and popular in the small community of Clinton" before she vanished without a trace.
Her boyfriend Schafer furnished details about the 1970's model Ford pickup truck to authorities, telling them how it had a fishing scene in the rear glass. Cops noted how the devastated lover had a strong alibi and passed several polygraphs. "Hundreds of leads involving vehicles matching that description were followed up on, but never produced any significant evidence," authorities said in a release.
Clinton Police Captain Paul Abbot said the alleged case of mistaken identity was "pretty incredible" and admitted that the two women had "striking similarities." In the press release, police said the case hadn't been closed just yet as there were still numerous active and open leads that were being probed.
However, they noted that investigators had come across more information that gave credibility to the mistaken identity theory, "and have so far been unable to refute it." Authorities believe they might catch another break in the case if an anonymous tipster, who recently reached out to them, would get back in touch after having shared information about a person who was previously being investigated.