Bobbi Ann Campbell Missing: Daughter Seeks Closure In 19-Year-Old Case

10/16/2013 05:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 27, 2014
  • David Lohr Senior Crime Reporter, The Huffington Post
Stephanie Cook

It has been nearly 19 years since anyone has seen Utah mom Bobbi Ann Campbell.

She was last seen in Salt Lake City in December 1994, when she dropped her 5-year-old daughter off at a friend's house. The young mother said she would return after she picked up her paycheck from work and purchased groceries. She never came back.

Campbell, then 24, was there one minute and gone the next. She left no immediate trace and no trail to follow.

"I hope deep down that she's still alive, but I have my doubts," Campbell's daughter, Stephanie Cook, now 24, told The Huffington Post. "She took me everywhere with her. I don't think she would have left me. I don't see how she could just leave. Her paycheck was never picked up."

Cook said she still remembers the last time she saw her mother.

"It was Dec. 27, 1994. We were living with my great-grandparents in Draper, Utah," she said. "It was just like any other day. We woke up, did laundry and she put Christmas presents in the car to deliver to her friends in downtown Salt Lake City."

According to Cook, her great-grandmother had lent her mom $10 for gas before they went to see her mom's friend in Salt Lake City.

"I remember when she dropped me off I threw a fit because I didn't want her to leave me," Cook said. "I'm pretty sure I told her I hated her right before she left. I remember falling asleep in a little window chair waiting for her and she never came back."

Campbell's grandparents reported her missing to police, but the case quickly went nowhere. According to police records, Campbell was supposed to appear in court in Lehi on Jan. 9, 1995. Someone at the courthouse later told the lead detective she had showed up, so the missing person report was closed.

The next development did not occur until nearly a year later.

"Her car was found almost a year later, in a neighborhood by the Jordan River in Salt Lake City," Cook said. "The car was unlocked and her purse, makeup and the Christmas presents that she had planned on giving to her friends were found inside. The $10 that my great-grandmother gave her for gas the day she disappeared was also found inside the car."

Roughly 14 years went by before Cook convinced authorities to re-open the investigation into her mother's disappearance. Since that time, Salt Lake Unified Police Detective Todd Park has been investigating the case.

Speaking with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Park said he is not completely convinced that Campbell appeared in court back in 1995 -– the alleged appearance that prompted the initial missing person case to be closed.

"The detective at the time [had] contacted the court and they evidently said she had appeared, so he closed the missing person investigation at that point," Park said.

"I don't want to hang my hat on that. I don't want to just say she was definitely there because I don't have any verification other than the detective making a phone call. [I also don't know] if the person he spoke with would have known for sure that she had been there."

Unfortunately, there are no records available from that time period to indicate whether Campbell had, in fact, appeared in court. That answer is as allusive as the missing mom's current whereabouts.

Park said that while the case is a tough one, it is still an active investigation.

"We do get phone calls on it from time to time and we recently compared some remains that were located, but it wasn't her," the detective said.

CASE PHOTOS: (Story Continues Below)

Bobbi Ann Campbell Missing

Cook did manage to solve one mystery last year, when she tracked down a brother she had never met.

Cook was only 12 months old when her mom put her baby brother up for adoption. Over the years, Cook collected clues about his adoptive parents and in January 2012, she found him in Alabama.

Thomas Linton knew he was adopted, but had no idea his biological mother was missing until Cook reached out to him.

"I was in shock," Linton told KSL.com in February 2012. "At first, I didn't know what to think, but I really want to ... find out what happened to my birth mom."

The siblings met for the first time in March 2012.

"We reunited and are now best friends," Cook told HuffPost.

However, 2012 was bittersweet for Cook. It was also the same year her great-grandfather passed away.

"My mom's grandfather used to drive around Salt Lake City looking for her," Cook said. "His heart was broken the day she went missing. The day he passed away he didn't remember who any of us in the family were, but [he] kept asking, 'Where's Bobbi? What happened to Bobbi?'"

Campbell is not the only piece of the puzzle that is missing from Cook's life. She also hopes to someday discover the identity of her father.

"I don't know who my dad is," she said. "My mom is not here to tell me and I don't know who to ask."

Cook said she has spoken with old friends and boyfriends of her mom's, but has yet to identify who her father is.

"It's been really hard," she said. "My whole life I've just been trying to find my family. I've done everything I can. Someone out there knows what happened and needs a reminder that she needs to be found."

If you believe you have information concerning this case, please contact Salt Lake Unified Police at 801-743-5900. Cook has also created the "Missing Bobbi Ann Campbell" Facebook page to share information on the case.

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