Family Hopes For New Clues In Girl’s Disappearance
Maury County Detective Sends DNA To Be Analyzed
Feb 2 2010
CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. --http://www.wsmv.com/news/22417580/detail.html#A birthday is usually a time to celebrate, but for a family in Maury County, it's a reminder of what they're missing.
Amber Cates was 16 when she disappeared nearly six years ago. Now, there's hope a hairbrush might help find her.
A lot of things go through my mind. Some good, some not so good,” said Brenda James, Cates’s sister. “At first I thought she just ran away, but I don't think that now."
James had just gained custody of her younger sister in April 2004. She recalled the last day she saw her.
“She was just anxious that day about going to her mom's. She left from her mom's and went to town with somebody and never came back,” she said.
Investigators said Amber ran away with James Gordon. He told detectives he left Cates with a man known as "California."
“I tracked him down to a federal prison in Talladega, Ala.," said Maury County Sheriff Detective Jerry Williams, who picked up the case in 2007. “I believe that there are people that she stayed with or hung with or so-called her friends that know where Amber's at or what happened to Amber."
“We have gotten DNA sample from her mother, and we have also gotten a hairbrush that was hers from her sister's house,” said Williams.
That DNA will be entered into a national database and compared to unidentified remains found across the country.
“All of the unidentified people that fall into her category -- as far as weight, height, age group -- could be tested against that, because she could be anywhere," Williams said.
So for Amber's 22nd birthday, her sister will wait and pray for a new piece of evidence to rekindle her hope.
“If she don't want to come home, that is fine; just let us know,” said James.
The DNA was sent to a lab at the University of North Texas. It will be analyzed and matched to remains, but Williams said it could be this summer or even the fall before they hear anything.
Teen Missing For 6 Years; FBI To Help In Case
Renewed Effort Hopes To Develop New Leads In 16-Year-Old's Disappearance
April 9 2010
COLUMBIA, Tenn. --http://www.wsmv.com/news/23106016/detail.htmlThe FBI is helping in a renewed effort to find a teenager from Maury County who has been missing for six years. Since Amber Cates, 16, vanished, detectives have investigated for years but turned up nothing.
If she's not on this earth, then she's with our Maker and she's OK,” said Trudy Cates Currington.
Amber’s mother, Trudy Cates Currington, doesn't know where her daughter could be. Police questioned the last person who was with her and another man in prison, but it did not lead to any arrests.
“We were close. She wouldn't have left me without a word,” said Currington.
Sheriff Enoch George said Maury County is now teaming up with the FBI to work on cold cases, and the first case is Amber’s disappearance.
The FBI has a lot more sophisticated equipment then we have,” said George. “I feel like the more agencies that pull together to work to keep law and order in Maury County, I feel like we'd be better off.”
Another part of this new partnership will also include a billboard from the FBI which will be used to solicit information about Amber's case.
“There are a lot of cases all over the nation that they really put a lot of emphasis on, and Amber's case has had some, but it needs to be not just for me and my family. It’s great it’s first, but there are a lot of families in the same situation,” said Trudy.
Maury County detectives sent DNA from Amber's mother to a lab in Texas to see whether her remains might be in any database of bodies that have been recovered.