Jan 5, 2017

Cold Case: What happened to Amber Barker?

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: On the evening of December 18, 1997, 10-year-old Amber Renee Barker was reported missing by her family. The child had last been seen at around 6:00 that evening, riding her bike from a friend's residence -- on her way back home. Suffice it to say, the child never made it to her intended destination, which kicked off a high-profile search for her that has still come out fruitless all these many years later. It's been two decades since this child was reported missing, but the circumstances remain as suspicious as they were on that fateful evening in 1997.

The last time Amber's mother spoke to her was just moments before she embarked from her friend's home, on her bicycle. She had phoned her mom to tell her that she was on her way home, and that she would be there soon. However, after some time had passed, it had become evident that something happened to the 10-year-old Oklahoma City girl. Authorities, and loved ones, searched for the child throughout the night, upon the initial report of her disappearance, but this search came out fruitless.

It wasn't until the following morning that the first piece of evidence in Amber Barker's case made itself apparent. Her bicycle was located, abandoned, in Denniston park. This was approximately one mile from the child's home. The discovery of the bike, as disturbing as it was, was not the worst of the evidence gathered in the days following Amber's disappearance. Detectives also located articles of the child's clothing, which had been abandoned along a street. Authorities noted that the child's shoes were located, separately, a block apart from one another.

Detectives also found blood and hair evidence, along with vomit (which was located on a sweater belonging to the girl).

Over the course of the past 20 years of investigation, nothing definitive has been found in order to locate the child's remains or at least find out who is behind her disappearance. Due to the evidence found in the search for Amber Renee Barker, authorities believe that she was the victim of foul play. More than one person of interest has come up in this case -- none of which have ever been charged or convicted in association with her disappearance or death.

 One person stands out in the lineup of potential suspects in this case, however, but there will never be any closure if he was involved. Daniel John Smith -- the husband of Amber's older sister -- was questioned following the child's disappearance. Smith had a reported history of being accused of similar crimes, so he seemed like an ideal person of interest. Unfortunately, Daniel John Smith committed suicide by hanging, just four days following the disappearance of Amber Barker. Police never declared him a suspect -- even after his suspicious suicide.

Will Amber Barker ever be found? Will her mysterious and tragic case ever find closure?


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