Police Seek New Leads in Pea Ridge Girl’s Disappearance
On November 18, 2006, April Dawn Andrews disappeared from Pea Ridge. The case went cold with no leads or evidence and only an 8-year-old eyewitness.
But now the case is being reopened by the Benton County Sheriff`s Office, Child Abduction Response Team (C.A.R.T) of the Bentonville Police Department, Morgan Nick Foundation and several other agencies.
“We really believe someone knows where April is and what happened to April,” said Benton County Sheriff’s Detective, Wes Bryant, who is lead investigator on the case.
“To get the word out there and make a statement that we want to find April Andrews,” said Natalie Tibbs, C.A.R.T Team Leader.
But this isn’t an easy task for investigators who are starting from scratch. Over the years April’s case has slipped through the cracks, investigators said.
The lead investigator at the time of the girl’s disappearance was Pea Ridge Police Department Sgt. Cerilla Doyle.
“She had worked several of the leads early on but, eventually she herself went missing,” said Bryant. “But from what I understand she left the area, and she hasn’t been seen since.”
At first 15-year-old April was classified as a runaway, Bryant said.
“At a certain point, it was clear that she probably hadn’t run away and then she was reclassified as a missing person,” he said.
Bentonville Police are handling Doyle’s case and believe her disappearance has nothing to do with April.
That’s when the only witness, who was 8-years-old at the time said a light brown truck pulled up and April spoke with them. But it’s unclear whether April got into the truck, according to police.
“I would believe, in my contact with April, she would have to be comfortable with that person or know that person,” said Cpl. Mitch Brown, Pea Ridge Schools Resource Officer. “I don’t believe she was the type to get into a stranger’s vehicle.”
April’s father died a few years before she went missing, according to Bryant. The girl didn’t have very many friends at school and was bullied, as well.
Cpl. Brown spoke with April just before she disappeared. He said he gave her advice about school and talked to her about concentrating on her class work.
“She had actually met me at the window was very, very proud of herself, said that she was doing better, she was focused on school, things were getting better,” Brown said.
With no leads or evidence, Child Abduction Response Team leader Natalie Tibbs said they still have hope.
“I think there is somebody out there who knows exactly where she’s at or has been, but we are hopeful that we at least can solve it to give closure to the family if that’s what we need to know,” Tibbs said.
If you know of April’s whereabouts or have any information on this case call the Northwest Arkansas Crimestoppers at (479) 790-TIPS or the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (479) 271-1009.