There’s not much of a record of 16-year-old Andria Bailey’s disappearance from her grandmother’s Pierce County home about 35 years ago.
Investigators aren’t sure of the year she went missing. Her mother reported her disappearance a decade after the fact.
And as detectives tried to reconstruct what happened, there were differing accounts of what she was doing when she might have last been seen.
One version was that she was on her way home from school. Another was that she might have been heading home from a party.
“The circumstances of her disappearance are unknown,” said DB Gates, spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, which handled the case. “It really leaves you with no starting point.”
Given the limited information, investigators hope the public can help by reporting tips around the anniversary listed for Bailey’s disappearance.
Where that date, Oct. 29, 1979, comes from is one of many unknowns in the case. It might be that her mother reported her missing Oct. 29 a decade later, detectives say, and the person taking the report used the date as a best guess.
Bailey’s parents were in Germany because of military service when the teen went missing. It was about 10 years later that her mother, now dead, reported her missing, Gates said.
While her parents were away, Bailey was living with her grandmother in Spanaway, detectives believe. Her mother and father came back to Pierce County to search for her at the time, but didn’t report her as a missing person.
It’s not clear why, Gates said.
When she made the report, the mother contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, not local police.
It wasn’t until 1995 that the case reached King County via the missing children’s center. The sheriff’s office was working on the Green River serial killings then.
“We had a lot of unidentified bodies,” Gates said.
Investigators found no reason to believe Bailey was a Green River victim.
“Unfortunately, back in the day, it was fairly common that females went missing, and not a lot of resources for investigation were put toward them,” Gates said about the 1970s and 1980s.
In recent years, King County cold case detectives sent DNA from a relative of Bailey’s to the University of North Texas, where it was entered into a database for missing persons.
Investigators were able to find only the one relative, who Gates said is not a parent and didn’t have information about the disappearance.
The DNA has yet to produce any leads.