Katherine Hobbs
A young girl who has premonitions that she will not live to see her 16th birthday is abducted and murdered.

Katherine Hobbs

Kathy predicted she wouldn’t live past 16


Katherine’s body was found in the desert

On the evening of July 23, 1987, 16 year-old Kathy Hobbs was reading a romance novel in her bedroom of her home in a Las Vegas suburb. At 11 P.M., she told her mother, Vivian Hobbs, that she was going to the local supermarket:

“She came out to me and said, ‘Mom, I’m going down to the store and buy a book. Give me a kiss before I go.’  And I said, ‘Why, I’ll be up when you get back?’ And she said, ‘Well, I’ll probably stop and talk to the kids, so you might be in bed when I get back.’  So I gave her a kiss.  And that was the last time I saw her.”

Kathy often walked the block and half to the store late at night. Usually her friends hung out at the apartment swimming pool, so Kathy’s mother wasn’t worried. Assuming that Kathy would be with her friends, Vivian went to sleep.  Then, at 3 A.M., she says a strange dream woke her up:

“I woke up out of a sound sleep. I felt like I had been hit on the head. And all of a sudden, I got a very peaceful feeling and I thought, ‘Well, it’s over now.’ And I fell back to sleep.”

The next morning, Vivian discovered that Kathy’s bedroom was empty. Las Vegas Metro Police Homicide Lieutenant Kyle L Edwards investigated the case:

“Within the first day, we had tracked down friends, relatives, and had done a very extensive media campaign on the television with Katherine’s picture.  At the end of the second day, we were convinced that Katherine had probably been abducted.”

Police received a call from a witness

Kathy’s family had been terribly worried about her. As a child, she had frightening premonitions, several of them that she would die at an early age. When she was eight, she became even more specific, telling her friends that she would not live past the age of 16. Vivian did what she could to help her daughter:

“She did not have a happy childhood. Her father and I went through a divorce when she was eight years old.  She and her father were extremely close.  When she was in the 7th grade, a very good friend of hers died of a heart disease and that affected Kathy very much. One of the main reasons we moved to Las Vegas was to give Kathy another chance to get away from the environment she grew up in.”

After the move, Kathy blossomed and made new friends. But, according to her mother, as Kathy’s 16th birthday approached, her fear of dying returned:
“She got very teary-eyed one night and told me, ‘Mom, I don’t want to get any older.  I want to be a little girl.’  And I told her, ‘Kathy, we all have to grow up, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but we all do it.’  And she told me, ‘I’m not going to.’  She didn’t think she’d make her 16th birthday.”

Several letters were found in Katherine’s room

Kathy spent all her time in her room and would not leave the house. Then, on the morning of her 16th birthday, she was surprised and relieved to find she was still alive.   She now seemed to have a new enthusiasm for life. Kathy’s sister, Theresa Hobbs, remembered how she began to go out again, and started making plans for her future:

“She was ecstatic. She came out and said, ‘I made it Mom, I made it.  I’m 16.  I did it.  I’m alive.’”

After Kathy vanished, police assumed she had been abducted and issued photos to the media. Eventually, one crucial clue surfaced. A clerk remembered seeing Kathy in the supermarket the night she vanished. Store receipts confirmed that someone did purchase a paperback novel at 11:17 that night.  Apparently, Kathy had made it to the store, but not home. Nine days after Kathy vanished, hiker Rick Pacult was searching for rock crystals out in the desert near Lake Mead:

“I was walking back to the car and was probably 150 feet, 200 feet from the road and was stopped by a very strong odor. I decided to see where it was coming from or what it was, and that’s when I found Katherine’s body. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen in my life. I had to sit down and gather my thoughts and make sure that what I was looking at was real.”

Lieutenant Kyle Edwards was first on the scene:

“Within probably 20 minutes of our arrival, we knew it was Katherine. There was no doubt in our own minds it was Katherine. It does get very quiet and you can’t help but look at it and see your own children and say, ‘For the grace of God, there goes one of mine.’ At the time your immediate feeling is to run home, grab your daughter by the arm and bring her to the scene, and say, ‘This is why I say, ‘No, you can’t go out late at night.’’”

Tire prints at the scene showed where a vehicle had pulled in, turned around and left. Investigators also found two rocks spattered with Kathy’s blood. The coroner concluded that she died from repeated blows to the head. Vivian recalled her daughter’s premonitions:

“She was 16 years, three months and three days old when she was killed. So she made it to 16, but not much after that. But she was right. She wasn’t going to live to be an adult.”

After Kathy’s death, several letters were found in her room addressed to each member of the family. They were dated one month before her 16th birthday. The one to Vivian read: “Dear Mother: In the event of my death, you shall get this letter. I hope you live happily and I don’t want you or anyone else to dwell on my death. I love you all very dearly. You were good to me and nobody else could have been a better mother. Keep me alive in your heart and don’t ever forget me. Love always, Kathy.”

Exactly three months after Kathy vanished, a call came in to the Las Vegas police department. Their answering machine recorded this message from a man who may have witnessed her abduction: “He grabbed this girl in front of the store on Desert Inn and Maryland. This was a few months ago. I’ve been out of town for a few months and I wrote this down because she was screaming. I pulled over in the car.  She was very young girl, wearing a white jacket and pink pants. And the guy’s name he hollered to him, pushed her in the car, his name was Robbie.”

Lieutenant Edwards:

“The theory that we have is that she was abducted between the store and her apartment by one or more suspects. We think she was driven to the lake that night and killed that evening.”

The caller reported the license number of the car, but did not leave his name or phone number. The police checked the license number and discovered it did not exist.

Today the murder of Kathy Hobbs remains unsolved. Her mother and the Las Vegas police hope that the witness will call back and give more details, or that someone watching may recognize the voice of the mysterious caller.