When a housewife vanishes, left behind is is a forged note and all of her possessions.
Peoria, Arizona, is a comfortable suburb just outside Phoenix. Pam and Rob Page moved here in 1977, and by all accounts, their marriage was solid. On July 22nd, 1989, Rob came home to an empty house and a letter from Pam. Pam wrote that she had left town with a woman named Sarah, and that she had been planning this for a long while. Rob claimed he was embarrassed because he thought his wife had left him for a woman. He did not notify Pam’s family in Arkansas that she was gone. Four days later, however, Pam’s oldest sister, Trena, happened to call. She was surprised to learn of Pam’s disappearance:
Pam’s father, Willie Frisby, asked to see the letter, and Rob faxed him a copy. Willie was immediately distressed:
Rob told Pam’s family that a missing person’s report had already been filed. But when one of Pam’s sisters called the local police, she discovered that they had never even heard of the case.
Detectives began their investigation by questioning Rob Page. He told them that on the day of Pam’s disappearance, he had gone to several auto parts stores. At one, his truck would not start. Rob said he called home and got no answer, so he phoned for a taxi. Rob told police that he never went into the house, only the garage. He got a part for his truck and rode his bike back to the store. When the truck finally started, he drove home and that’s when he found the letter. In it, Pam stated that she had taken all of their money, $60,000 in cash, out of the safe at the video store. Rob said he went to the store and confirmed that the cash was gone.
The letter also said that Pam had left the couple’s Corvette at a local doughnut shop. Rob claimed he found it the next day. Soon, police began to question the details of Rob’s story. None of the employees at the last auto parts store remembered Rob, or anyone else, asking about an ignition switch. There was another problem with Rob’s story. Rob had said his truck, which was very distinctive, was parked at the store for nearly four hours that afternoon. But none of the employees ever recalled seeing the truck in front of the store or anyone working on it.
Finally, three weeks after Pam disappeared, the Arizona state crime lab confirmed that the signature on the letter was almost certainly not Pam’s. Det. Sgt. Doug Hildebrandt questioned Rob on the issue:
It was a stunning turnaround, enough to make Rob Page a suspect. Suddenly, he began to tell a completely different story. Now, Rob insisted that he had actually found the letter in the family computer a few days before Pam disappeared, stating that she would be leaving him. He also claimed that he confronted his wife on the discovery. According to Rob’s new story, a few days after the confrontation, he came home to find the house a mess. Rob told police that most of Pam’s clothes were gone, along with the family pictures and one of their dogs. Pam’s credit cards and house keys were on the kitchen table, but Rob couldn’t find her driver’s license.
Rob claims that after making these discoveries, he decided to act. He went downstairs and added four sentences to the letter in the computer, printed it out, and signed Pam’s name. He then drove her Corvette to the doughnut shop, went to the pay phone across the street, and called a taxi. Det. Hildebrandt:
Despite the suspicions about Rob Page, police found no evidence that he had done anything wrong except change his story. No charges were filed and the investigation ground to a halt.
As a last resort, Pam’s sister, Jimmie Rice, consulted Carol Pate, a psychic in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pate had worked with the Little Rock police for ten years. Working only from a photo of Pam, the psychic said that she saw Pam with a man in what appeared to be Pam’s house. The two were arguing.Carol claims she saw the man knock Pam to the floor and suffocate her with a pillow. Another female came and assisted him in placing her in the trunk. She said the two drove somewhere, and that she saw the name Coolidge and the numbers 2-4-1. She then saw a gray factory near a railroad. Finally, the man pulled over, removed the body, and began to dig.
Jana Thorson, an Arizona newspaper reporter covering Pam’s disappearance, followed up the clues. She found a gray factory building near some railroad tracks in Peoria. Nearby she found a sign with the numbers 2-4-1. A route that ran from Bob and Pam’s house to the home of a friend passed both these sites and ended at a street named Coolidge.
But there is no way to evaluate Carol Pate’s information until it’s known whether Pam Page met with foul play, or chose to disappear. As for Rob Page, he still insists that his wife is alive.
Rob Page has since divorced his missing wife. Police say he is no longer a suspect in the case, but they still have no idea what happened to Pam Page.