Official: Kentucky Attorney General's office is stepping into the Heather Teague case (2024)

A deputy prosecutor with the Kentucky Attorney General's office will "fully handle" the Heather Teague case going forward, a Kentucky state official confirmed Thursday.

But that doesn't mean the Kentucky State Police are off the case. And the exact details around the move – and what it could mean for a missing person investigation that's remained unsolved for almost 30 years – are still unclear.

Commonwealth Attorney Herb McKee said if a prosecution occurs, it will now be conducted by Ramsey Dallam: an officer with the special prosecutions division of the AG's office. State police, meanwhile, will remain the main investigatory unit.

"Since it is an open investigation, I cannot comment further about the details," he said.

AG spokesman Kevin Grout said he could "neither confirm nor deny any investigation that's going on." He declined to comment further on the record.

Heather's mother, Sarah Teague, learned of the development Wednesday. Despite the uncertainty over what it could mean, she's thrilled to see motion in the long-stalled case.

"At least we're moving along," she said a day later. "This is the best thing we've had in a long time."

Sarah's done her own investigation for nearly three decades, making phone calls, conducting searches and pressing KSP for answers. She even successfully sued them to obtain case files after a judge ruled in 2019 that they wrongfully kept records from her.

She said she'll now file a formal complaint with the public corruption wing of Kentucky's Department of Criminal Investigations in hopes the AG's office will scrutinize how KSP has handled the case.

The Courier & Press reached out to the state police for comment. They hadn't responded as of Thursday evening.

Official: Kentucky Attorney General's office is stepping into the Heather Teague case (2)

Heather Teague's disappearance

Teague, a 23-year-old former Webster County High School cheerleader and homecoming queen, was reportedly sunbathing on the Kentucky side of Newburgh Beach on Aug. 26, 1995 when a gun-toting shirtless man with wild hair and an unkempt beard reportedly emerged from the treeline and dragged her away.

That's according to a witness who said he was watching Teague through a telescope from his home on the Indiana side of the river. But in a since-released phone call he made to the KSP Post that day, he said he waited several minutes to report what he saw. By the time officers arrived, Heather was gone.

KSP investigators quickly fixated on Marvin Ray "Marty" Dill, a 30-year-old Poole, Kentucky, man with a criminal record who had sported a mountain-man look in the past. He also owned a red Ford Bronco that matched the description of one seen at the beach that day.

But by the time of disappearance, Dill had shaved his hair and beard, meaning he didn't match the description of the alleged abductor. last year, Dill's attorney, William Polk, told KSP so mere hours before investigators planned to surround the suspect's trailer

Polk also warned that, if pressured in the middle of the night, Dill might commit suicide. KSP went ahead with their plans anyway, and police say Dill shot and killed himself in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, 1995.

Since then, no official suspects have been named – and Heather has never been found.

Official: Kentucky Attorney General's office is stepping into the Heather Teague case (3)

The investigation

Sarah Teague has struggled to obtain answers ever since.

She and her attorney, Chip Adams, say they came to KSP headquarters in 2008 to listen to a recording of the call the eyewitness allegedly made. They said they heard the witness tell a female dispatcher that the shirtless man could have been wearing a wig or mosquito netting on his head: details that could explain the discrepancy between Dill's appearance at the time and what the eyewitness said he saw.

Eight years later, when given the chance to listen to the call again, they say they heard a different recording. This time the dispatcher was male, and the witness made no mention of a wig or mosquito netting.

That's the version that eventually became public, and KSP repeatedly testified in court that it has only one call, Adams said.

Late last year, the Courier & Press filed a records request for "audio of all calls made to KSP Post 16, as well as any 911 audio the KSP has in its possession related to the disappearance of Heather Teague.”

KSP eventually provided 10 files. None of them matched the description of the 2008 call.

Although he has no solid evidence, Adams told the Courier & Press in November that he believes KSP could have "created" the 2008 audio.

“They maintain there’s only one (call). So the explanation is you fabricated the first one to bolster or validate the story they were trying to sell Sarah Teague from day one,” Adams said. “Or two, there were two calls, but you lost one. That’s also a possibility, to just be objective about it. … And then the third possibility is we’re wrong. But I’m not.

“I’m 1,000% sure: that first call I heard had mosquito netting and wig, and the sexes between the two dispatchers were different,” he said.

That's just one of several confusing or odd aspects to the case.

According to files obtained by the Courier & Press through Sarah Teague, KSP discovered in 2002 that Heather's social security number had been used since her death.

They reportedly tracked the usage to an address in Newport, Kentucky and turned up two potential names. When one of them was the name of Heather's sister, however, Sarah Teague says police figured the whole thing was a mistake and "didn't do anything else" with the lead.

Then there's the audio of a woman calling KSP and claiming to be Heather years after her disappearance. And in yet another filing, a KSP employee wrote an email to a higher-up saying he saw a homeless woman in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2015 who "could have been a 43-year-old Heather Teague."

Sarah hopes any change in the case could clear up all that confusion.

Official: Kentucky Attorney General's office is stepping into the Heather Teague case (2024)
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