The Abduction of Heather Teague (2024)

EARLY LIFE:

Heather Teague was born on April 25, 1972, as the first of four children. Growing up in Kentucky, she was known for being a good student and actively involved in her school community. Along with being on the honour roll and cheerleading squad, she was homecoming queen, named “Junior Miss”, and active in track and basketball. In her spare time, she enjoyed writing poetry.

Following her graduation from Webster County High School, Heather took some time out from education, with her and her mother making plans after a few years for her to attend Western Kentucky University. The then-23-year-old hoped to study psychology.

At the time of her abduction, Heather was living in Clay, Webster County, Kentucky. She was dating a man 20 years her senior and had gotten involved in drugs. She was known to act erratically as a result of her substance abuse, and she had even been reported missing two weeks prior. When located, she’d said she “was just running around.”

ABDUCTION:

On August 26, 1995, Heather was sunbathing at Newburgh Beach in Spottsville, Henderson County, Kentucky.

Around 12:45 PM that afternoon, Tim Walthall was looking through his telescope from his Indiana home, on the other side of the Ohio River, when he saw a man approach the 23-year-old, grab her by the hair and drag her off her lawn chair, into a wooded area by the beach.

According to Walthall, the abduction had occurred at gunpoint. When asked by the authorities to describe the suspect, he reported that the man was White, 6’0″ and weighed between 210 and 230 pounds. He had brown hair that appeared to be a wig, a bushy beard, and was only wearing a pair of jeans and a mosquito net.

SEARCH:

Upon learning about the abduction, police officers with canines, divers and a helicopter equipped with infrared technology searched Newburgh Beach, finding part of Heather’s bathing suit and a towel in the woods near the abduction site. Other bits of evidence was located, but investigators said it didn’t provide any insights into Heather’s whereabouts.

During the early stages of the investigation, Heather’s current and past boyfriends were interviewed by the authorities, but little was gleamed from these conversations.

The first suspect to emerge in the case was Marvin Ray “Marty” Dill, a Henderson County resident. Dill’s red and white Ford Bronco was pulled over during a routine traffic stop shortly after Heather’s abduction and found within it were two guns, duct tape, rope, rubber gloves and strands of hair that looked similar to the missing woman’s.

Along with the items found in his vehicle, Dill was said to resemble the composite sketch provided by Walthall, and his Bronco had been captured on video in the area on Newburgh Beach, as farmers had been monitoring the area following incidents of vandalism against their crops. On top of this, Dill’s vehicle was seen parked near Heather’s 1990 Nissan hatchback.

Throughout the end of August 1995 and into that September, investigators received tips connecting Dill to Heather’s abduction, prompting them to visit his home. He reportedly told his wife to leave the residence after learning of the officers’ presence, at which point he took his own life.When investigators made their way into the home, they found Dill’s body, but no evidence Heather had been there.

A grand jury was brought forth to hear evidence of Dill’s involvement in the case following his death. While attempts were made to have his wife testify as a witness, she evoked her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer any questions.

A second suspect came to investigators’ attention in 2004: Christopher J. Below, another resident of Henderson County. Below had pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter in relation to the 1991 death of Kathern Fetzer, a woman with whom he’d been having an affair. For the crime, he was sentenced to between 11 and 18 years in prison.

Outside of Fetzer’s death, Below is suspected in the disappearances of Mary Kushto, Kristina Porco and Shaylene Farrell. While he hasn’t been charged or convicted in relation to their cases, the details are as follows:

  • Kushto went missing from St. Cloud, Florida, on May 5, 1995. Below was in the city at the time of her disappearance.

  • Porco went missing from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on November 29, 1986, having left her family’s apartment unit after an argument with her mother. She’d reportedly planned to sleep by the complex’s pool, but when a friend went to see her, all that was found was her red sweater. While Below had lived in the state between the late 1980s and early ’90s, authorities are still trying to determine his exact whereabouts in ’86.

  • Farrell went missing from Piqua, Ohio, on August 8, 1994. She was reported missing after missing a work shift.

Investigators believe Below targeted women who resembled Fetzer. Heather, in particular, was around the same height and weight as the deceased woman. As well, he was known to be in the general area at the time of the 23-year-old’s abduction, and he left on the same day Dill took his own life.

Below has refused to answer any questions regarding Heather’s case. It’s believed he and Dill may have abducted her together, with one grabbing the missing woman and the other driving the getaway vehicle.

In 2007, Heather’s mother, Sarah Teague, had her daughter declared legally dead, so she could obtain the FBI’s file on the case. Six years later, she filed a lawsuit against the agencies involved in the investigation, claiming a cover-up and malfeasance.

Teague alleged investigators had gotten tunnel vision regarding Dill’s guilt and had disregarded other possible leads as a result. She added that, in 1995, he’d been clean-shaven and balding, meaning he didn’t resemble the sketch created from Walthall’s description.

A few months after it was filed, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying, among other things, that malfeasance couldn’t be tried in a civil court of law, as it’s a criminal offence in Kentucky.

Teague has filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and petitions over the course of the investigation into her daughter’s abduction. Her efforts have resulted in evidence being tested for DNA and the handing over of Walthall’s 911 call. She’s also listened to a tape between Dill’s attorney and the Kentucky State Police (KSP), in which the former was heard warning them of confronting the man without him first entering the home.

In 2012, the Kentucky State Police put Heather’s case on decks of playing cards that were passed out in prisons within the state.

In January 2024, an anonymous donor put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to a resolution in the case. Investigators say they continue to look into leads and are exploring new avenues in an attempt to locate Heather.

DETAILS:

Heather Teague was 23 years old when she went missing from Spottsville, Webster County, Kentucky, on August 26, 1995. She stood at 5’2″, weighed between 90 and 100 pounds, and had brown hair and green eyes. It’s noted she has fallen arches, a circular red birthmark on her right buttock and scoliosis, which gives her a slight, yet noticeable curve in her spine.

At the time of her abduction, she was wearing a red plaid bathing suit, which was found near the abduction site.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Heather’s case is currently classified as Endangered Missing, with foul play suspected. Her DNA is on file.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact the Kentucky State Police at (270) 826-3312. Tips can also be called into Sarah Teague at (270) 824-8343.

Image Credit: The Doe Network

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