SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Aletha Williams was headed to visit her sister.
It was 2001. But Williams never made it. She disappeared and has never been found.
“We really knew something was wrong in March at her birthday and she didn’t show up,” said her mother Cindy Williams.
After she failed to show up at her sister’s home, her family waited to hear from her and they knew something was terribly wrong when her birthday came and passed.
“It was terrible,” said Williams. “We knew something was wrong then. We really knew then.”
They did file a missing persons report with Salt Lake City police. But for the next twelve years, they never heard from police.
“They wiped her under the rug like it never happened,” said Williams. “You know, like threw her away. She didn’t exist. That’s what it made me feel like.”
But in 2014, acting on new information, police searched for Williams’ body along the Jordan River.
A person of interest was arrested for obstruction of justice. Back then he talked briefly with ABC4 as he was being arrested.
“They think I know stuff so they are putting me under arrest,” said the man who is not being identified. “(Suspect) is my brother.”
Police searched the brother’s home and according to a 2014 search warrant found drugs but little else.
The warrant claimed the man’s daughter saw him “covered in blood.” on the day of Williams’ disappearance.
She claimed he told her “he had just killed a black female.”
The man’s girlfriend offered similar details. She told police he said “he had taken a human life,” and described “killing a black female.”
The girlfriend also claimed he told her he “cut off fingertips” to get rid of his DNA.
Another daughter was also questioned by police.
During a trip to Kansas, she said her father’s hair and body hair were completely shaved off. He also had a scar on his chest and arm. The daughter claimed he told her that “he may have hurt someone and that he got the scars from this person” He allegedly told her that he was worried about DNA so he shaved off all of his hair.
But to date, the man has never been charged.
An attorney with the Utah Cold Case Coalition said the witnesses may not have been as convincing.
Theoretically, you could have a spouse for example, who is hostile and who could make something up and what would happen if Aletha had shown up some years later,” said Karra Porter with the coalition.
If that’s the case, police may need to find Aletha Williams’ body.
“I just want to know where she is,” said her mother. “That’s it. That’s all I want to know and I want her son to know. I want him to know that she just didn’t leave an not come back.”
The Utah Cold Case Coalition is offering a $3,000 reward for information that can lead to where Williams’ body is or information that can lead to an arrest/conviction.
A spokesman for the coalition said they will soon be diving in the Jordan River in search of Williams’ body.
Other Justice Files stories: