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Police investigators continue inquiries into disappearance of New Madrid County woman

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gary Dale and Teresa Lynn Butler's Risco home.
RISCO, Mo. -- Police investigators continued their inquiries Tuesday into the disappearance of a rural New Madrid County woman.

Teresa Lynn Butler, 35, of Risco vanished from her home Jan. 25.

She is listed as a missing person, and investigators suspect foul play in the matter, police said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol investigator Bud Cooper said Teresa Butler's family members and officers reviewed a video surveillance tape from Kennett's Johnson's Conoco Tuesday to determine if a woman depicted in the video could have been Teresa.

"That didn't pan out," Cooper said. "We copied the tape, enlarged some of the frames and studied them."

Sources said the Feb. 4 tape depicts a woman described as "disoriented" who could not even tell attendants her name, about Teresa Butler's size, wearing a black coat.

Butler's husband, Gary Dale Butler, 31, of Risco, said Tuesday that his missing wife's black leather jacket still hangs in their home.

Sources said Wednesday that investigators had obtained fingerprints and DNA from the home, and that the process of ruling out suspects is ongoing.

The last person to speak with Teresa Butler before her disappearance is Sarah Buchanan, who is married to Teresa's brother, Donald Buchanan. Donald said his wife returned to their home at 9:05 p.m. after visiting with Teresa at the Butler's Risco home.

"We talked about a lot of different things that night," Sarah Buchanan said Wednesday. "The last thing we spoke about was some gel she wanted to borrow because her face was broken out.

"I told her I could bring it over then, but she said not to worry about it and that she'd get it from me the next morning before she went to work."

Sarah Butler said Wednesday that a call was placed from Teresa's cellular telephone to a Gideon number at 3:16 a.m. on Jan. 25.

"We called the number, and the man who answered said his telephone didn't ring, but he saw later that the call had come in," she said. "He doesn't know Teresa, or any of the family, and we don't know him."

New Madrid County Sheriff Terry M. Stevens said Friday that a call was placed from Teresa's cell phone to a Clarkton number after her disappearance.

"We contacted the number," Stevens said. "It was two elderly ladies who lived together.

"Widow women, who basically take care of each other," the sheriff continued. "The lady said she answered the phone, said 'Hello' a couple times, there was nothing on the other end that she could ever hear, so she hung up. She has no idea who the Butler or Buchanan families are. So we don't know what to make of that."

Teresa Lynn Butler, 35, a Dexter Wal-Mart employee, vanished without a trace in the evening hours of Jan. 24, or early morning hours of Jan. 25, sources said.

Wal-Mart employees at the Dexter location wear laminated photos of Teresa on their uniforms, an idea that helped raise money for the family, said Teresa Butler's friend and co-worker, Sherry Montgomery.

"She didn't have an enemy in the world," Montgomery said Tuesday. "I don't think anyone followed her home from work and abducted her.

"She was so friendly," she continued. "We scolded her constantly about how friendly she was to strangers. But that was just Teresa's nature. Very outgoing. Very friendly. Always talking about her family and how perfect her marriage was. She loves Dale and he thinks the world of her."

However, another former co-worker told The Daily Dunklin Democrat Tuesday that Teresa sometimes complained about telephone calls she received at work from Gary Dale Butler's former spouse.

Peggy Clopton of Malden said she worked with Teresa at the retailer during the Dexter store's opening days, and that Gary Dale's former wife, who also was employed by Wal-Mart, but who worked at a different location, called Teresa Butler a number of times, and that Teresa seemed upset by their conversations.

"She was friendly and outgoing," Clopton said. "Dale and Teresa would come to Sonic when I worked there, and she told him we had worked together.

"He never knew me by Peggy," she added. "He knew me as 'the Sonic girl.' The only thing I can remember Teresa talking to me about was Dale's ex-wife. That's the only thing she ever said, that she would be calling her at Wal-Mart or whatever. I'm not going to say she was harassing her, because she never got in to what was being said. But she called her enough to make her uncomfortable. She would call her from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart, because this other lady worked at the Kennett Wal-Mart. I don't know what they were talking about. I don't think it was business, though."

Teresa's father, Don Buchanan, said the calls amounted to "harassment" and added his daughter told him of threats she received from Gary Dale Butler's former spouse.

But Gary Dale Butler was quick to say the differences were resolved.

"Everybody is getting along just fine," Butler said. "Teresa is as much a mother to my older son as she is to our two sons, Gavin and Garrett."

Wal-Mart corporate spokesman Dan Fogleman said from the company's Arkansas headquarters Tuesday that the world's largest retailer is working with a foundation that displays photos of lost or missing children at all of its 3,500 locations. He said hopefully, the foundation will add Teresa Butler's image and information to its databank and distribute the information to all of the retailer's locations.

In addition, Stevens announced Thursday that the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation posted a $5,000 reward for Butler's safe return.

Teresa Lynn Butler is described as being Caucasian, 5-feet-7-inches tall weighing 110 pounds. She has dark brown to black hair and brown eyes.

Those with information about Teresa's disappearance are asked to call Stevens at (573) 748-2516.

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Clarkton & Gideon have a telephone prefix of 448, and Butler's phone called both towns, although she didn't know either parties. The spatial relationship between 4-4-8 on an upside down cell-phone keypad is virtually identical to 9-1-1 on an upright phone.

Try it: Put a phone in your pocket, flip it upside down, and try to dial 911. Odds are, you'll dial 448. Anyone agree with this possibility?

-- Posted by OlderEagle on Sat, Jul 21, 2007, at 12:00 PM

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