West Virginia girl, 7, remains missing

September 20, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 7-year-old Baker Heights, W.Va., girl remained missing Friday night after disappearing Thursday night from the parking lot of Pikeside Bowl on U.S. 11, said West Virginia State Police.

Jessica L. Newell was at Pikeside Bowl Thursday night with her family, said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Joe Adams.

About 8:30 p.m. Thursday, they discovered she was missing, Adams said.

Her father had dropped the family off at the door and drove off to park, Adams said.

The others were inside and the girl was about 15 to 20 feet from the front door walking toward it when he last saw her, Adams said.

She never made it inside, Adams said.

Investigators believe that she was abducted in the short time she was alone, Adams said.

The parents appear happily married and so a custody battle, the motive in many abductions, has been ruled out, Adams said.


Police were tracking down numerous tips from the public, but the case remained a mystery late Friday.

Throughout the day Friday, state police troopers used helicopters and bloodhounds in their search for the missing girl, Adams said.

Troopers patroled throughout the area looking for her. Other police officers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the search, he said.

About 30 to 40 police officers and volunteers were involved in the effort, Adams said.

Dog teams were used twice to follow the girl's trail without success.

Troopers also were printing up fliers to spread throughout the community in an effort to find the missing girl.

When she was last seen Thursday night, she was wearing a red and pink floral on white, one-piece dress that ties in the back with buttons in the front, police said. She was described as white, about four feet tall and weighing 60 pounds. She has blonde hair that goes midway down her back.

State Police troopers said they wanted to speak to anyone who was in the parking lot Thursday night.

Despite the darkness Friday, troopers continued to search. A helicopter used flares while troopers on the ground searched the area.

Adams said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was notified for assistance.

Adams said there were no similar cases in the area of missing children.

No ransom demands had been made to the family, Adams said.

Anyone with information about the missing girl is asked to call West Virginia State Police at 1-304-267-0000.

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