There have been so many missteps in the missing person investigation relating to Sandra Kay Powell‘s case that it’s difficult not to become frustrated, even as an outsider. Sandra was four days shy of her 17th birthday on March 11, 1987. The South Bend, Indiana teenager got together with a friend and the two went out for some harmless fun. However, at some point, the pair were separated from each other and Sandra disappeared.
That was the last time anyone has seen or heard from the pregnant 16-year-old. Sandra was approximately four months along in her pregnancy, and while the father of her child hasn’t been named in news reports, it has been shared that not long before Sandra vanished he told her that he planned on marrying someone else. Unsurprisingly, the news didn’t sit well with Sandra.
The teen had also recently testified in a murder trial after she witnessed her friend being shot and killed. “They had pulled up and opened fire and killed her friend. And she hid down in the floorboard in the car,” her mother, Sally McCoy, told ABC57 news back in 2014. After taking the stand, the suspect, 22-year-old Bobby Peck, was found guilty and Sandra was allegedly threatened by an unknown person. It should be noted that Sandra wasn’t the only witness who testified against Peck. Whether or not there is a connection between the murder trial and Sandra’s disappearance is unclear.
When police initially took the missing person report, they listed the Washington High School student as a runaway. The friend Sandra was with the day she went missing insisted that Sandra never spoke about leaving home, but she did state that Sandra spoke with someone on the phone the evening they went out together. Unfortunately, the friend doesn’t know who Sandra was speaking to, nor do they know what Sandra and the mystery person spoke about. Additionally, all of Sandra’s personal items and money were left behind at her home. Because police treated her as a runaway teen, it’s reported that her dental records were never collected. They’ve since been lost and can’t be used for identification purposes. Sandra’s case wasn’t changed from Runaway to Endangered Missing until 15 years later.
There have been many alleged sightings of Sandra throughout the 32 years since she was last seen. A friend of hers was convinced they saw her on the television show Soul Train, but it’s reported that when authorities attempted to obtain a copy of that episode, they never received one, so that went unverified. Detectives also received a tip that Sandra was involved in adult films. Believing that she was still alive, her family members screened pornographic movies in hopes of finding Sandra but came up empty.
“It’s possible. Definitely possible,” Sandra’s mother previously said about holding out hope that her daughter is alive and well. “The children and I try to go along day by day just thinking that she’s out there someplace. Everybody says give it up and admit she’s dead. But I don’t do that. I still have hope.”
At the time of her disappearance, Sandra was 5 feet 5 inches tall, 130 pounds, and four months pregnant. She had black hair, brown eyes, and several chipped teeth. Both of Sandra’s ears are pierced and she has a scar on the side of her neck. She would be 49-years-old today.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Sandra Kay Powell is urged to contact the South Bend Police Department at 219-235-9201 or their local authorities to help reignite the investigation into this decades-old case.