Jeff Herron awoke and noticed that his wife, Audrey May, was not next to him. Audrey was a nurse and should have finished work at 11pm. He had gone to bed early and her journey from work to home was a short one, estimated out at about 15 miles. The road was wet and and winding and yet all these years later a mystery hangs over that night. There had been no accident. There were no skid marks or wrecked car. So what happened to this petite 31 year old woman who had so much to live for?
Brief Circumstances of Thursday 29th August 2002.
Audrey May Herron was married to Jeff and they had three children. The eldest, Sonsia, was from Audrey’s previous relationship. The family was solid by all accounts. Sonsia had a younger sister then aged four years and a brother aged two years. It was a normal night at work for Audrey. She and a female colleague walked to their cars together. Audrey was seen in her 1994 Black Jeep Cherokee (plate number X233UV) driving out of the car park. She remained behind the colleague for five minutes until they took different routes. After that no-one has said they saw this lady again.
Jeff Herron’s father owned a lucrative golf course and so one of the theories was that this was a kidnapping but no ransom was ever asked for. Colleagues and friends told a tale of Audrey that appeared to rule out some voluntary disappearance.
Local searches on a large scale found no trace of her or her car. Rumours abound that her disappearance might be linked to organised crime right through to the usual rumour that her husband was the culprit.
The Investigation into the Disappearance of Audrey May Herron
I watched a Dateline special on the case and it was what you would expect. A reporter did a sterling job of exploring the possibilities. The case is still active and the cops on the investigation spoke of the lack of progress. The circumstances were explored. The rumours were looked at. Yet it remains the case that my description above pretty much covers it.
Audrey May Herron left work as usual in Jefferson Heights, Catskill, New York. Her husband was asleep and she should have made it home by about 11.30pm at the outside. He woke and she wasn’t there. End of the evidence trail. From the point that her vehicle parted company with her colleague’s she had only 10 minutes worth of road to cover. By 6 am Jeff Herron was calling her mother to ask if she was there. By 10 am the police were involved.
Senior Investigator Kusminsky stated to Dateline that all resources had been used in the initial search and in the years since. There are persons of interest but no evidence to proceed further. Only one image of her car was captured that night. On the rural road she took, a single camera captured what may have been her car driving past. The unclear image might not have even been Audrey’s vehicle.
A 9 mile radius foot search was completed along with aerial searches and house to house enquiries. Audrey did have a cell phone but an attempt to track it showed it as offline. Her credit cards have not been used since.
A few Thoughts
This is one of the most baffling disappearance cases I have seen. A dark wet night, a short drive home on familiar roads and then nothing. One notable event was that Sonsia was about to return from a month long RV trip with her grandmother. By the following night this (then) 10 year old would have also been in the family home. I mean nothing by that only that her planned arrival back coincided with Audrey’s disappearance.
She had stayed with her grandmother at her home that night because their return had been too late to drop Sonsia back home. Audrey had arranged to pick her up the following day. I have seen nothing reported that says it was unusual for Jeff to have been asleep before his wife returned from work.
With only 10 minutes to travel from the time her colleague turned off, this lady vanishes. That is a narrow window of opportunity for a roadside abduction. Often a lone woman faces a breakdown or something before abduction. This lady had a cell phone, a substantial vehicle and a short distance to safety.
The kidnapping theory was aligned to the fact that Jeff Herron’s father had a Russian partner in the business, but the police climbed all over it and it turned out to be a rumour. The normal chatter that this was a case of a husband involved homicide has no evidence to support it. Besides that the vehicle was searched for so much that even local water areas were drained to look for it. It would be a difficult thing to kill your wife and then by 6 am make a car and her body disappear without substantial help. So we have:
A sudden breakdown, then along comes a bad Samaritan ( no evidence despite intensive enquiries)
Forced off the road ( no evidence despite intensive enquiries)
Arrives home and a domestic related homicide ( no evidence despite intensive enquiries)
A very out of character disappearance ( No evidence. That day she had obtained a raise, spoke of collecting her daughter and a medical appointment she intended to keep. Oh, plus no money etc)
Kidnapping for ransom or to leverage someone ( no evidence despite intensive enquiries)
I have very little idea on this one. What do you think?
The New York State Troopers are dealing with this so if by some outside chance you see this and can help the family get answers click here