October 19, 1982
Tempe, Arizona
Mindi Chambers (17) disappears; it has been speculated her father killed her after she made a report of sexual misconduct

In 1968, when Mindi was 2 years old, her mother Mary Xenos Chambers was murdered by being drowned in her bathtub. While authorities suspected Mary’s husband and Mindi’s father — Allen Chambers — had been responsible for Mary’s murder, Allen was never charged in her death. “Allen appeared on my doorstep that day he found Mary,” Richie Smith, a retired detective and Allen’s former brother-in-law, said in an interview later. “He had scratches on his face and arms, yet he was never brought up on charges. They said they had no evidence.”

Allen was later arrested and convicted for the attempted rape of a woman, a crime for which he served 7 years in prison. While Allen was incarcerated, Mindi lived with relatives. After Allen’s release, however, he demanded to regain custody of Mindi.

On October 16, three days before Mindi’s disappearance, she told police her father had been sexually abusing her for the last 5 years. Child Protective Services (CPS) was then notified. Mindi was placed in the custody of her stepmother who was in the process of divorcing Allen.

Mindi was last seen by her family on October 19, after she woke up her stepsister to get ready for school. She was missing by the time her stepmother arrived home later that day. There were no signs of a struggle though her possessions — including her purse and ID card — had been left behind.

Mindi was not reported missing for another 13 years; she had previously run away from home and her family suspected she had left home to escape her abuse. A convenience store worker later reported seeing Mindi in the store’s parking lot before a green and tan station wagon approached her. The driver exited the vehicle, grabbed Mindi, forced her into the car, and drove away. Mindi’s half-sister noted the vehicle matched the description of the station wagon Allen owned.

Reports indicate a CPS agent called Allen on October 22, but Allen had hung up on the agent. A 2009 article in The Arizona Republic reported there was no evidence showing the agency investigated Mindi’s case further.

On New Year’s Day in 1984, the body of a young girl was found near Houston, Texas. It was estimated she had been in the location for around a year, and she was believed to have died by decapitation. Because no one had filed a missing persons report on Mindi, authorities would not have been able to link the body with Mindi, assuming the body was hers.

A forensic anthropologist from Texas State University re-examined the body in 2008 and estimated it was that of a female between the ages of 14 and 18, approximately 4’10” to 5’2” (146-158 cm) tall, with brown hair. Additionally, the body found showed signs the teen had previously worn braces; Mindi had worn braces which had been removed two years before her disappearance. It was hoped the body could be tested using DNA to establish an identity and Minid’s half-sister volunteered to have her DNA compared to the body’s. The pair did not match. Authorities stated they would need a DNA source from a paternal relative, but Allen Chambers had died in a crash in 1994 after falling asleep while driving, the year before Mindi was reported missing.

Even if the body found near Houston is not Mindi’s, she is presumed to be dead. In the hopes that she is still alive, however, a poster was created to show her age progressed to 47, the age she would have been in 2012 (pictured).

Information related to Mindi’s case should be directed to the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211.

Mindi Chambers, shortly before her disappearance and after age progression
via National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Sources:
72UFTX – Unidentified Female. The Doe Network. Accessed: October 19, 2020. http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/72uftx.html
Mindi Chambers. The Charley Project. October 12, 2004. Updated: August 1, 2016. Accessed: October 19, 2020. http://charleyproject.org/case/mindi-chambers
Mindi Chambers. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Accessed: October 19, 2020. https://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/804019/1/screen
Mindi Chambers. The Doe Network. Accessed: October 19, 2020. http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/2638dfaz.html
Gonzalez, Nathan. “Mesa police now think story of girl lost in ‘82 has sad end.” The Arizona Republic [Phoenix, Arizona]. July 26, 2009

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