A 23-year-old cold case appears to have been solved thanks to a nonprofit organization’s dedication and hard work.
According to reports, Adventures With Purpose, a group dedicated to solving cold cases across the United States, discovered an automobile submerged in 8 feet of water in the Illinois Bayou stream last month.
On October 23, they notified the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, and a team was dispatched to investigate their discovery.
The location of the vehicle matched the route taken by a pregnant mother and her 2-year-old on September 11, 1998, when they vanished without a trace.
Samantha Jean Hopper and her daughter Courtney went missing between their home and performance in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The sheriff’s office stated that shortly after the vehicle was found in the Illinois Bayou, the bodies of Samantha, Courtney, and Samantha’s unborn child (she was nine months pregnant at the time of her abduction) had also been located.
“Samantha was reported to be heading to Little Rock to drop off her daughter, Courtney Holt, before continuing to a performance,” according to the statement. “However, Samantha, her daughter, and her blue Ford Tempo were never located.”
“The Pope County Sheriff’s Office extends its heartfelt condolences to Samantha Hopper and Courtney Holt’s families. We are grateful to have played a small role in bringing this 23-year-old case to a conclusion.”
In the aftermath of the discovery, Samantha’s surviving daughter, Dezarae, created a memorial page. It says:
“After being lost for almost 23 years, we were able to locate my mother, who was nine months pregnant, and my 22-month-old sister, Courtney, with the help of AWP and Chaos diving teams. It’s such a relief to have discovered her, and we want to give her and her family a decent burial. It would be very appreciated if you could donate or even forward this. “Thank you very much.”
Richard Carpenter, Dezarae’s husband, expressed his feelings on Facebook.
“My wife Dezarae has spent her entire life wondering where her mother and sister are and what happened to them,” he stated.
“Samantha Hopper and her baby Courtney have been missing since 1998, and they were finally recovered this week. Samantha was also eight months pregnant when she vanished. My wife and I are planning a service for all three of them. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you.”
I don’t know about you, but the thought of Samantha, her daughter, and her pregnant kid being trapped in that truck for so long breaks my heart.