It reads like the opening of a mystery novel. On August 25, 1995, a man was looking through a telescope at pretty, 23-year-old Heather Danyelle Teague as she sunbathed on a chaise lounge on the otherwise deserted Newburgh Beach in Spottsville, Kentucky in Henderson County.
As Tim Walthall watched with his telescope from his gracious riverfront home in Newburgh, Indiana at about a quarter to one in the afternoon, he saw, to his astonishment, a white man about six feet tall and about 200 pounds with brown hair and a bushy brown beard bizarrely dressed in a wig and jeans, shirtless except for mosquito netting, approach the tiny, dark-haired woman and drag her by her hair at gunpoint screaming into the woods.
The witness scrambled to alert police to what he just saw and helicopters and dogs were dispatched to search for the missing woman and although a her red plaid bathing suit was found nearby where she was reported abducted, Heather Danyelle Teague herself has never been found.
There were suspects in the case. A local farmer had been experiencing some vandalism so he had installed a camera security system. His cameras recorded Heather Teague’s car and a red-and-white Ford Bronco truck parked next to it.
The description and the truck rang a bell with law enforcement officials. Six months before Heather Teague was abducted police had pulled over Marvin “Marty” Dill Jr. of Henderson County, Kentucky during “routine traffic stop” while driving a red-and-white Ford Bronco. In searching the truck police discovered two guns, a pair of knives, rubber gloves, duct tape and rope, something that left an impression on the police officer’s minds.
Officers from the Kentucky State Police Department went to talk with Marty Dill. Dill, alerted to police intentions, told his wife Tracy to leave, telling her, “The less you know the better off you’ll be,” before killing himself with a gun. The red-and-white Ford Bronco was found. It had been scrubbed with bleach by Tracy Dill but a hair “similar” to that belonging to Heather Teague was found along with a remaining bloodstain on the inside tailgate, origins undetermined. A Grand Jury was called after the fact but the Widow Dill invoked her rights under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and refused to testify but Tim Walthall positively identified Dill has the man he saw taking Heather Teague.
Although many people, including law enforcement, believe Marty Dill, who had previously served time on a drug conviction, kidnapped and murdered Heather Teague others, including Heather’s mother Sarah Teague, aren’t convinced. They point to another possible suspect in the area at the time: Christopher J. Below, also of Henderson County.
On November 26, 1991, Kathern Fetzer left her home on Lafayette Road in Medina, Ohio, leaving her husband of five years, Michael Fetzer, that she was feeling “restless” and was going to go to the local Mall to do some window shopping. She was never seen again.
When Kathern Fetzer failed to return home her husband reported her missing. Later that day her 1985 Ford Tempo was found abandoned near some railroad tracks south of Lodi.
Among the suspects at the time of Kathern Fetzer’s disappearance was a fellow co-worker at the factory where she was employed, Christopher J. Below but Below denied any knowledge of what happened to Kathern Fetzer.
Over the next decade Ohio detectives would periodically track down Christopher Below and question him again about Kathern Fetzer’s disappearance. On November 17, 2003 they tracked him down to the west side of Evansville, Indiana, a good sized city just across the Ohio River from Henderson County, Kentucky, where he was living with a woman and five children.
Below was already wanted for questioning in Evansville regarding an allegation that he had molested his niece. Police picked him up and took him to the station downtown where confronted with fresh evidence regarding the Kathern Fetzer disappearance by the Ohio officer assigned the case in 2002, Detective Scott Brown, Below confessed.
Christopher Below claimed that he and Kathern Fetzer had been having an affair. He claimed that on November 26, 1991 she had come to his apartment in Medina to break it off. He claimed that, enraged, he shot and killed her with a .380 caliber handgun he had purchased some two weeks before.
Below told police he had disposed of Kathern Fetzer’s body in a dumpster and that it was “probably in a landfill.” He opined that he didn’t think her body would ever be located and to this date it hasn’t.
Detectives were suspicious of Below’s dumpster story because various informants had told them that Below had stated that “he knew how to get rid of bodies,” and liked to say, “no body – no crime.” They decided to look into Christopher Below’s past and there they found Heather Teague, who looked remarkably like Kathern Fetzer, and several other unsolved murders all involving young women with similar characteristics near places where Christopher Below was living or traveling through in connection with his work as a long haul trucker.
With no body, Christopher Barlow cut a deal with Prosecutors that allowed him to plead guilty to “attempted involuntary manslaughter." He was sentenced to 11- 18 years in prison. He is suspected of having a possible involvement in the disappearance of Kristina Porco, 16, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, Mary Kushto, of St. Cloud, Florida, 43, Shaylene Farell, 18, of Piqua, Ohio, Alana Gwinner, 23, a University of Cincinatti student who disappeared after leaving a bowling alley in Fairfield, Ohio. Barlow has not been charges in any of these crimes. Only Alana Gwinner's body has ever been recovered, floating fully clothed in the Ohio River near Sugar Bay in Warsaw, Kentucky. Her black, 1993 Honda Del Sol, license plate AKP-3607 has never been found.
As the 17th anniversary of Heather Teague’s disappearance rolled around this year, police in Kentucky released a statement warning people not to post about the Teague case on social media.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King issued a statement that, “People are using these forums to post information about this case, with some claiming to have firsthand knowledge of the offense. Unfortunately, upon investigation, these claims proved to be false”
Trooper King warned, “Those who make false statements about any open or cold cases on social sites need to be aware that charges may be sought for falsely reporting an incident."
Of course, to a layperson, Trooper King’s statement seems patently false. People posting to social media about Heather Teague, and there are many with one Topix thread alone relating to her disappearance has over 2,500 posts, aren’t making reports to law enforcement officials and law enforcement officials monitoring social network sites in hopes of developing leads must accept the wheat and the chaff. Even if a person feels libeled by something posted to a social media site libel is a civil, not criminal, matter.
However, at a time when the United States seems to be coalescing around support for Freedom of Speech, even when we abhor the contents of some speech, it seems off that this rather over-reaching attempt at prior restraint passed with virtually no notice or protest but also seemingly ignored with no consequences by people posting on social media sites.