Hey, y’all. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve got a truly heart-wrenching story to share with you, and it’s one that’s haunted me ever since I first heard about it. This is the story of Amber Barker’s disappearance, a chilling mystery that has left me with countless questions and a lingering sense of unease.
December 18, 1997
On December 18, 1997, Amber Barker was only ten years old and a fourth grader in Oklahoma City.
On that fateful day, Amber excitedly hopped on her blue 10-speed bicycle around 3 p.m., eager to visit her friend who lived only half a mile away from her home. Amber took her blue 10-speed bicycle around 3 p.m.
Upon arriving at her friend’s house, Amber made sure to call her mom, Bonnie, to check in. As they chatted, Amber shared her worries about getting in trouble for staying out too late. Like any loving and understanding mother, Bonnie reassured her that she wouldn’t be in any trouble at all.
Amber hung out with her friend until 5:50 p.m. before heading back home for the five-minute bike ride.
This is where things take a gut-wrenching turn. By 7:20 p.m., Amber hadn’t made it home, and her mother’s concern started to grow. Bonnie couldn’t shake the nagging worry and decided to ride up and down the route Amber should have taken, desperately searching for any sign of her precious daughter.
But there was no trace of Amber, and Bonnie’s heart sank. Realizing that something was terribly wrong, she called the police.
The local police, the FBI, family members, neighbors, and even complete strangers all banded together to scour the streets for any sign of Amber.
The next morning, a chilling discovery was made: Amber’s bike was found abandoned in Denniston Park. I remember thinking how strange it was, given that the park isn’t even on the route Amber should have taken to get home, which is odd given that the park isn’t even on the route Amber should have taken to get home.
The most disturbing discoveries, though, were the details surrounding the condition of Amber’s belongings. Her shoe was found with traces of her blood on it, and her sweater bore vomit stains and mysterious blue fibers.
Person of interest
The investigation into Amber’s disappearance seemed to focus primarily on one key suspect: Daniel John Smith. He was the boyfriend of Amber’s 22-year-old sister, Debbie Barker. Although the couple had a child together, they were estranged at the time of Amber’s disappearance.
Amber had previously told her mother that she was afraid of Daniel. She said that she was scared that he would kidnap her.
I tried to find out more about this, but unfortunately, that’s all the information I could find. Reading between the lines, though, it seems that Daniel might have made some unsettling comments or displayed concerning behavior that had Amber worried.
What’s more, it turns out that Smith had been at Amber’s house on the night she disappeared. He would have been there when Amber made that fateful phone call to her mother, alerting him that she was about to ride home, which seems to imply that Daniel could have been involved in her disappearance.
As I continued to look for more information, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of frustration at the lack of concrete answers. The pieces of the puzzle just didn’t seem to fit together quite right, leaving me with a gnawing unease that I couldn’t shake.
And the direction Daniel took when he left Bonnie’s house shortly after that call would put him right in Amber’s path home. It’s one of those eerie details that just sticks with you and makes you wonder.
To add to the growing pile of circumstantial evidence against Daniel, it turns out he was actually furious with Amber’s sister Debbie on the very day Amber disappeared. According to newspaper reports from that time, Daniel was angry because Debbie had taken their child out of state. This made me wonder if there was more to Daniel’s involvement than just a chance encounter with Amber.
And let’s not forget about those mysterious blue fibers found on Amber’s sweater. As it turns out, the interior of Daniel’s truck just happened to be—you guessed it—blue. With each piece of the puzzle coming together, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that Daniel might have kidnapped Amber as a twisted form of retaliation against her sister Debbie. The connections were too strong to ignore.
Daniel’s criminal history
Daniel was no stranger to trouble, and it seemed like he had a knack for finding himself in the thick of it. Back in 1995, he was convicted of kidnapping a woman from a nightclub. If you ask him, he’ll tell you it was all a drunken mistake; he was just trying to steal her car. But the fact remained that she was in the car and he wouldn’t let her out. Initially charged with robbery, the charge was later changed to kidnapping.
And then he was also charged with witness intimidation after he threatened a security guard at a hearing.
As if that wasn’t enough, Daniel found himself facing another charge: witness intimidation. This came about after he threatened a security guard during a hearing for the kidnapping charge.
In 1997, things took an even darker turn when Daniel allegedly assaulted Debbie, Amber’s sister. Debbie claimed that he hit her when she refused to have sex with him. Daniel had a court date scheduled for this crime in January 1998, the very month following Amber’s disappearance.
At the time of Amber’s abduction in 1998, Daniel was on parole for the kidnapping charge. As part of his parole conditions, he was required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Unfortunately, his knack for finding trouble reared its head again when he missed a meeting right before Amber went missing. The police swiftly issued a warrant for his arrest.
The suicide that made the case go cold
The authorities had their sights set on Daniel as a person of interest in Amber’s disappearance, and for good reason. They planned to arrest and interview him, hoping to shed light on what happened to Amber. However, that crucial interview never took place.
On December 22, just four days after Amber vanished, Daniel was found dead in Del City’s Ray Trent Park. In a tragic twist, he had taken his own life by hanging himself from a tree. His death was ultimately ruled a suicide.
With Daniel’s passing, any hope of finding answers in Amber’s case seemed to slip away. Amber was never found, neither dead nor alive, and with the primary suspect now gone, it appears unlikely that the police or Amber’s family will ever uncover the truth.
But it’s now November 2022 as of this writing and I have to think that Amber is most likely dead.
In 2015, a curious twist emerged in the investigation. Authorities filed a search warrant, requesting DNA samples from an inmate named Forrest Jay Rice, who, for some reason, also went by Steven Brent Henley. I’m not entirely sure why he had two names, but that’s what the sources reported.
The police were eager to compare Forrest’s DNA with the samples found in the blood and vomit discovered on Amber’s belongings. It was a potentially crucial lead that could have unraveled the entire mystery.
Now, here’s where things get even more intriguing. Forrest claimed that he had seen Daniel at his apartment on the night of Amber’s disappearance. He also said that he was with Daniel on the day he took his own life. This connection between Forrest and Daniel made the situation all the more puzzling and raised questions about Forrest’s possible involvement.
I spent hours scouring the internet, trying to find any information on whether Forrest’s DNA was a match or if the samples had even been compared at all. But I ended up empty-handed. It’s frustrating not to know whether this potentially crucial piece of evidence was ever fully explored or if it led anywhere in the investigation.
So, there you have it, my friends. Another layer of complexity in this already baffling case, and yet another question that remains unanswered. As much as I would love to provide some closure, the truth is that we’re still left wondering what really happened to Amber and if this perplexing lead with Forrest Jay Rice (or Steven Brent Henley, if you prefer) was ever truly followed up on.
What do I think?
I can’t help but think that Daniel Smith might have been behind Amber’s disappearance, possibly as a form of revenge for Debbie taking their child out-of-state without his consent. I mean, it seems like a plausible explanation, doesn’t it?
However, there’s one puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit: Forrest. How on earth does he tie into all of this? Was he somehow involved in the crime, or did he simply know more than he was willing to admit? I’m genuinely stumped here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
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