Monday, October 24, 2005

DAR Newspaper 10/26/2004

Reward: $5,000 offered in Grobe disappearance
Mary GrobeBy MICHELLE FRIEDRICH ~ Associate Editor
A California foundation has put up a $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of an elderly Poplar Bluff woman who has been missing more than a year.
Mary Lee Grobe, 74, was last seen at about 6 p.m. Sept. 27, 2003, at her residence at 1557 Highway B by her granddaughter, Amy Bridgewater.
Two days later concerned family members entered Grobe's residence and found her and her dog, "B-B," missing. Her purse and medication were still inside; however, an overnight bag and some winter clothing also were reported missing.
Since her disappearance, Grobe's dog returned home in good condition a few days later and authorities have conducted extensive searches and followed up numerous leads with no success.
About a week ago, Shelley Streeter with the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation in Modesto, Calif., contacted Butler County Chief Deputy Jerry Armes about the possibility of establishing a reward in Grobe's case.
"She contacted us after family members had contacted them," Armes said.
With about 15 family members in attendance, a news conference was held Monday afternoon at the Butler County Justice Center announcing the establishment of the reward.
During the news conference, Butler County Lt. Mary Barlow, chief communication officer, read a statement on behalf of Kim Peterson, the foundation's executive director.
"Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso were the three women sightseers who were missing and later found murdered near Yosemite National Park in February of 1999," Barlow read. "While they were missing, Carole Sund's parents, Francis and Carole Carrington, at the request of the FBI, posted rewards both for their safe return and for information leading to the whereabouts of their rental car."
The Carringtons, according to Peterson's statement, believe that posting of these rewards and the media attention they received, contributed to the car being located and gave them the first break in their case.
"They were thankful that they had the financial means to offer these rewards and it's because of this that they have started the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Rewards Foundation," Barlow read. "This foundation was established to assist families, such as the family of Mary Grobe, who are in similar circumstances as the Carringtons in that Mary is a missing person."
As a result, the foundation is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Grobe's safe return, Barlow read.
"We know reward money can make a difference because the foundation's reward money has already assisted in the location of four missing persons and the apprehension of 20 murder suspects and one child molester/attempted murderer," Peterson's statement read. "We currently have suspects in custody in five states. Of the 21 suspects in custody, seven murderers and one child molester have been convicted or pled guilty as charged."
To date, the foundation has paid a total of $110,500 in rewards "to citizens who did the right thing by coming forward and sharing the information they had regarding these cases," Barlow read. "We all have the responsibility to do our part to help make our community a safe place."
Also speaking during the news conference was Grobe's daughter, Joyce Caldwell, who began by holding up a photograph of her missing mother.
"To have a loved one ripped from your life without explanation has been an unbelievably hard thing and I hope no one else ever has to go through this," Caldwell said. "I am appreciative of the efforts made here today."
Caldwell thanked those in attendance for coming, the sheriff's department for holding the news conference, the foundation for posting the reward and the Poplar Bluff Police Department for listing Grobe on their Web page.
"Thanks to the loving individuals at Child Seek Network for my mom, Mary Lee Grobe's Web page and for their suggestions and support," Caldwell explained. "Thanks to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the investigators in the Department of Health and Senior Services' office of special investigation.
"I would beg the Butler County Sheriff's Department to allow these professionals an active role in the investigation. I am convinced that if this case is to be solved it's going to require the collaboration and cooperation of all levels of law enforcement."
Caldwell said she also was "pleading with lawmakers to take a very close look at current laws and make reforms that will prevent this type of crime from happening to anyone else's loved one."
Caldwell asked the citizens in Southeast Missouri for help.
"Please, if you know of anything, even if it appears to be insignificant, please contact these professionals," she said. "Sometimes, it is the mundane details that can break the case.
"...Please, let's find answers; let's bring Mary Lee Grobe home."
Other family members in attendance declined to comment during the news conference.
With the establishment of a reward, "we're hoping it will generate some leads," explained Armes. "We've got very few leads coming in. Most of them are dead ends, nothing.
"We're hopeful that the reward offered by the foundation will be another tool to help bring some leads forward."
Armes said the sheriff's department also is appreciative of the foundation offering the reward.
"At this point, we welcome any ideas or anything anybody might have," he said. "We don't know if (the reward) will help or not, but it can't hurt. We need any lead or information we can get."
Grobe, who also is listed on the National Center for Missing Adults, is described as being 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. She has blue eyes and gray hair.
Anyone with information about the Grobe case is asked to call Armes at 686-8070 or 785-8444.
Daily American Rebublic Newspaper

*Reward expired


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