Missing Mystery: Reopening a cold case - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Missing Mystery: Reopening a cold case

Reporter: Stephanie Silvey
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

A twenty-eight year-old mystery, whatever happened to Robert Allen Meredith? To this day the family has no idea why an Evansville husband and father suddenly disappeared in 1979.

Robert Meredith's wife was the last known person to see him alive. She tells 14 News they got into a fight in 1979, she asked him to leave and he was never seen again.

There's no missing person report on file at the Evansville Police Department and his wife admits she never filed one.

She later filed for divorce, remarried and moved on with her life, but other family members are having difficulty doing the same.

They say Robert Meredith wasn't the kind of person to up and leave and they are tired of living with years of unanswered questions.

Tammy Meredith admittedly has few memories of her father, but the memories she has are good ones, "He got us tricycles, he couldn't wait to give them to us."

It was the last time she saw him, "He never came back like he said he would."

Little did Tammy know there was another girl in another state feeling exactly the same way.

Denise Hauser says, "I thought I could cry all the tears I could cry growing up, wondering if daddy was ever coming back."

In fact Robert Meredith had at least eight children with four wives throughout his life.

Many of those children, like Tammy, didn't know about each other until they began looking into their dad's disappearance, "I found Denise and Renee two weeks ago and I'm happy."

Tammy's sister Denise Hauser says, "I just think there has been a lot of healing already, just knowing that dad didn't just stop loving me and walk away from just me."

Robert Meredith's children have now joined forces in an effort to find out what happened to their father.

Tammy says, "For him to just up and disappear like the invisible man, something had to happen."

Denise feels the same way, "I feel like we are starting all over again, on a road that is not really leading anywhere and we would like for their to be some light at the end of the tunnel."

It's a path Robert Meredith's sister, Linda has been down before, "He would not totally separate from us. He would not."

Linda went to the Evansville police in 1992, in an effort to revive her brother's case.

It was then she learned, they never knew about it. But by 1992, Robert Meredith had already been declared dead by his ex wife, Tammy's mother, Brenda, "He left me heartbroken, but I had two kids to raise."

Brenda says Robert Meredith has remained the love of her life, "He was tall, handsome and could charm your socks off."

But by the time he disappeared they had already divorced and he was remarried to someone else.

Despite that, Brenda says she never truly moved on, "I wish I knew what happened to him so I could move on with my life."

Many rumors have circulated through the years. Meredith's best friend, a fellow bartender David Moore was shot and killed a few years before Meredith disappeared.

Could Meredith have witnessed something, or could the two situations be related?

It's been rumored Meredith's car was found in the Ohio River, but there are no records to verify that.

And in a statement to the Social Security Administration, Meredith's wife at the time he disappeared said she received collect calls and letters from Meredith in Florida afterward, but to this date, there is no evidence of his existence since the day he left in 1979.

Meredith's sister, Linda, thinks foul play was involved, "I believe he's been murdered."

And that is something the Evansville Police Department now believes is worth looking into.

Detective Guy Minnis just recently met with Meredith's loved ones and has agreed to look into the case, "This is going to be a tough case. He disappeared in 1979. He was declared dead years later, there's no body, he could be using another identity. We just don't know anything"

Linda says, "This is the first time anyone has ever thought we were worth helping and we are."

As for the children, like Tammy, finding out he did leave them or finding out he was murdered is still a better alternative for them, than nothing at all, "Closure most definitely. Yes, he's dead. No, he's not. Here's where he is, either or."

Denise Hauser says, "I don't want to chase after never land, but I want the truth. I just want the truth. I really don't know that the truth could hurt anymore than all the unanswered questions."

Robert Meredith would be 67 years-old. His case remains a mystery as does the case of his best friend's murder David Moore.

Anyone with any information on either case should call Evansville Police Detective Guy Minnis at 436-7987 or you can make an anonymous tip at 435-6194.

Any information could bring some much needed relief to this family.

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