Case Report - NamUs MP # 1702
First name Amber
Middle name Renee
Last name Barker
NCMEC number 841456
Date last seen December 18, 1997 00:00
Date entered 03/07/2009
Age last seen 10 to 10 years old
Age now 28 years old
Height (inches) 59.0
Weight (pounds) 70.0
City Oklahoma City
Zip code 73119
Amber was last seen leaving a friend's house on her bicycle. Her bicycle was found in Denniston Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Foul play is suspected.
Hair color Brown
Left eye color Brown
Right eye color Brown
First name Edward
Last name Dugan
Case number 97122598
Agency Oklahoma City Police Department
City Oklahoma City
Zip code 73102
Amber was last seen leaving a friend's house on her bicycle about 18.00, near Northwest 45th and Drexel Boulevard toward her home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 18, 1997. She had just called her mother on the telephone and said she would...
Left: Barker, circa 1997 Right : Age Progressed by NCMEC to age 21 (2008)
Amber Renee Barker
Missing since December 18, 1997 from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Classification: Lost, Injured, Missing
Date Of Birth: October 14, 1987
Age at Time of Disappearance: 10 years old
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 4'11"; 65-70 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown hair; brown eyes. Front part of hair in a ponytail on the top of head and the rest of it left straight down. Pierced ears.
Clothing: Blue or black jeans, long-sleeved beige shirt with a brown collar, and No Excuses tennis shoes.
DNA: mtDNA Available
Circumstances of Disappearance
Amber Renee Barker was last seen leaving a friend's house on her bicycle about 18.00, near Northwest 45th and Drexel Boulevard toward her home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 18, 1997.
She had just called her mother on the telephone and said she would be home soon. Police found her undamaged bicycle lay against a tree, in Denniston Park near Northwest 27th and Drexel on December 19, 1997, and her shoes near Northwest 12th and Drexel on December 20, 1997. A ring, a sweater, and a sock belonging to Amber were found later along Drexel between NW 45 and NW 12.
Police and FBI agents were seeking Amber's brother-in-law, for questioning shortly after she disappeared, but he was found on December 22, 1997 after he committed suicide. He was also wanted for a probation violation in connection with a kidnapping conviction in November 1996 in Oklahoma City.
Witnesses told police the suspect was at Amber's house just minutes before she called home to speak with her mother.
He was found hanging from a tree at Ray Trent Park in Del City four days after Amber disappeared.
Detectives found a small amount of blood on Amber's shoe, as well as vomit and blue fibers on the sweater. The interior of the suspect's pickup was blue.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Oklahoma City Police Department
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
NCMEC #: NCMC841456
Agency Case Number: 97122598
NCIC Number: M-084085341
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
North American Missing Persons Network
Oklahoma City Police
By Amy Lester, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Following the closure of a 27-year-old cold case in California, a mother in Oklahoma said her hope has been restored in solving the mystery behind who killed her daughter.
Bonnie Barker's daughter disappeared 11 years ago, and Amber Baker's case remains unsolved.
"I did think that she's still living," Bonnie Barker said. "I don't know anymore, since it seems like she would've got a hold of us by now."
Bonnie Barker will celebrate Christmas without her daughter, but will look at pictures of Amber and remember what once was.
"She loved Christmas," Bonnie Barker said. "We used to sleep on the couch together every night, even when she was 10-years-old. She didn't like to sleep in her room by herself, it scared her."
Amber went missing on December 18, 1997 while she was returning from a friend's house near Interstate 44 and Drexel Avenue. Police found her bike and clothes, but not Amber.
"We did develop information on one possible suspect," said Sgt. Paco Balerrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department. "Unfortunately, this individual killed himself soon after being interviewed by police, so we never got to find out what may have happened to her."
Daniel Smith, the lone suspect, was Amber's brother-in-law.
"I definitely think that he's responsible," Bonnie Barker said. "I believe there's somebody else involved besides him that knows something."
Amber's mother said she believes someone has the answers she's waiting for.
"She was harmless, she was just a little angel," Bonnie Barker said. "She never hurt a soul. I don't know why anybody would ever want to hurt her."
Police said Amber Barker's case remains open, and ask anyone with information to come forward.
Since it's been almost 11 years, police think Amber is dead, but the case will remain open until Amber or her body are discovered.
Left: Barker, circa 1997;
Right: Age-progression at age 18 (circa 2005)
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: December 18, 1997 from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: October 14, 1987
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4'11 - 5'0, 70 - 80 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Barker's ears are pierced. Her nickname is Amby.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A long-sleeved beige shirt with a brown collar, light blue or black jeans and tennis shoes.
Details of Disappearance
Barker was last seen at approximately 6:00 p.m. on December 18, 1997 in her hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She left a friend's residence and was riding her blue ten-speed bicycle in the 3000 block of northwest 45th Street at the time. Barker phoned her mother prior to departing from her friend's home and said that she would return to her family's residence in the 3100 block of northwest 39th Street. She has never been heard from again.
Barker's bicycle was discovered abandoned in Denniston Park in Oklahoma City on December 19, the day following her disappearance. The bike was located near northwest 27th Street and Drexel Boulevard, which is one mile from her home. Barker's sweater, shoes and ring were found along Drexel Boulevard and northwest 12th Street on December 20. One of her shoes was a block away from the other one. Investigators stated that blood, hair and fiber evidence was discovered near Barker's possessions. There were blue fibers and vomit on her sweater, and a speck of blood on her shoe, but the blood spot was so small that authorities could not link it to any specific person.
Daniel John Smith, Barker's sister's common-law husband, was previously convicted for attempted kidnapping in 1995. He admitted that he assaulted a woman in Oklahoma City while he was intoxicated and tried to steal her car keys. The woman says he tried to rape her. Smith pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a five-year deferred prison sentence and four months at a boot camp in Oklahoma, where he earned excellent reviews. The police had been summoned to another of Barker's sisters' homes in November 1997, approximately one month before the child disappeared. Her sister claimed that Smith hit her after she refused to have sexual relations with him. He was given a citation by authorities but was not arrested.
Smith was allegedly at Barker's residence when she called her mother to say she was returning home. He left the residence immediately afterwards and headed west, the same direction Barker was coming from. Smith was questioned about Barker on the day after her disappearance, and authorities wanted to interview him further, but he discovered hanged from a tree in at Ray Trent Park in Del City, Oklahoma at 11:30 p.m. on December 22, 1997, four days after Barker was last seen. Investigators determined he committed suicide. Smith was not labeled as a suspect at the time; authorities simply said they wanted to question him regarding Barker's case.
Barker's disappearance remains unsolved. She was a fourth-grade student at James Monroe Elementary School at the time of her disappearance. Her loved ones stated she was not having any personal problems when she went missing, nor does she have a history as a runaway. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved in her case.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Oklahoma City Police Department
PM Online Member Profile
She feared going home and getting in trouble for staying out past dark Dec. 18, 1997. Amber Barker, 10, never made it home. Her mother, Bonnie Barker, thinks she is still alive.
The brown-haired, brown-eyed girl's picture is on a poster hanging on the wall of her mother's Oklahoma City apartment. The missing child poster is also on the back of about 500 tractor-trailers nationwide. "None of us have really given up hope that she is alive," Barker said.
She said someone once thought they saw Amber in Mississippi. The tip didn't help, though. She hopes Amber, the youngest of her six daughters, was kidnapped and is still alive.
The man suspected of kidnapping her, Daniel John Smith, 24, was found hanged from a tree near Ray Trent Park in Del City four days after she was reported missing from her home at 3119 NW 39 Terrace.
Her sister, Penny Barker, fears Amber was sexually assaulted.
"I'd like to think she's alive, but I don't know," Penny Barker said.
Smith was the common-law husband of Amber's sister, Debbie Gail Barker, 22. His death was ruled suicide.
Bonnie Barker's life seems to be in suspension, with bad memories that haven't faded.
Clues Point To Dead Man In Vanishing Telephone Call Overheard; Blood Found on Child's Shoe
Ed Godfrey Published: January 6, 1998
A man who hanged himself and who may have abducted Amber Barker was at the child's home when her mother spoke to the 10-year-old on the telephone, instructing her to return home from a playmate's house, court records show.
That man, Daniel John Smith, then immediately left the Barker residence in a direction that "would have put him in line to have met up with Amber as she was headed home," a police affidavit states.
The Oklahoma City girl has been missing since Dec. 18 when she left a friend's house at 5:50 p.m. to return to her home at 3119 NW 39 Terrace.
Oklahoma City police also discovered a speck of blood on a shoe belonging to Amber. Vomit and blue fibers were found on a sweater she was wearing the night she disappeared.
That information was revealed in an affidavit filed Monday in Oklahoma County District Court.
The affidavit of Sgt. Ron Mitchell of the Oklahoma City Police Department was used last month to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant for Smith's pickup.
Police conducted the search Dec. 22 and learned Smith's pickup has blue cloth seats, blue carpet and a blue vinyl dashboard, court records show. A bungee cord was attached to the bed of the truck near the tailgate. Police also recovered hair from the passenger and driver's sides of the vehicle.
Amber was riding a blue bicycle that was found the next day in Denniston Park at NW 25 and Drexel Boulevard. A trail of evidence was found along Drexel.
The girl's ring was found at NW 45 and Drexel. A tennis shoe with a small spot of blood on it, her sweater and a sock also were found along Drexel from NW 13 to NW 25.
The amount of blood was so small that police could not determine its origin, a law enforcement source told The Oklahoman.
Smith's body was found Dec. 22 hanging from a tree in Ray Trent Park in Del City. His pickup was found at a convenience store about a mile away. The state medical examiner ruled Smith's death was a suicide by hanging.
Police never publicly called Smith, 24, a suspect and still won't. On Monday, Capt. Charles Allen said police are still following leads in the girl's disappearance.
Allen said police cannot consider Smith a suspect because there is not enough evidence that a crime happened. "Right now Smith is not a suspect because we do not have a crime. We have a disappearance. When we have enough evidence of a crime, then we might consider him something else," he said.
However, Mitchell's affidavit states there is probable cause to believe Amber "is the victim of foul play."
According to the affidavit, a friend of the Barker family, Joey Bishop, told police Smith was at the Barker house on Dec. 18 when Amber was speaking to her mother on the phone. Bishop told police Smith left "right after Amber called home."
Bishop also told police Smith normally headed east when he left the house, but on this occasion he left traveling west. That would be in the same direction Amber would have been coming from, Mitchell wrote.
However, Amber's mother, Bonnie Barker, disputes Bishop's claim. She told The Oklahoman Monday that Smith was not at her home when she spoke to her daughter on the telephone.
She said Smith had been at the house but left shortly before she arrived. But Smith told police he was there and admitted he overheard Bonnie Barker talking to Amber, the affidavit states. Smith was interviewed by police the day after Amber's disappearance.
Smith, who is the former boyfriend of Amber's sister, Debbie Barker, told police he left the Barker home looking for Debbie's car. Smith told police he couldn't find it so he went to a club and drank beer, and then drove around drinking more beer.
Amber's father, Robert Barker, told police Amber had informed him Smith had tried to force her into his pickup Dec. 17. Amber told her brother, Eddie Barker, the same thing and said she had to run into the house to get away, the affidavit states.
Smith denied being at the Barker residence Dec. 17, as reported by Amber. Police did not arrest Smith on Dec. 19 and later said there was not enough evidence to detain him. Mitchell wrote Smith promised police he would conduct an interview with the FBI and agreed to take a polygraph, but never showed up.
Debbie Barker and Smith have a 7-month-old daughter. The couple were having domestic problems so Debbie moved to Oregon, and Smith had been coming by the Barker residence since, the affidavit states.
Almost three weeks after Amber's disappearance, Bonnie Barker's hope that her daughter is somewhere safe is fading.
"I hope she can be found alive, but I just do not know anymore," she said.
Staff writer Robert Medley contributed to this report. BIOG: NAME: UPD:
Man Close To Amber Barker Cold Case Shares His Theory
BY ADRIANNA IWASINSKI, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -
Investigators said they cannot forget the face or the case.
Amber Barker would have turned 27 this year.
She disappeared in 1997 while riding her bicycle home in her Northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood.
Police confirmed they have been quietly looking into this case for the past four years.
Investigators with their Crimes Against Children unit have been going over every piece of evidence with a fresh set of eyes to see if there was something that was missed the first time.
In court documents, there were three names mentioned of men police have interviewed.
Daniel Smith, Forest Rice, and Joseph Bishop were the men interviewed.
News 9 talked to Bishop Friday by phone.
“The whole family was questioned,” explained Bishop, who said he now lives in Dallas. “Everyone was questioned, taken down to the police station, and polygraphed and all that.”
Bishop said he does not know what happened to Amber Barker that day.
“No I have no idea,” said Bishop.
Bishop was dating Amber Barker's older sister Brandi at the time and admitted they had a rocky relationship.
He said what happened to Amber most likely was taken to the grave with Daniel Smith.
Smith was Amber's brother-in-law and committed suicide, just days after police questioned him about her disappearance.
"I was 19 at the time. I still have nightmares” said Bishop. “Then they let him go and three days later they found him hanging dead in the park.”
Bishop said he, like Amber's family, wants to know what happened. He said it is possible someone still knows something, but just hasn't come forward.
“I hope someday they get all the answers they are looking for,” said Bishop.
Police recovered Amber's bicycle, as well as her shoes and a sweater.
And on that sweater, police found partial DNA of a man, but have yet to make a match.
"Investigators believe that someone knows the whole story, or at least enough of the story to put the pieces together,” said MSgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department. “And after all these years, we still want to hear from that person. That information is still vital to the case."
Oklahoma City police filed a search warrant on Thursday, requesting DNA from an Oklahoma County inmate.
He was identified as Forest Rice, but also goes by the name Steven Henley.
Police said he is not a suspect, but investigators believe he may have crucial information about Barker's disappearance that could lead them to the answer of what happened to Amber.
They said they also want to talk to Joseph Bishop for the very same reason.
“That's what we're there to do; to try to find out who's responsible for this kind of crime, hold them accountable, yet also locate the body and at least possibly give the family some closure to be able to bury their child,” said Knight.
Investigators said Amber Barker's mother passed away just last year.
And one of her sister's was found dead in 2013.
But there are still friends and family out there who want to see this case solved.
If you have any information you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at (405) 235-7300.
This is Amber's sister, Brandy Perry. She was found dead in a ditch. The state medical examiner's office claims the death is the result of a storm. But there was no flooding in the area, and no debris around. They suspect foul play. Amber's mother also died last year. Too much tragedy for one family.
New Search Warrant Request For DNA In Oklahoma 1997 Cold Case
OKLAHOMA CITY -
Thursday morning, one of the lead investigators on the 1997 disappearance of 9-year-old Amber Barker filed a search warrant, requesting DNA samples from an Oklahoma inmate.
And that inmate could have information that's vital to the case.
For years, the missing person posters with Amber's school picture have haunted those who knew and loved her, as well as those trying to find clues in her case.
“It seems like she would have got a hold of us by now,” said Amber's mother Bonnie Barker, wo spoke with News 9 about the case back in 2008. She died last year.
Amber was last seen on December 18th, 1997, leaving a friend's house near NW 45th and Drexel.
She was on her bicycle, and even called her mom saying she was on her way home. But she was never heard from again.
On December 19th,1997, police found Amber's bicycle in Denniston Park, a mile from her home.
On December 20th, 1997, they found her sweater, shoes, and a ring lying along NW 15th St.
Court papers state DNA lab techs were able to locate what appeared to be vomit on the sweater and initial testing indicated there was possible ejaculate in the vomit too. But at that time, they could not extract a DNA profile because the technology did not exist.
But tests done 15 years later revealed a partial male DNA profile.
Both police and the family suspected Daniel Smith, Amber's brother-in-law, knew something about her disappearance, but he committed suicide.
“Yeah I definitely think he's responsible,” said Bonnie Barker during that 2008 interview. “I believe there's somebody else involved besides him that knows something.”
That's why Oklahoma City police requested DNA samples from Forrest Jay Rice.
Rice admitted to police that Smith was at his apartment the night Amber disappeared, and was with him that day. He also admitted he was with Smith the day he committed suicide.
Rice, who also goes by the name of Steven Brent Henley, has a long criminal history. He is currently an inmate in the Oklahoma City Community Corrections Center.
On December 18, 1997, ten year-old Amber Barker was last seen at 6:00 PM, leaving a friend's house on her blue ten-speed bicycle. She was riding her bicycle from the 3000 block of NW 45th Street and Drexel Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Amber had just called her mother and said she was riding to their home at 3119 NW 39th Street. Her bicycle was later found next to a tree in Denniston Park near NW 27th Street and Drexel Boulevard, one mile from her home. Amber’s shoes were found near NW 12th Street and Drexel Boulevard on December 20th. A ring, sweater, and sock were found along Drexel Boulevard between NW 45th Street and NW 12th Street. Investigators stated that her shoe with a speck of blood, hair, and fiber evidence were discovered near Amber’s possessions. There were blue fibers and vomit on her sweater.
Police and FBI agents were seeking Amber's brother-in-law, for questioning shortly after she disappeared. He was found on December 22nd, after he committed suicide. Witnesses told police that Daniel Smith, 24, was at Amber's house just minutes before she called to speak with her mother. Smith was also wanted for a probation violation in connection with a kidnapping conviction in November of 1996, in Oklahoma City. Daniel Smith was found hanging from a tree at Ray Trent Park in Del City, on December 22nd, four days after Amber disappeared. . The interior of his pickup was blue. Daniel Smith was the common-law husband of Amber's sister, Debbie Gail Barker.
Amber's father, Robert Barker, and her brother, Eddie Barker, told police Amber had informed them Daniel Smith had tried to force her into his pickup truck on December 17th. Amber was a fourth-grade student at James Monroe Elementary School at the time of her disappearance. Her family stated she was not having any personal problems and she did not have a history as a runaway.
Amber's home at 3119 NW 39th Terrace, Oklahoma City
Amber's bicycle was found in Denniston Park, Oklahoma City.
Daniel Smith was found in Ray Trent Park, I-40 and Sunnylane, Del City.
Amber’s shoes were found near NW 12th and Drexel Boulevard, on December 20th.
Forrest Jay Rice admitted to police that Daniel Smith was at his apartment the night Amber disappeared, and he was with him that day. He also admitted he was with Daniel Smith the day he committed suicide. Forrest Rice is currently an inmate in the Oklahoma City Community Corrections Center.