ND BARBARA LOUISE COTTON: Missing from Williston, ND - 11 April 1981 - Age 15

Barbara Louise Cotton disappeared from Williston, North Dakota on April 11th 1981. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Most information available states that she was last seen leaving a local restaurant. However, law enforcement had reports that she was seen at a party later that evening with one of the friends she was with at the restaurant.

According to her mother, Barb was with a new boyfriend named Stacey Werder at the restaurant. No one else remembers anything about Barb having a boyfriend. Stacey was from California and hitchhiked everywhere as he didn't drive. According to his sisters he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and subsequently discharged from the Navy in 1980. He committed suicide in jail in Malta, Montana 3 months after Barb disappeared.

Despite leaving her paycheck from work behind and all of the money in her savings account, Barb was considered a runaway by law enforcement in the days following her disappearance.

Barbara Louise Cotton

Date of Birth:
November 10, 1965

Age at time of disappearance: 15

Race: Caucasian / Native American

Gender: Female

Height: 5’2″

Weight: 100 lbs (45 kg)

Hair: brown, wavy, shoulder-length

Eyes: hazel-brown

Distinguishing Features:

Curvature of spine/scoliosis as it has been described as a pronounced “S” curve that resulted in a sway or slight limp when she walked.

Left ear noticeably lower than right ear.

Pierced ears

Mole on upper right side of chest
Mole on right side of neck.

Dentals: Available
Barb did have metal fillings in a number of molars, despite her teeth being listed as “in excellent condition” on flyers.
(verified with law enforcement 9/8/21)

Spinal X-rays available
(verified with law enforcement 9/8/21)

Fingerprints: Unknown

DNA: MtDNA entered into CODIS

Clothing & Personal Items:

Light tan summer jacket, “Wrangler” brand blue jeans, blue pullover blouse and rust-colored suede loafers.
Jewelry: Unknown
Additional Personal Items: Unknown
(details on Barb's clothing was compiled from articles published around the time of her disappearance)

Investigating agency:
Detective Dery
Williston Police Department
(701) 577-1212
Agency Case Number: NDM10088

If you aren't comfortable contacting law enforcement directly please email:
Anything sent to this address will be kept confidential.


The Doe Network

The Charley Project


Find Barb Cotton

Investigators with Williston Police Department

Some information and details are directly from news articles, family and friends

MEDIA - BARBARA LOUISE COTTON: Missing from Williston, ND since 11 April 1981 - Age 15


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CLS/genealogy enthusiast
People like you are heroes for the missing. You have my great respect. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.
Thank you. A fresh set of eyes on the information is always great to have if anyone is interested in sharing their thoughts. I can be reached at the findbarbcotton gmail address for any questions/thoughts/ideas.
I've written her story out (to the best of my ability) on the webpage. And I've made some flyers. The more awareness the better.


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