Pamela Butler missing: Three years later, family still seeks answers
For one Southwest Washington family, a day typically marked by love and affection is instead filled with pain, loss and confusion while they continue to search for the daughter and sister who disappeared in 2009.
Three years ago today, Pamela Butler, a 47-year-old federal employee, vanished from her home. On this anniversary of her disappearance, her family continues to express their hope for closure.
"To just know that you have a daughter out there...you don't know whether she is living or dead," Butler's mother, Thelma, said.
On Valentine's Day in 2009, Thelma was planning on having a special dinner with her daughter. But when Pamela never arrived and did not call, she realized something was wrong.
Police found both of her cars at the house, but investigators have yet to find any definitive clues as to what happened to her.
"I just can't believe that three years have gone," Thelma said.
Leading up her disappearance, Butler had dated a man, Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, for several months. Surveillance footage near the home caught him coming and going from the house several times.
A full day before Butler was last seen, Rodriguez-Cruz was seen leaving the house with filled trash bags. The family later found the bed inside the home stripped; the bedding was never recovered.
Rodriguez-Cruz has been questioned, but no one has ever been charged.
Derrick Butler, Pamela's brother, holds no grudge against police, though.
"I don't think they've dropped the ball; I think they're just stymied," Derrick says. "This is a very hard case to solve."
A syndicated television program recently focused on the Butler case, and now that three years have passed, her family believes that someone knows something, and all they want is for that person to come forward.
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