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36 years unsolved: Sandy Rea disappearance still a mystery in Shawnee

News-Star Staff Reports
Sandy Rea disappeared in 1984.

The disappearance of Sandy Rea 36 years ago on Sept. 19, 1984 remains a mystery in the Shawnee community.

The 17-year-old teenager made a phone call from a Shawnee bowling alley on that Wednesday in hopes of getting a ride to a party. Over the decades, there have been many stories shared and theories exchanged about where Sandy went, who she was with and what really happened to her in the hours or even days after that phone call.

Sandy’s disappearance has been an open case for the Shawnee Police Department for decades. Last year, new Pottawatomie County District Attorney Allan Grubb said the disappearance of Sandy Rea has troubled him and many citizens in the community, as his office pledged an investigator with a fresh set of eyes would also look at the case.

Sandy’s family continues to be steadfast in their quest for answers and they haven’t given up searching on their own.  Sandy’s cousin, Johnny Price, made a vow eight years ago that he would find Sandy and he intends to keep that promise to his family, no matter how long it takes.

“I’m not going to give up — I’m not going to stop looking,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve heard so many stories. How can so many people be so adamant about what they saw or what happened? All of these stories can’t be true. The deeper we dig, the more convoluted it gets.”

A police-organized dig for possible remains commenced in Shawnee a few years back, but Price feels there are many more places that could be searched.           

“We’ll never know where she’s at until we find out where she’s not,” he said, adding every search, even when unfounded, crosses another possibility off the list.

Price feels certain someone knows a secret that could end years of wondering and torment for the family and he hopes they eventually decide to do the right thing and share what they know.

Sandy is still listed as missing in the database of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The latest age progression photograph shows what Sandy might have looked like at the age of 46.

Inquiries for any updates from investigators on the case were not received by press deadlines.

Anyone with tips or information can contact Shawnee police at 405-273-2122, or contact the district attorney’s office, 405-275-6800.