Sunday, March 5, 2006

Amy Billig now missing 32 years, Coconut Grove, Florida

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the very strange disappearance of Amy Billig. To see just how strange, just read Amy's Charley Project profile (
{Photos from the Charley Project: Amy around the time she disappeared; what Amy might have looked like at age 46. More photos of Amy from 1974 are available on the Charley Project.}
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 5, 1974
from Coconut Grove, Florida
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of
Birth: January 9, 1957
Age: 17 years old
Height and Weight: 5'5, 110
Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, brown eyes. Amy has a
two-inch scar on her abdomen from an appendectomy. She may have a tattoo. She
has a high-stepping gait.
Clothing Description: A denim miniskirt and cork
platform sandals.

Details of Disappearance
Amy was last seen
hitchhiking along Main Highway in Coconut Grove, Florida on March 5, 1974. She
was headed to her father's office to borrow money from him so she could meet
friends later in the day. Amy never arrived at the office and her friends never
saw her that evening. She has never been heard from again. Amy enjoyed playing
the flute and guitar, as well as reading and writing poetry, at the time of her
1974 disappearance, and was considering becoming an actress. She often
hitchhiked through her neighborhood.
Charles and Larry Glasser,
sixteen-year-old twin brothers, called Amy's family a few days after her
disappearance and claimed to have kidnapped her. They said they were holding her
for $30,000 ransom. The Glassers turned out to be lying; they did not know Amy
and had nothing to do with her disappearance. They were subsequently charged
with extortion. A photograph of the Glasser twins at the time of their arrest is
posted below this case summary.
Amy's mother, Susan Billig, began
investigating her daughter's case in addition to law enforcement's attempts
immediately after Amy disappeared. A photograph of Susan at the time of Amy's
disappearance is posted below this case summary. Susan began receiving tips from
numerous individuals who claimed that Amy had been abducted by members of The
Outlaws or The Pagans, both motorcycle gangs that traveled through the Coconut
Grove area of Florida in 1974. Some people claimed that Amy was alive and others
maintained she had been killed; these tips led Susan on a cross-country chase
through the US and even into Great Britain through the years. Sometimes Susan
would come within days of finding her daughter, but Amy was never located. She
may have used the aliases "Mute," "Sunshine," "Little Bits," and/or "Mellow
Cheryl" while with the bikers.
Paul Branch, a member of The Pagans,
initially told Susan in the late 1970's that Amy was alive and being held by
Pagan members in the U. S. Branch's widow claimed he recanted this statement on
his deathbed in the late 1990's; he then said that Amy had attended a party
thrown by The Pagans in Florida on the night of her disappearance and died of a
drug overdose, and that her body had been taken to the Florida Everglades by
gang members and tossed to the alligators. His widow relayed this information to
Amy's camera was located at the Wildwood exit on Florida's Turnpike
shortly after Amy's disappearance. It was turned in by a man who had heard she
was missing. Wildwood would have been on the route the biker gangs took
traveling north. Nobody knows if Amy had the camera when she disappeared,
however; it might have disappeared before she did. The film inside, once
developed, revealed no clues as to her whereabouts. The majority of the
photographs were completely overexposed.
Another sidenote to Amy's
disappearance involved harassing phone calls that Susan began receiving shortly
after Amy vanished in 1974. A then-unidentified male caller informed Susan that
Amy was abducted by members of an illicit sex ring organization and being held
captive. The caller tormented Susan for 21 years until 1995, when FBI agents
were able to trace a call the man made using his cellular phone. Until that
time, the caller always used a pay phone to harass Susan, making him difficult
to apprehend. The caller was identified as Henry Johnson Blair, who worked for
the US Customs Department. A photograph of him is posted below this case
summary. Blair claimed that he was an alcoholic and had an obsessive-compulsive
disorder which caused him to harass Susan; he also stated that he never met Amy
and knew nothing about her disappearance. Blair was sentenced to a two-year
prison term for harassing Susan and has since been released. Susan settled a
lawsuit against him for five million dollars, but Blair will probably never be
able to pay the full amount.
The addition of Blair into this case focuses
renewed attention on to a man Amy described in her journal. Amy wrote that she
was considering running away to South America with a man she called "Hank."
Blair's nickname is Hank. A photo developed from a roll of film in Amy's camera
showed a white van which was identical in color and model to a van Blair drove
in 1974. Blair's job with the Customs Department required him to relocate to
South America around the time Amy specified in her journal. Blair has not been
positively linked to Amy aside from his incarceration for the harassment of her
mother, however.
The A & E Network aired a program about Amy's case on
its Investigative Reports series in 1998. The documentary shows elements of
Susan's decades-long search for her daughter with law enforcement and also
provides footage of Susan's meeting with Branch's widow. Susan accepts his
widow's statement at the program's end, but authorities believe that his widow
was lying about his confession in an effort to financially profit from Amy's
disappearance. Amy's father died of lung cancer in the early 1990s.
co-authored a book about Amy's disappearance in 2001 with Greg Aunapu, called
Without A Trace: The Disappearance Of Amy Billig -- A Mother's Search For
Justice. She died of a heart attack in 2005, at age 80. Amy's case remains
Left: Henry Johnson Blair, circa 1996; Center: Susan Billig, circa 1974;
Right: Susan Billig, circa 2005
Above: Larry and Charles Glasser, circa

Investigating Agency If you have any information concerning this
case, please contact: Miami Police Department 305-579-6530

Do you know anything that could shed some light on this after all these years? Call the above number or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. Please do not use this as an opportunity for scams--as you can see, Amy's family has already been through more than enough.
You can print a poster of Amy here.

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