Amy Sue Pagnac disappeared from a Minnesota gas station when she was just 13 years old; her father was in the restroom at the time and left her in the car. When he came out, he says, she was nowhere to be found. Assuming she'd gone to the bathroom as well, he waited for her to come out. She never did.
That was 25 years ago, and police haven't had any leads as to Amy's whereabouts over the decades since. But now, they've executed a warrant to dig in her parents' backyard and are searching the home.
"She's a 13-year-old girl. Someone who goes missing at that age, we don't believe they are able to go missing on their own," Police Captain Keith Terlinden said.
Authorities haven't said whether Amy's parents are suspects in her disappearance or whether they are treating the cold case as a murder investigation, but they have removed several boxes and items from the home.
“I have been trying to get law enforcement to do things for 25 years now, and having the fact that they’re going to do something, even if it doesn’t make much sense to me, is wonderful,” her mother, Susan Pagnac said. “I just gave them permission to do whatever they wanted to do, so I don’t know what’s going on.”
Captain Terlinden did say that the facts surrounding Amy's disappearance have bothered investigators for years.
"We have never closed her case. We've had someone actively working it since 1989. This is a case that has bothered us for a long time, and we really want to find closure," Terlinden said.
The Pagnacs say they wondered if Amy, who suffered from seizures, had experienced one in the car and wandered off while disoriented. They also say they don't feel the police took them very seriously when they first reported her missing, instead believing she might have been a runaway. Neighbors who knew the family say that Amy was often left to her own devices.
"Everyone knows about the purple house," said neighbor Danny Quam. "It was a landmark in the neighborhood. She was a very nice girl. But you could tell she was on her own and left to wander and do things on her own."
Image via Thinkstock