Unsolved mystery - Patty Ann Smith

Here's a story that will remind you of something you would find on 48 Hours Mystery -- a murder that's gone unsolved after 40 years.

Patty Ann Smith of Quincy was 9 years old when she went missing in 1970.

For this Unsolved Mysteries in the Tri-States report, KHQA checked into the case for some background, and headed to the police department for the facts.

Patty Ann Smith was last seen here walking near 10th & 11th and Broadway. A lot has changed since then, but the mystery of her disappearance has remained the same.

Her remains and clothing were found about a year later by some mushroom hunters off of Highway 57 south of Quincy near Bluffs Hall Church.

Where does the case stand now? John Summers says, "Right now, the case is idle. All the evidence is gone."

Summers, who started with the department in 1977, has checked with several agencies including the FBI in Washington, D.C. to find Patty's remains and clothing, but they're missing. A possible lead came from Patty's family members a few years ago. A family member gave the victim's father a barrette that supposedly belonged to Patty. Police followed up on that tip, but it was fruitless.

John Summers adds, "We did get a piece of possible evidence that's been sent to the crime lab to be checked for DNA, and unfortunately, there was none found on it."

Summers says investigators focused on two sex offenders in years past, but those offenders were eliminated as persons of interest in this case. The person who the investigation would focus on now died about 30 years ago.

What's the future hold for this case?

"Well, I don't know if there is a future unfortunately. Everyone has their own beliefs about who did it, including myself. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do to prove that that person is responsible at this point," says Summers.

Summers says that fact is heartbreaking for Patty Ann's sake. Even though the evidence is long gone, Patty Ann's file remains at the Quincy Police Department........unsolved, but a reminder of a gruesome murder that happened years ago in our own backyard.

Patty Ann would be almost 49 years old today.