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Mindi Chambers, age 17, went missing from Tempe, Arizona on October 19, 1982.

Mindi was last seen in the morning hours of October 19, 1982, when she left to walk her half-sisters to school.   When her step-mother arrived home from work, Mindi’s purse and ID card were there, and the front door was open.  There was no sign of a struggle.

A clerk at the Circle K convenience store about a block from her home claimed to have seen Mindi make a phone call, and leave.

Mindi’s mother, Mary Xenos Chambers, had been found deceased in her bathtub in Yonkers, New York, in 1967.  Mindi was 2 years old at the time, and her father, Allen Chambers, was suspected of her murder, but never charged.   A retired New York detective, who had once been married to Mindi’s aunt, said that Allen Chambers had scratches on his face following his wife’s death.

Soon after, he was arrested for assault, and sentenced to prison.  Mindi was sent to live with her paternal grandmother, in Chandler, Arizona.  When she died, Mindi went to live with an aunt in Phoenix.

When Mindi was five, Allen Chambers was released and demanded his daughter back, and Mindi’s aunt had no legal means to stop him.

Three days before Mindi disappeared, she had reported to police that her father had been molesting her for the past several years.   Authorities placed her with her step-mother, who was in the process of divorcing Mindi’s father at the time.  Six days after Mindi filed this report, Child Protective Services called Allen about the molestation, but he hung up on them.  No further investigation was done, as far as anyone can tell.

Allen Chambers was a truck driver, and died in an accident in 1994, on a Virginia highway.

In 1984, the remains of a girl matching Mindi’s description was discovered near Houston, in a wooded area south of Highway 10.  The remains appeared to have been there for approximately one year, and an examination showed that the victim had once worn braces, as Mindi had.  However, they have been unable to locate any dental records for Mindi, or any source of DNA, as both her parents are deceased.  A half-sister submitted DNA, but it did not match.  Law enforcement has stated that DNA from a paternal relative is needed to know for sure.

There are so many things wrong with this story, that I don’t even know where to start.

1) Her purse and ID were found in Mindi’s home after she disappeared.   Had she taken them with her to walk her sisters to school?  Knowing this small detail would tell us whether she ever made it back home after dropping them off.

2) She was last seen making a phone call from the Circle K near her home.  It appears that the Circle K is still there – wouldn’t there be a way to locate the pay phone number that was there, and use old phone records to determine who she called?  Did she call 911 because her father was bothering her?   Did she call a friend and express an intent to run away?  Whoever she called was the last person to have contact with her!

3) Did Mindi’s home have a phone?  Why would someone, who was presumably home alone, use a pay phone a block away to make a phone call?   Was she making a call that she didn’t want anyone to find out about, or had she left the house because her father had showed up?  Even more reason I think they need to look into who she called.

4) Why was she placed with her abusive father’s wife??  Unless Mindi requested to be placed there (and at her age, she would have some say in the matter), that is just plain despicable! (No disrespect intended toward her father’s wife, my problem is with the ‘easy access’ for the father)

5) Childrens Protective Services called Allen Chambers six days after Mindi reported the abuse, and Allen hung up on them.   Since when does CPS CALL someone to ask if they’ve been molesting their child??  Really??

6) What trucking company did Mindi’s father work for?  Had he been scheduled to travel to Texas in the days or weeks following Mindi’s disappearance?

7) Dental records cannot be found.  If Mindi wore braces, she would have had both a dentist and an orthodontist – were both of these sources checked for dental records?

8) Why are they asking for DNA from a paternal relative?  I’m no expert on forensics, but I have only ever read that maternal relatives (preferably a chain of females) pass along the mitochondrial DNA that withstands over time.  It appears from more recent news articles, that each of Mindi’s parents has a sister (both contributed to the articles), and I have read that aunts are an acceptable source of DNA – so what is it exactly, that they are looking for??

4/18/13 – UPDATE: Just stumbled across a notation on the Mesa Arizona website, which reads, “One of her high school friends may have information related to her disappearance.”  Maybe this friend is who she last called.   I wish we knew what high school she attended, so a query could be posted on an alumni forum.

12/15/13 – UPDATE: Found a memorial page created by her family that I hadn’t seen before.  It contains some interesting information that is new to me:

The last person known to have seen Mindi was a clerk at the Circle K convenience store on the corner of University and Price; the clerk (a friend of Mindi’s step-mother Pat) saw her make a phone call and leave. He stated that he witnessed someone driving a green and tan-colored station wagon drive into the parking lot, grab Mindi, and pull her into the vehicle. She has never been heard from again.

I’m naturally curious to know if this was reported at the time.  If the clerk was friends with Mindi’s step-mother, I’d guess he was familiar with Mindi’s father as well, and would have recognized him or his car, if this driver was Mindi’s father.

Jane Doe believed to be Mindi Chambers

Sources:

The Charley Project

Doe Network

AZCentral

Find-A-Grave

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20 thoughts on “Mindi Chambers

  1. I just found photos on mindi’s mothers find a grave page, there is a high school year book photo of mindi with Mountain View hs listed. Hope this helps!

  2. I am Mindi’s brother-in-law. I am the one who created the Findagrave memorial for her. I have some other information I’d be happy to share with you. Please contact me if interested.

    Justin L. Smith

  3. At the time of Mindi’s disappearance, Allen Thomas Chambers was not yet a truck driver. That profession came years later for him. Back then he was unemployed and supported by his future wife.

  4. Hi Sean and Misti,

    Yes Sean mtDNA is a maternal link. Misti is Mindi’s half sister, but they have different mothers, so different mtDNA profiles.

    The problem is that Mindi’s biological mom, Mary Xenos Chambers, is a only child and died, possibly was murdered, in 1968. According to her Find A Grave profile Mary’s remains were cremated removing the possibility of obtaining a mtDNA match.

    The good news is that someone has linked a person who is believed to be Mindi’s maternal grandmother, Ethel Xenos, who is buried next to her husband Peter at the Long Island National Cemetery, in Farmingdale, New York.

    If it can be ascertained that Ethel Xenos is in fact Mindi Chambers maternal grandmother Ethel’s remains could be exhumed and a mtDNA profile for Mindi obtained.

    This could then be checked by technicians at the University of North Texas; not only against NamUs UP # 4574 (Vidor, Texas Jane Doe), but all female Jane Doe’s matching Mindi’s descriptors.

    • Peter,

      I am the one who put up those Findagrave memorials. Mindi’s mother was not an only child. She has 2 sisters who are still alive. Also, she was not cremated that I know of. I have so far been unable to locate her place of burial, due to New York’s overly strict laws about death certificates. I cannot obtain her death certificate until 2018. Findagrave has some very strange rules about putting up memorials, and there are people on there who make it their mission in life to go around policing memorials that do not 100% jive with those strange rules. They try to force you to delete a memorial if you do not know the exact place of burial and the death occurred more than 30 days ago. I believe that Mindi’s mother deserves a memorial, so I just put something on there to keep those ‘memorial police” off my back. I will go on there and change it to something else to make sure that people are not confused. Sorry for the confusion.

      Autosomal DNA covers both parents, and autosomal DNA was not really around when the first DNA tests were done in order to find Mindi. I suggest that autosomal DNA be done. My fiancee Kaylen is Mindi’s half-sister. Mindi’s other siblings very much want to find her so it would not be a problem at all to obtain a DNA sample.

      Justin L. Smith

      • Thanks Justin. I don’t believe there was any mention of sisters on Mary’s Find A Grave memorial page. If so I missed it.

        As autosomal DNA recombines each generation, the number of markers shared with a specific ancestor is reduced by half each generation. As neither parent is available and Mindi only has half siblings to compare with, a better testing method is comparing mtDNA.

        A direct maternal link can be traced using mtDNA which is passed down unchanged by the mother to her children. However only female offspring pass their mothers mtDNA down to the next generation

        So if Mary has two biological sisters either one could provide a mtDNA sample, and that sample would match both Mary, and Mindi.

        • Peter,

          I will update Mary Chambers’ memorial to make mention of her sisters. I do understand that the BEST option for a DNA test is the mtDNA. However, I have spent years attempting to contact Mary Xenos Chambers’ surviving siblings, without luck. I have sent letters and even managed to get ahold of Mary’s sister Stephanie’s ex-husband, who said he would pass on my message. Still no response. I frankly do not think that Mary’s siblings are interested in pursuing this matter anymore. That is why I suggested autosomal (or even X) DNA. It still works pretty well (I DNA match to several people whose shared ancestor with me was 14 generations back, and who was on the Mayflower!). While autosomal or X DNA is not as good as mtDNA, it is better than nothing.

          Justin

  5. Justin, Mary’s sister’s would be getting up in years by now and possibly that why they did not contact you.. Did either of them have children by any chance? Because the children of the sisters would also provide a mtDNA match for Mindi. It’s possible they would be young enough to be interested in helping out.

    Anyhow good luck, it seems clear that her siblings miss her a lot and would like to see that she has a respectful resting place. I don’t know if it will help but I will be adding Mindi to my Facebook file “Missing People Western States ; Interior Region”
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1664124242270.95269.1212153052&type=1&l=2ecf4bce94

  6. Justin: I see a listing in PeopleFinders for a Kaleopy Smith of Rockledge Florida. There are several phone numbers listed, as well as three e-mail addresses and several physical addresses, You need to be a paid subscriber to see them though.

    I have a logon that I got from a paid subscriber, so If you want to try to contact Kaleopy, let me know and I will give you the listed addresses and phone numbers..

    • Carl,

      I sent Kali a letter a couple years ago and received no response. That said, perhaps a different approach is in order. I appreciate you contacting me and I will be glad to have any contact information you possess. It has long been a dream of mine to bring all of the family together to put their heads together on this.

      Justin

  7. I was Mindy chambers best friend in jr high and high school, also lived next door to her aunt Carin in chandler on Boston street. I am just so pissed off and feel lost right now knowing that it took so long for a missing person report to be done. I don’t believe that’s what happened to my friend Mindy. I do know for a fact that her dad did something to her. Do I believe her step mom is covering up what happened. For one Mindy and her dad didn’t live with her step mom at that time. She and Alan were living on Horne and brown road in Mesa Az in an apartment. I went there once to go swimming and felt so unconfortable I never went back, also in May of 1983 I got a phone call from Alan chambers himself wanting to know if I had seen Mindy or heard from her because she ran away. I told him no because I hadn’t, but if I did I wouldn’t of told him in did. He had to really of wanted to cover up something and use calling me as a ploy becsuse I had moved out of my mom’s house and moved in with my boyfriend John and Alan didn’t know that until he searched my mom out.

    I have notified the mesa pd as of 9/17/2014 with all I know and with my help I hope to put my dear friend to rest like she deserves.

  8. Realistically, I believe we are looking for a body at this point. Arizona is a large area with a lot of desert territory, so it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I would like nothing more than to bring closure to those who knew and loved Mindi, but I am out of ideas at this point.

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