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