Simone Stephanie Ridinger, age 17, was last seen in Sherborn, MA on September 2, 1977.
She left her job at the Rainbow Restaurant, telling friends she was going to hitchhike to a relative’s home in Cape Cod, where she would meet her mother. She never arrived.
In 1986, an elderly man by the name of Henry C. Tiews, came forward, stating that he had given Simone a ride, but stated it was on the date after her disappearance. Tiews stated that he was near the 128 & 109 intersection, when he was pulled over by a State Trooper. He claimed that Simone was in the back of the trooper’s car, and that the trooper had asked Tiews to drive her the rest of the way to Cape Cod, which was where he was headed. He said that she called herself ‘Sissy’ and he dropped her off at the Hyannis Rotary, and last saw her walking toward a restaurant; either a Ground Round or Howard Johnson’s.
There is nothing to suggest that Tiews had anything to do with her disappearance. He was 79 years old and he did not appear to have any criminal record. He is now deceased.
In 2009, a news report aired on a local news channel, and during the segment, images of case documents appeared briefly on-screen. These documents contained additional details about her case, however, some corners and edges were out of the camera’s view, so it was not possible to read the documents in their entirety:
Below is what I was able to make out from the handwritten report, as given by Simone’s mother: “…” represents breaks in the readable wording. The top of the report contained the phrase “Department of Corrections“, although it was not the title of the report:
“to speak to….to see if he….find out why he had…to her. He said that he stopped…cause she had stopped writing to him…as knowing where she was, he had no idea and was quite concerned to find out she was missing. While I was there, I learned that Simone had a special visiting privilege for one day that afternoon. I waited around, to see if she showed up, but she didn’t. Upon my arrival to the Sherborn Police Station, I was informed by Det. Morrow that his daughter Kim had picked up Simone ten (or two) days prior to this date, at … of Washington St and Maple St, and drove her to … in Framingham.”
From another report, apparently about the man’s statement in 1986, broken up, and only a small section partially visible :
“I interviewed Mr. Tiew…engineer for Carling Brewery prior to…Bourne on buttermilk bay…Route 128 in route to Mason…at approx 6:…by a State Trooper…been looking”
I am wondering if she was incarcerated at the time, although reports say she was last seen at the Rainbow Restaurant, her place of employment. I’m not sure what a special visiting privilege for one day would mean. It could also explain why she was in a State Trooper car, if she was released from somewhere for the day with a police escort? It is worth noting again that Mr. Tiews stated that he picked her up on September 3, a day after she was last seen at Rainbow Restaurant.
My take on the other jumbled pieces of the report, is that her mother was trying to find out why someone had stopped by to see her unexpectedly and he said it was because she had stopped writing to him. So it could also have made sense that Simone was writing to and trying to visit someone who was incarcerated (and had a special privilege to do so), but that would mean the report probably didn’t say “stopped by”, if he was incarcerated. It kind of looks like her mother was saying she had information that Simone was scheduled to visit an incarcerated friend, and Simone’s mother went to the jail to see if she showed up. Hard to say.
I am curious as to the statement about Simone being in the back of a State Trooper’s car – did police normally pick up hitchhikers back then? Was it ever confirmed that Mr. Tiews was stopped for a violation on that date, and was the Trooper who stopped him ever questioned about why Simone was in the car?
Did Simone go by the nickname “Sissy”, as the man stated his rider did?
Did anyone who knew her have any knowledge of what the visiting privilege was about?
If she was dropped off at Hyannis Rotary, would her relative’s house been in walking distance, or would she have hitchhiked?
Simone’s mother is now deceased. Searching the web indicates that she had friends, who continue to search for answers.
UPDATE: After coming across a recent article which clarifies some of the unclear portions of my article, I’ve decided to add the new information here, instead of rewriting the article.
The visitation has been explained as follows:
On Sept. 17, police visited Ridinger’s boyfriend, who was in the Billerica House of Correction at the time. He told them Ridinger had stopped writing to him and he sounded concerned, police said.
Ridinger had special visitation privileges at the jail the day police talked to the boyfriend, but she never showed up, according to police reports.
The ride with the police officer’s daughter is discussed as well:
He said some things in the original police report struck a chord with him, such as a reference to a Sherborn police officer’s daughter, who was said to have given Ridinger a ride to Framingham “two days prior to this date.” But it is not clear if the reference is to two days before Ridinger was reported missing, or two days before the entry in the Sept. 17 report.
If it were the latter, the ride would have occurred more than two weeks after anyone had seen her, but there is no follow-up reference or more details. Godinho tracked down the officer’s daughter, who says she doesn’t remember giving Ridinger a ride at that time.
Additionally, the article mentions a man named Daniel Newbert. Newbert sent Simone’s family photos of Simone around the time of her disappearance. He said he’d given Simone a ride, and asked if he could photograph her. He gave the negatives to police.
Police also looked into a man who was into the drug scene and was trying to court her.