Vicke Lamberton, age 24, disappeared from Worcester, Massachussetts in February 1974.
Vicke was separated from her husband, and had indicated that she was interested in reconciling. They planned a nice dinner, but Vicke never showed up, and was never seen or heard from again.
Attention quickly turned to Dr. Roger Barker, one of her college professors at Assumption College. Although he was married, her family suspected she was involved in a romantic relationship with him. Friends of Vicke’s also stated that they were aware of the affair, and that she had planned on marrying him.
When authorities went to the college to question Barker, they learned that he had been in Vail, CO on a ski trip at the time Vicke went missing. It was later discovered that Vicke had told her estranged husband that she was going to Maine with a girlfriend, and would meet him for dinner when she returned. The girlfriend was questioned, and said she had not heard from Vicke in some time, and they had not made any plans to go anywhere. The theory was that Vicke had actually gone to Colorado to be with Barker.
Further investigation showed that Barker had only planned to stay in Vail for the weekend, but had been hospitalized with pneumonia, and ended up staying there for two weeks.
When Vicke’s family was finally able to talk to Barker, he stated that he hardly knew Vicke, although her belongings were stored in his garage. He staunchly denied that any relationship existed.
While many believe she may have landed in harm’s way as a result of the extramarital affair, some, including her former husband, believe she is still alive.
He told reporters that Vicke had commented about wanting to go somewhere where nobody knew who she was, and that she’d considered dying her skin to appear African-American. He said that she often told people she was from Colorado, and may have been ashamed of her Kansas wheat farm upbringing.
Sometime after her disappearance, a neighbor of the Kansas family farm received an odd phone call from someone trying to reach Vicke’s family, who had moved to Texas by that time. They also asked for Mr. Lamberton’s (Vicke’s estranged husband) phone number, and said that Vicke had gone to Europe. A check with Interpol did not turn up any record of Vicke traveling to Europe, however.
There was another ray of hope when Mr. Lamberton received an acceptance letter to New York University, addressed to Vicke. Whether or not she actually enrolled has not been verified. Her social security number has not been used since 1974.
A few things jump out at me that are missing from this investigation – if Barker was hospitalized in Vail with pneumonia, and Vicke were there, surely she would have spent time at the hospital, and would have been seen there by nurses?
It’s unlikely that Vicke drove from Worcester, MA to Vail, CO alone – which would lead one to believe that she flew there, in which case there would be a record of her as a passenger.
It doesn’t seem too difficult to determine if she ever was in Colorado – that would be a good start. At least, then it could be updated to reflect that she went missing from Vail, and not from Worcester. It’s clear across the country – it makes a big difference.