Karen Beth Kamsch, age 14, disappeared from Pasadena, Maryland in the winter of 1976.
Karen had been a straight A student in her younger years, and had even skipped sixth grade. It was shortly after the skipping of sixth grade that she fell in with a rough crowd and started getting into trouble. There is also some indication that Karen was being abused by a family member during this time.
As a result of the problems Karen was facing, she moved in with her grandmother, Olga Kamsch on Wishing Rock Rd in Pasadena.
Olga Kamsch became aware that Karen was missing when she received a call from Karen’s school stating that she had not arrived at school that day. Olga checked the house, and Karen was not there. She had left all of her personal belongings, including her winter coat, in her bedroom. She was initially believed to have run away.
Although Karen’s father and grandmother had assured Karen’s brother Tate that they had filed a missing persons report, no such record could be found when a now adult Tate inquired in May 2007. A neighbor of Olga’s does, however, recall seeing police at the home when Karen was discovered missing.
In 2007, following Tate’s inquiry, police filed a new report and began an investigation. They interviewed several family members, some cooperative and others not so much. This was when police were led to believe that Karen had been abused, and possibly killed by her abuser. They considered the abuser a ‘person of interest’ although they did not specify who this person is. (Though scattered clues in various articles narrows it down considerably: someone she would have left home to get away from, someone who would have access to her paternal grandmother’s home)
A massive 12-hour search was performed on Olga Kamsch’s property in 2007. (Olga died in 1999 and the home is occupied by other family members.) There were rumors at the time that a body had been found, though police never confirmed this. Law enforcement did, however, state that items of interest were found in an abandoned well on the property. They did not elaborate on what was found, other than to say they were items one wouldn’t expect to find in a well. They said they would be testing these items for any evidence.
Following that flurry of activity, there has been nothing reported until May 2014, when a general plea was issued for anyone who might know anything to come forward. These 2014 reports made no mention of the 2007 search, the allegations of abuse, or the 2007 speculation by law enforcement that a family member of Karen’s has been living with a secret for a very long time. The 2014 reports only state that her disappearance is suspicious in nature.
Neither of Karen’s parents, who are no longer married, have been willing to speak with reporters. Karen’s brother Tate had kept a picture of Karen by his bedside, believing at the time that she’d run away, in the hopes that she would eventually contact him.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for Karen’s brother, who learned that Karen’s missing persons report didn’t exist, therefore her case wasn’t investigated – and then to learn that she most likely did not run away. I truly hope he will get the answers he needs.