Denise Kathleen Anderson, age 22, vanished from Sacramento, California on April 13, 1971.

Denise lived with two roommates at the Auditorium Apartments, 925 16th St in April 1971. The identities of her roommates are unknown. I tried doing a reverse city directory search by the address, but didn’t find anyone I thought would be a likely roommate. The only females listed at that address in 1971 appear to have been much older and had been at the same place for years. They probably lived in different apartments within the building.

Denise was listed in the 1971 directory, but at 441 45th St, which was the home of her mother. This leads me to believe that Denise and her roommates had only recently moved into the apartment.

According to a video and article published by Solve Crimes With Rick and Gavin, the apartment she lived in at the time of her disappearance was situated in the theater district. This would have served her well, as she was an aspiring actress and was active with Centerplayers Theater Group. In fact, she had been cast as Simone Everad in a theater production of Marat/Sade, and failed to show up for a rehearsal on the day she disappeared.

Very little is known about Denise’s case, unfortunately. One of her roommates said she had seen Denise asleep in the apartment at 5:30am. The roommate borrowed Denise’s car that day, and returned home at 2:30pm to find Denise gone.

All her belongings, except a short wig she often wore, were left at home, and her bank account has never been accessed.

Denise worked at Wells Fargo Bank, and never showed up to work after she was last seen.

Thats all the information there is, and several questions jump out at me. Where was the other roommate, and did they see her after 5:30am? When they say all her belongings were left behind, do they really mean ALL of them, or just the things they’d assume she would take if she intended to abandon her life? Did she take the key to her apartment? Shoes? Purse or wallet? Was she scheduled to work at the bank that day in addition to the play rehearsal? If so, what time was she expected at the earlier of the two? Were they within walking distance, or might she have hitchhiked, since her roommate had her car?

I haven’t seen any indication one way or the other about whether there was anything suspicious about how the apartment was left. The ball looks to have been dropped here big time, it doesn’t seem to have been investigated at all. It was probably another case of police deciding, without even knowing Denise, that she’d gone off on her own and would come back soon.

This is one theory I really can’t even consider. I get that people take off all the time to escape their parents rules, unhappy marriages, etc but Denise was a single adult, living on her own and she didn’t have to answer to anyone. If, for instance, she wanted to go to Hollywood to pursue a career in show business, she could have done so without hiding it and leaving necessities such as money and her car.

I believe Denise was a victim of foul play, and though it could have involved someone she knew (it’s unknown whether she had boyfriends or ex-boyfriends), there was no shortage of serial killers in the area either.

I’ve seen suggestions ranging from the East Area Rapist to the I-5 Strangler, Bundy, Zodiac… but Solve Crimes With Rick and Gavin also mentions a murderer by the name Phillip Arthur Thompson, who I hadn’t heard of. According to the site, he lived less than a mile and a half away from Denise, and he raped and murdered Betty Cloer just two months after Denise went missing. It’s also possible that her disappearance could be linked to the still unsolved murders of Judith Hakari (Mar 1970) and Carol Beth Hilburn (Nov 1970).

The problem with linking Thompson to Denise, though, is that his other victim was found quite easily.

It’s surprising to me that her case has received so little attention over the years. Aside from there only ever being one brief mention of a reward in the newspaper, I haven’t seen a single post anywhere from anyone who actually knew Denise. Not from her roommates, friends, theater colleagues, bank co-workers, high school or college classmates… there’s just nothing, as though she’s just been forgotten.

Thank you to Solve Crimes With Rick and Gavin for taking on this disappearance with so little to work with. Like you said in your excellent video, Denise needs to be remembered, and some effort needs to be made to find out what happened to her.

After wrapping up the writing of my article, but before publishing it, I decided to take a quick look at the California Unclaimed Property Database, since we knew there was a bank account that hadn’t been touched. Indeed, it is still there and to this day has never been claimed.

This listing also told me that she lived in Apt E. So back I went to that 1971 city directory and found that I was correct- everyone who was listed at that address were in different apartments. Apt E is listed as VACANT.


Charley Project

Solve Crimes With Rick and Gavin


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