Disappearances | Missing Persons

Why Foul Play Could Be Behind Oklahoman Woman’s Disappearance

Missing Barbara Willard’s car was found abandoned near a ravine in a rural community with unsettling evidence left behind.

Nicole Henley
3 min readFeb 1
Photo by Luc Tribolet on Unsplash

Delaware County, Oklahoma — On June 27, 1996, in the rural community of Sandusky, located 20 miles southeast of Jay, Oklahoma, authorities responding to a call about an abandoned vehicle discovered close to a brush-clogged ravine near Colcord are met with a troubling sight.

The car, a maroon and gray-colored 1986 Mercury Cougar, had transmission fluid all over it, with shredded pieces of clothing in the gas tank and the trunk and samples of skin and tissue in the latter too. After the samples were matched to the vehicle’s owner, 29-year-old Barbara Willard, police learned that the mother-of-two had not been seen or heard from in almost two weeks.

  • Thirteen days earlier — June 14 was the last day Barbara was seen at her place of work at the Simmons Chicken Processing Plant in Jay, Oklahoma.
  • Ten days earlier — June 17, the last time Barbara’s family saw or heard from her. At the time, she was at their residence in the same area, watching movies with her niece before leaving to return to her rented mobile home.
  • She was not reported missing until five days later. By then, her family realized something wrong when Barbara had failed to show up to work, pick up her paycheck, or care for her beloved dog.

When police first started looking into her disappearance, they learned that on the last day she was sighted, a white pickup truck was seen parked in her driveway. Soon, however, the pickup truck was determined to belong to Barbara’s neighbor’s landlord. The man was subsequently cleared of any involvement in the case.

Next, investigators used bloodhounds to trace Barbara’s scent. Unfortunately, this would led nowhere as the dogs could not distinguish any scent of anyone leaving her mobile home.

Eventually, Barbara’s case went cold. That is, until 2011.

Meanwhile, in 2001, the investigative file on her case was lost but later inexplicably…



Nicole Henley

Writer of true crime, unsolved mysteries, and marvels of history. Lover of movies, books, cats, and anime.