Tomorrow marks six years since the disappearance of a southeast Nebraska woman — and her case is still open.
Ann Marie Riekenberg-Kelley, of Filley, was last seen on April 15th of 2008. Her picture remains on the website of the Gage County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Gus Gustafson remains hopeful it’ll be solved.
“I told the family that it’s going to be on there until we bring closure to the case,” Sheriff Gustafson says. “It might be a cold case but she certainly is not forgotten. It’s something that’s always in the back of an investigator’s mind. We never forget about it or about her.”
Kelley was believed to be driving a dark gray wood-panel 1991 Plymouth Voyager minivan the morning of the 15th. The five-foot-four woman would now be 42. Gustafson admits, as time goes by, the probability of solving her disappearance diminishes.
“There might be a point in time where I’m going to bring somebody in that does a lot of cold case work,” he says. “We’ll just sit down and look at things again and get a different set of eyes on things to see if you missed something.”
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris was a private practice attorney when Kelley disappeared. Harris says the number of leads or tips has dwindled, but that doesn’t mean work has stopped on the case.
“We still don’t have enough to make any arrests but that doesn’t mean things aren’t being looked at towards the ultimate goal of some resolution,” Harris says.
Sheriff Gustafson says, “It’s like a needle in a haystack,” on what direction to head in the investigation, but he says law officers follow up on every new bit of information offered, as well as reviewing past reports.
Periodically, searches of areas in the region have been conducted, including dive teams doing searches of lakes or ponds.
Riekenberg-Kelley’s husband, 43-year-old William Kelley Junior, is in prison for a series of convictions, including: child abuse, being a felon in possession of a weapon, and for falsifying an application for a handgun. He’s due for parole in 2016.
Kelley was never charged in his wife’s disappearance, though he had been described as a suspect.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice