New leads possible in 18-year-old case of missing Clinton woman

Monday, April 6, 2009 | 12:31 p.m. CDT

CLINTON — Eighteen years after a 20-year-old pregnant woman went missing from this west-central Missouri town, DNA testing and other forensics technology has helped turn up new leads, investigators said.

Police and family members say they are more hopeful than ever in the continued investigation of the 1991 disappearance of Angela Hammond in Clinton.

The case has been featured on "Unsolved Mysteries," prompted concerns about a serial killer and resulted in advice from psychics.

Police Detective Shane Lawson said he can't share details about leads that surfaced after police reprocessed evidence.

"In the 18 years of this investigation we've never considered it a cold case," Lawson said. He said detectives treat the case "as if it happened a week ago."

Hammond was four months pregnant and taking classes at Central Missouri State University in 1991 when she was taken while talking to her fiance on a pay phone.

Hammond was visiting near her mother's farm, about 20 miles outside Clinton, on April 4, 1991. After leaving, she dropped off a friend and stopped to use a pay phone outside a grocery a block from Clinton's town square. She had planned to then go home to take a bath.

When talking, Hammond noticed a green Ford truck circling and told her fiance the driver was a man wearing overalls and glasses who looked "scruffy." Screaming was then heard.

Friends, relatives and concerned neighbors later worked phones, put up posters and searched the area.

Her father, Chris Hammond, said the desire to find his daughter and learn what happened to her remains as strong as ever.

"Not knowing is very hard on you," he said.

Police also had concerns because Angela Hammond wasn't the only woman to disappear around that time from that section of Missouri. It caused speculation of a serial killer.

Authorities considered two suspects who had been convicted in the death of another mid-Missouri woman, but now detectives say they are almost certain those men had nothing to do with Hammond's disappearance.

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