Cold Case: The search for Donna Rae Riggsby

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s been more than eleven years since Donna Rae Riggsby left her mother’s house on foot and disappeared.

Riggsby’s family hasn’t heard from her since June 28, 2003. No one has ever been charged in relation to her disappearance, but Sylacauga police believe someone out there knows what happened, and it’s time to come forward.

Donna Rae Riggsby left her mother’s house on Old Birmingham Highway and set off walking up Avondale Avenue to the P&D Convenience store a few blocks away. She left and never came home.

“As far as I know she didn’t have any enemies. Donna liked everybody,” said Clara Riggsby.

Police were told that Donna used the payphone and then got into a vehicle and left the gas station, but lead Investigator Mike Smith says security footage didn’t show any of that,

“Somebody has to know something,” said Investigator Mike Smith with Sylacauga Police Department.

More than 11 years later the payphone is long gone, and there’s been no sign of Donna Rae Riggsby. Her family is holding out hope that one day she’ll come home safe. Police just want some answers.

Sylacauga police don’t believe that Donna Riggsby just left without saying goodbye, never to return.

Police questioned people Riggsby hung out with and heard different stories. They were told that she was killed in a fight in Odena. They even searched two different wells, but came up dry, according to Smith.

“Later we started developing that she was here and there. We did develop leads to where she might have been, but we never had evidence of foul play,” said Smith.

Donna’s daughter, a toddler the last time they were together, is now almost old enough to drive.  Clara Riggsby says they’re open to any possibility that could bring Donna home safe. Clara thinks a hurricane evacuation, a prison sentence or the witness protection program could all explain Donna’s absence and lack of contact.

“Holidays are tough,” said Clara Riggsby. “We’re hoping that we’re…Essie’s hoping one day she’ll show up alive. Because she spent some time with Essie when she was a baby, but Essie wanted her momma when she was growing up, and I’ve had her practically all of her life, except three months.”

Police are less optimistic.

“To this day she still thinks that for some reason maybe there’s some hope that that child is alive. And that would be the greatest thing if she did come back, but I would love for her to have closure,” said Smith.  “Somebody out there knows what happened to her. Foul play or not, somebody knows what happened.”

Anyone with information about the Donna Rae Riggsby case is asked to call Investigator Mike Smith with the Sylacauga Police Department at 256-401-2456.

Click here for more on Riggsby.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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