A 27-year-old Kentucky woman headed out to meet a friend one night in 2010 and she has never been seen again.
The search continues for her more than 11 years after she vanished, officials say.
On July 17, 2010, police said Kara Tingle Gradon, 27 at the time, was last seen in Gravel Switch, Kentucky. Around 2:00 a.m. on July 18, 2010, Gradon spoke with her mother on the phone and said she would be home shortly, The Charley Project reported. However, she never arrived home and never showed up to work later that morning.
Gradon was driving a family member’s car that night, a silver 2009 Pontiac G6, which was found abandoned on July 25, 2010. Police said it had three-quarters of a tank of gas and the windows were rolled down when they found it.
At the time of her disappearance, Gradon was going through a divorce with her estranged husband, William Robert “Bobby” Rigdon. The divorce was finalized and her maiden name has been restored, The Lebanon Enterprise reported.
Officials said two months after Kara disappeared, police arrested her estranged husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law on unrelated charges. Authorities said while investigating Gradon’s case, they uncovered evidence leading to these other charges.
As for those charges, The Charley Project stated the father-in-law was charged with attempted murder, first-degree arson, criminal mischief and possession of destructive devices in connection to a 2004 incident where a trailer caught fire and exploded.
Her ex-husband was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and being a persistent felony offender. The sister-in-law was charged with intimidating a witness and the brother-in-law was charged with possessing stolen property, officials said.
The Rigdon family has a long history with police, as her ex-husband and his twin brother were already facing charges from 2005, when they allegedly kidnapped a teenage girl whose family lived in the trailer their father allegedly blew up the following year.
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In 2012, Bobby shot and killed Wendell Gleason Pyles at Pyle’s wor, The Charley Project reported. Officials thought Bobby was a member of a local motorcycle club and killed Pyles, a former member of the same club, because of a request from the club’s president, David Salyers.
During the case, witnesses said Pyles borrowed money from Salyers and did not repay it, so Salyers wanted him dead and that is where Bobby came into the picture. A cigarette butt was found at the crime scene and DNA from it matched to Bobby, officials said. Bobby was convicted of murder and sentenced to 38 years in prison in 2015.
Gradon and Bobby divorced in 2003 but then reconciled in December 2009. However, they separated again in June 2010, just one month before her disappearance. The couple has two children together.
While Bobby has never been charged with a crime related to Kara’s disappearance, police suspect foul play was involved.
The case remains open and anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police at (270) 384-4796.
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