RISCO -- Teresa Lynn Butler's husband, Gary Dale Butler, discovered she was missing when he returned home from work around 9:30 a.m. Jan. 26, after working the night shift at his job in Blytheville, Ark. The couple's 2- and 4-
year-old boys were alone.
When officers arrived on the scene, everything appeared to be in order and there were no signs of forced entry. After further investigation, officers found a video game console and camera were missing from the house and CD player removed from the vehicle outside. Butler's purse and cell phone were also missing.
Law enforcement, as well as those who knew Butler, dismiss the notion that Butler would have voluntarily left. "We feel like she's the victim of foul play," said New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens said. "With the information from friends and family about how important her family and children were to he, we don't feel like she just walked off and left them and did not at least make contact with them in this past six months."
"I can say with 100 percent certainty that she never would have walked off and left them," agreed Amy Lacey, a close friend of Butler's who attended school with her. "All she ever talked about was her kids, her husband, her family and her job -- I don't believe she ever would have left all that stuff behind her and never looked back."
Lacey remembers her friend as being timid and quiet in high school, but well liked. In fact, Butler was voted as most courteous in the "Who's who" section of the yearbook.
"She always went out of her way to make sure everyone was happy," she said. "She was such a sweet, nice person that everybody liked and I was so mad (when I learned she was missing) that somebody could just do this to her, whatever it is that they've done."
Meanwhile, Butler's children, Gavin, 4, and Garrett, 2, are doing as well as they can given the circumstances, Butler's mother, Linda Buchanan said. Unfortunately, she hasn't been able to spend as much time with them as she would like because of health problems.
"It's really took a toll on us," she said. Buchanan has been in the hospital twice since her daughter's disappearance, primarily because of heart problems.
The case has also changed Butler's family and friends' outlook on life. "It's really pulled our family together," Buchanan said. "We were already close, but we're closer now than ever before."
Lacey said she has learned to never take time or the people in her life for granted. "To tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you because you may not ever get that chance," she said.
Lacey and Butler's sister, Brenda, are now seeking donations to pay for buttons, which are part of the Adopt a Missing Person program sponsored by Project Jason. They are also planning a balloon release for sometime near Butler's November birthday or Christmas.
Additionally, Butler's church has set up a reward fund for the successful prosecution of those responsible for her disappearance. The fund will be in place as a reward for three years, and will become a scholarship fund if no one is successfully prosecuted in that time. More information can be found on the Web site Lacey set up to keep attention focused on her friend, http://
Butler is described as about 5-feet-seven and weighs about 110 pounds. She has short black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who has information about Butler's disappearance is asked to call the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department at (573) 748-2516 or the Missouri State Highway Patrol at (573) 840-9500.