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Barkley was last seen at her place of employment, the Pipe Furniture Store in the 9600 block of 66th Street in Pinellas Park, Florida, on May 29, 1981. Her fiance's family owned the store. A neighbor saw her arrive to start her shift at 10:00 a.m. She was working alone at the time of her disappearance. She usually called her mother every day during her lunch break, but that day she never called. Her older brother went to the store at 1:30 p.m. and she was gone. A television set was turned on, Barkley's cigarettes were on a desk and her purse was also left behind. heard from again. There were no indications of a struggle at the store, but a calculator and pencil were on the floor. Barkley's brother reported her missing at 7:00 p.m. when she didn't return to the home they shared.
Barkley's beige four-door 1973 Plymouth Fury disappeared with her. The vehicle had a brown vinyl top, the Florida license plate number JZT-780, and a sticker on the right side of the back bumper reading "Single and Loving It." A few days later, the car was found abandoned in a parking lot outside Studio 19, a rock club at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 19 and State Road 60 in Clearwater, Florida. The driver's side window was open and the keys were in the ignition. Some of Barkley's belongings were inside the vehicle, which was low on gas. A photo of the car is posted below this case summary.
A witness reported seeing a man driving Barkley's car at a self-serve car wash on U.S. 19 in Port Richey, Florida after her disappearance. A sketch of the suspect is posted below this case summary. He is described as White, with dark blond hair and a few days' growth of light-colored facial hair. One of his legs was wrapped in a bandage and the man offered the witness money to wash his car for him, saying his injury made it hard for him to do it himself. He would have been in his mid- to late-20s in 1981, and was 5'10 and 160 pounds.
Mark Cutler matched the description of the man at the car wash, and he had bragged that he knew what happened to Barkley. When police questioned him, he maintained his innocence, and the witness couldn't pick him out of a line-up. Cutler died in 2011. Another possible suspect, the serial killer James D. Winkles, died on Florida's death row in 2010.
Barkley was very close to her mother at the time of her disappearance. Her mother has kept the same phone number since 1981 in case her daughter tries to get in touch with her. Foul play is suspected in Barkley's disappearance; she is presumed to be deceased.
Left: Sketch of suspect;
Right: Barkley's car