Ann Marie Ellinwood
Ann, approximately 1978; Earl "Woody" Chambers
Date reported missing : 04/15/1978
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 05/01/1965 (56)
Age at the time of disappearance: 12 years old
Height / Weight : 5'2, 95 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos : Caucasian female. Red hair, brown eyes. Ann has freckles.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Ann was last seen in Corvallis, Oregon on April 15, 1978. She participated in a March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon, her third, that day. The route was on a bike path along the Marys River. At 1:00 p.m., Ann told her friends her feet hurt and they should go on without her.
She said she would go to a checkpoint at the Gill Coliseum. She was last seen near the Pioneer Park ball field, across Highway 34 from the coliseum. Ann has never been heard from again. She had an afternoon paper route delivering the Gazette-Times, but never showed up for it, which is uncharacteristic of her.
Her parents reported her missing at 5:15 p.m. An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of the child. A red pickup truck with a teardrop-shaped trailer was seen in the area around the time of her disappearance.
Eleven-year-old Stephanie Ann Newsom disappeared from West Salem, Oregon on April 19, four days after Ann. The girls were similar in Age at the time of disappearance: and appearance and were last seen walking alone during the daylight hours.
Due to the similarities, police immediately suspected the disappearances were linked. They were looking for a possible suspect in Ann's case, described as a Caucasian man with a stocky build, reddish-brown or sandy hair, a gruff voice and possibly a mustache. The suspect in Stephanie's case had a similar appearance: stocky, in his late twenties, with shaggy light brown hair.
Stephanie's partially clothed body was found on April 25 in a field next to the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge. She had been dead for several days. Investigators determined she'd been raped and strangled.
By May, police had identified a suspect in Ann's disappearance and Stephanie's murder: Earl F. "Woody" Chambers. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. He had a prior record for rape and assault of young women, and he owned a red pickup truck and a teardrop-shaped trailer, like the one seen in the area where Ann disappeared.
Police brought him in for questioning, and he denied any involvement in Ann's disappearance. He was ordered to appear before a grand jury on June 6. The afternoon of June 6, however, Chambers's body was found in a rural area in Linn County, Oregon. He had committed suicide, without leaving a note.
The investigation went cold after Chambers's death, but since 1978 law enforcement had made periodic efforts to resolve Ann's disappearance and Stephanie's murder. Hair found in Chambers's trailer and vehicle, believed to be Ann's, was tested for DNA in 2005, but the results were inconclusive. Chambers remains the prime suspect in Ann's disappearance.
Ann was a seventh-grader at Highland View Junior High School at the time of her disappearance. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance, which remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Corvallis Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
The Corvallis Gazette-Times
The Eugene Register-Guard
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe. By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends. Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
October 12, 2004. October 21, 2011; picture added, Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos : and Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : updated.