20 years since Amber Hoopes has been missing
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – September 14 marks the 20th anniversary of Amber Hoopes’ disappearance.
In 2001, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a missing woman at Classic Auto Body on E. Lincoln Rd. Three days after the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, MPs began to learn more about Amber Shawnell Hoopes, 20, who lived with her grandparents next to the company. Amber had been working late inside the Body Shop that night, and after she didn’t come back inside, her grandparents went to see her and found out that she was gone.
MPs were called to the house, where Amber’s family described what happened and their concerns. It wasn’t normal for Amber to leave without speaking to someone and there was absolutely no indication that she had a place to be. The search continued through the night as MPs began to explore all possible locations and people Amber might be with. As events continued the next day without any sign of Amber, detectives began to gather available evidence and information that led them to believe that foul play was involved.
The investigation continued over the next few days, weeks and months, with resources spreading information across the country looking for clues as to what happened to Amber. MPs followed numerous leads and information, developed several suspects and conducted multiple interviews with family, friends and acquaintances, but Amber had not been discovered.
Six and a half months later, on the morning of June 2, 2002, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Highway 26 in the Milo area where a 14-year-old girl was found missing. The girl had slept outside all night on a trampoline with her siblings, but was gone when everyone woke up. MPs began tracking down the girl and considering the possibility of a connection to a Salt Lake City, UT case the same morning 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped.
Ultimately, there was no connection to the kidnapping in Salt Lake, but as several MPs and law enforcement in the area searched throughout the day, a breakthrough occurred when the missing daughter contacted an employee of her father’s company. It was then discovered that the girl had been abducted from the trampoline in the middle of the night by Keith Glen Hescock after threatening to injure the other siblings. Hescock had taken the girl to his home just north of Idaho Falls, where he assaulted her and shackled her in a bedroom. After Hescock left the residence, the girl was able to free herself and call for help.
As the investigation unfolded that afternoon, MPs began to search for Hescock and collect evidence at his residence. Hescock, who drove a truck as a tool seller, returned home to find MPs there and immediately fled. MPs chased Hescock east of Idaho Falls through the Heise and Kelly Canyon area and into the hills of the Grand Teton National Forest, where he found himself stranded on a dead end road in the area of Moody Meadows. Hescock began shooting at the MPs, hitting a Bonneville County sergeant. in the leg and killing a K-9 dog. MPs fought back, injuring Hescock in the process, where he fell to the ground and committed suicide.
Prior to the events of that day, Keith Glen Hescock had been a person of interest in Amber Hoopes’ disappearance, having ties to the family and the Classic Auto Body business. For several months after the kidnapping in June 2002, detectives gathered information and evidence related to Hescock, his family, his job, his residence and any place he might have been in an attempt to locate Amber. . There is plenty of information linking Hescock to Amber’s disappearance, as well as historical patterns and events potentially linking him to other similar cases in the region. Based on information gathered, MPs believe Hescock abducted Amber on September 14, 2001 and buried her body in an unknown location, but after years of research and follow-up, Amber has still not been found.
Twenty years later, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office still considers this case active and continues to seek advice and information in an attempt to locate Amber and return her to her family. MPs are missing the latest details of what happened in order to accomplish this mission and are working hard to ensure that other cases or potential suspects that may be linked to it are properly investigated. Over the years, as technology has progressed, some elements of this case have grown stronger and closer to a full conclusion, but until Amber Hoopes is located our office will not consider never this matter completely closed.
From the perspective of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, it is appropriate that September 14 be considered Missing Persons Day in Idaho to recognize all of the unresolved missing persons cases in Idaho. Stemming from the efforts of the Hoopes family and first signed in 2006 as a proclamation by Gov. James Risch, it’s the day that most reminds the agency that Amber is still gone. The ministry hopes this day will remind the community of families who are still missing and that new information will be uncovered that will resolve this and other active cases of missing persons.
If you have any information about this case or any criminal activity, please contact your local Police Department or Crime Stoppers by calling 208-522-1983, online at www.ifcrime.org or through the P3tips app on your mobile device, available on Apple or the Google Play store.