Police still looking for Ann Gotlib 25 years after disappearance
By Shayla Reaves
LOUISVILLE (WAVE) - After 25 years, police still want answers in a case that's left the Louisville community shaken up. Back in June of 1983, 12-year-old Ann Gotlib disappeared near the Bashford Manor Mall on her way home from a friend's house. She has been missing ever since, but as WAVE 3's Shayla Reaves reports, police believe someone out there knows what happened.
Nearly everyone we spoke with remembers where they were when Gotlib disappeared. Hundreds of volunteers helped search the area near Bashford Manor Mall, where her bicycle was found.
Major David Wood, a traffic officer at the time, says Ann's apparent abduction affected everyone.
"I think anytime a child is missing, it's a traumatic event for an entire community," Wood said. "A lot of times, when a child is missing, they'll wind up coming back in a few days, and it's closure for the family."
Wood described Ann's case as "just one of those open wounds."
As the search for Ann continued, days stretched into years, and leads and tips turned up empty nationwide. The FBI still has an open file on the case, but still no leads on what happened to Ann.
"In this case, there is no indication that she was taken by a friend or an associate," said local FBI Agent David Bayer. "It was just a stranger abduction, and those are very unusual."
"We didn't have Amber Alerts 25 years ago, we didn't have email," said ECHO Director Lucy Lee, who served as a volunteer at the time Ann disappeared. "One of the things ECHO did to help the Gotlib family was to mail out postcards with Ann's picture on them."
Ann is described as having a fair complexion, very light eyebrows, freckles, pierced ears and moles on her lower back. Police say she speaks fluent Russian and English and finding her would mean closure for her family and the community.
"We don't know where Ann Gotlib is," said Major Wood. "Obviously, until we physically have a body or somebody can tell us where she is or she walks in the door right now and says 'here I am.' it's going to be an open case."
The ECHO organization is holding a public memorial in Ann's honor at the Meredith Dunn School at 3023 Melbourne Avenue on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. That's where her mother once worked; a tree was dedicated in Ann's honor there after she disappeared.
Police ask anyone with information in the case to call the anonymous crime tipline at 502-574-LMPD.
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