Police: Convicted felon responsible for Ann Gotlib's disappearance and death

Published: Dec. 4, 2008 at 5:01 PM EST|Updated: Jun. 1, 2013 at 5:35 PM EDT
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Ann Gotlib
Ann Gotlib
Gregory Oakley's 1984 mugshot (Photo courtesy: Louisville Metro Police)
Gregory Oakley's 1984 mugshot (Photo courtesy: Louisville Metro Police)
Oakley's 1970 Ford pickup (Photo courtesy: Louisville Metro Police)
Oakley's 1970 Ford pickup (Photo courtesy: Louisville Metro Police)

Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police have named a suspect in the 1983 disappearance of Ann Gotlib. At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Gregory Lewis Oakley, Jr. was identified as the person responsible for Gotlib's disappearance.

Oakley was originally from Alabama and had served time in a Kentucky prison for 1984 rape and burglary conviction. He was released from jail after becoming ill. Police say after his release in June 2002, Oakley returned to Alabama where he died in October of that year.

On June 1st, 1983, 12-year-old Ann was last seen at the Bashford Manor Mall in North Buechel while heading home from a friend's home. Her bicycle was found parked outside the former Bacon's store at the mall. Police, firefighters and volunteers conducted a massive search for Ann in the days immediately after her disappearance. No trace of her was found.

Metro Police say that it was shortly after stories in June on the 25th anniversary of her disappearance that new information started to come forward. A woman Oakley was dating came to them with information about his activities on June 1st, 1983. The woman says that Oakley asked her to wash some clothes he had worn that day. According to the woman, Oakley was supposed to have been out of town on the day in question.

In September 2008, police say an inmate who served time with Oakley at the Kentucky State Reformatory at LaGrange told them Oakley had confessed to him that he killed Ann with an injection of a drug Talwin, a painkiller. Police say a polygraph test verified the witness was telling the truth.

Metro Police also after his arrest in 1984, Oakley was given a polygraph and asked about his involvement in the Gotlib case. Police say that Oakley failed the polygraph. They also say bank records from the former Liberty National Bank show Oakley made an ATM transaction at Bashford Manor branch of the bank just 100 minutes before Ann disappeared.

While police have identified a suspect, they are still hoping to find the remains of Ann Gotlib. Anyone with information about Gregory Lewis Oakley, Jr. or the Gotlib case is asked to call the LMPD Crime Tip Line at 502-574-LMPD or toll free at 1-866-649-4479.

Timeline of the Ann Gotlib investigation (supplied by LMPD)  

  • July 1979.  While living in Alabama, Oakley was identified as a suspect in the attempted assault of a 13 year old female using a hypodermic needle.  The victim fought off the attack and fled.
  • July 1979 - Alabama. Oakley assaulted a 13 year old female by injecting her with Katemine and then fled on foot. Oakley was charged and convicted for this offense.
  • November 1981 - Alabama. Oakley assaulted his 13 year old step-daughter with Demerol.  Oakley was charged and plead guilty to this offense.
  • Fall 1982.  Oakley moved to Louisville, Kentucky and became a USDA Meat Inspector for the Louisville office.
  • June 1, 1983 - 3:50 pm.  Evidence shows Oakley made a bank transaction at the Liberty Bank branch at the Bashford Manor Mall.
  • June 1, 1983 - 5:30 pm  Ann Gotlib disappears from the Bashford Manor Mall parking lot while riding her bike on her way home from a friend's house.
  • September 1983 - Oakley attempted to abduct two young females walking to school along Goldsmith Lane, several blocks away from Bashford Manor Mall.
  • September 1983 - Oakley assaulted a 13 year old female at her residence on Masemure Court, several blocks away from Bashford Manor Mall. Oakley was charged in 1984 and sentenced to prison.
  • June 2002 - Oakley was medically released from prison and returned to Alabama.
  • October 2002 - Oakley died
  • June 2008 - 25th Anniversary of Ann Gotlib's disappearance prompted new information from witnesses
  • September 2008 - former cell mate of Oakley's advised investigators of Oakley's confession to killing Ann Gotlib by overdosing her with an injection of Talwin.