Police reopen missing persons case from 2002

Posted at 9:47 PM, Feb 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-27 00:07:22-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City Police have re-opened a missing persons case from more than a decade ago.

Aletha Jo Williams, then 25, was last seen near 1700 South West Temple March 6, 2002. Police said she dropped off belongings at her home and was never seen again.

Now, more than a decade later, police have received new tips and clues they feel are significant enough to re-open the case.

"Right now we're not disclosing what information was released to us, but we know in these cases, as time passes, peoples' allegiances change and the information changes as well," said Det. Cody Lougy of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Williams family reported Aletha missing in May 2002, two months after she was last seen.

"It wasn't uncommon to not show up or have contact with her family for a short amount of time, but very uncommon for this amount of time to pass and that raises concern,” Lougy said. “In these missing persons cases, sometimes adults just want to go missing, they don't want to be contacted, but this case, it doesn't look like it's taken us that direction with this new information.”

Police won't say if they think foul play was involved or whether they're looking for Williams' remains, but cops plan to search the Jordan River Friday afternoon. The river is less than two miles west of where Williams was last seen, although police haven't said what stretch they plan to search.

"We're gonna utilize a helicopter and it's gonna assist us in the search area as well,” Lougy said. “We'll also have officers and detectives on the ground as part of our efforts, she has a family that is deeply concerned about her and her welfare.”

In addition to being pregnant, Williams had the name "Shawn" tattooed on her wrist. The 5-feet 4-inches tall woman had a couple felony convictions connected to drugs and stolen property, according to court records. However, beyond that, police said the challenge in this case has been limited information about Williams.

"We're asking the public too, that anybody who knew Aletha back in 2002 to please give us a call,” Lougy said. “We just want to know who she was hanging with at the time, where she was staying at, if she owned a vehicle, if she was driving a vehicle, any information, even minor information, can be helpful in a case like this.”

Police are offering a cash reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the 25-year-old's disappearance.

If you can help, please call Salt Lake City police at (801) 799-3000