Aerial search conducted in connection with 2002 missing persons case

Posted at 10:20 PM, Feb 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-01 00:20:56-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Twelve years after a Salt Lake City woman disappeared, police feel they have credible new leads.

They've reopened the case, and on Friday two homicide detectives did an aerial search along the Jordan River.

Police have zeroed in on the area near 3000 South 1100 West. Cops said tipsters with guilty consciences recently came forward. There was more than one tip, investigators said.

However, when a Department of Public Safety dive team searched the water in early February they came up with nothing. Unfortunately, that was the case during Friday’s aerial search.

Detectives were in a news media helicopter looking at the banks of the river but found no new evidence in the disappearance of 25-year-old Aletha Jo Williams. She was last seen near 1700 S. West Temple March 6, 2002. Williams was six-months pregnant and had an 8 year-old son as well, family members said. She dropped off belongings at her home, then vanished.

After all these years, her family suspects foul play.

"I think somebody has done something to her,” Williams’ stepfather, Rick Martin, said. “She was a sweet person. I don't see how anybody could do anything to her. She was really cool, yeah something definitely happened because she wouldn't just disappear and not come back around, not this long, ya know.”

Williams’ family waited on the banks of the Jordan River for answers. They question whether Aletha’s involvement with drugs played a role in her disappearance. For now, it’s all a mystery. The aerial search didn’t turn up new evidence, just still photos and video footage investigators hope to review later. They’re asking for additional tips, and so is the Williams family.

"I just ask if anyone knows anything, please come forward whether good or bad, give us some closure so that we might be able to get over this and get past this, bring her home, bury her, whatever," Aletha’s sister, Lovoina Ortega, said.

If you have information on what happened to Aletha Williams, please call Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000