Amber Shawnell Hoopes

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Above Images: Hoopes, circa 2001

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 14, 2001 from Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: December 27, 1980
  • Age: 20 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'5, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Hoopes's left ear is pierced in the upper cartilage. She may have a crooked toe.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white t-shirt, gray and white boxer shorts, a knee-length gray terrycloth robe and a small diamond stud earring in her upper left ear.
  • Medical Conditions: Hoopes has been diagnosed with vitaligo, a skin condition that causes white-colored spots; she has spots on her upper left arm and on her left leg extending from her thigh to her ankle.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Hoopes resided with her grandparents, Noris and Kathleen Burgener, in the 2700 block of east Lincoln Road in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She was last seen on September 14, 2001. That evening she spoke on the phone with her sister until 10:00 p.m. Her grandparents went to bed at 10:30; at that time, Hoopes was in her bedroom. Kathleen woke up at approximately 1:00 a.m. and noticed that although Hoopes's television set and lights were turned on, she was not in her room. The back door was unlocked. Kathleen woke up Noris at this time and they looked for her together, but couldn't find her and called the police. She has never been heard from again.

    Hoopes's grandparents owned Burgener's Classic Truck and Auto Body Shop, which adjoined their residence, and Hoopes occasionally used the business's computer to email her friends. She used it on the night she went missing, and after her disappearance was discovered, the computer monitor was found turned on. There was no sign of Hoopes in the area, however. One of the shop's pickup trucks vanished from their parking lot on the night she went missing. The vehicle was discovered abandoned in a nearby parking lot shortly afterwards. The keys were in the ignition, but there was no additional evidence at the scene. An image of one of the shop's trucks is posted below this case summary. It's unclear whether any of the shop's vehicles were connected to Hoopes's disappearance.

    Keith Glenn "Mark" Hescock has been investigated for possible involvement in Hoopes's case, and also the 1993 disappearance of Stephanie Crane. Hescock kidnapped a fourteen-year-old girl from outside her home in the early morning hours of June 5, 2002. He had known her family. The girl was able to escape that afternoon when he went to work, leaving her chained to a bed in his home. When the police attempted to arrest him, Hescock fled in his vehicle and lead them on a forty-mile high-speed chase, which ended at a dead-end road in the Big Hole Mountains. There he shot and killed a police dog, shot and wounded an officer, and then committed suicide.

    Hescock was a friend of one of Hoopes's relatives and had previously worked for at the Burgeners' auto shop, but he quit his job about two years before Hoopes disappeared. Her grandparents claim he had a vendetta against them and had threatened Noris shortly before Hoopes went missing, and when she vanished they immediately believed he was involved. The police investigated him at the time, but he had an alibi and the authorities didn't consider him as a serious suspect until after his death in 2002.

    Hescock's neighbor says he was hunting in Challis, Idaho the weekend Stephanie disappeared from that location. He also owned a yellow pickup truck similar to the one that may be connected to Stephanie's case. Authorities have not been able to link him to either disappearance, however. His only criminal record in Idaho had been for poaching, but he had felony convictions in other states.

    Hoopes left all of her personal belongings behind at her residence, including her paycheck. Her relatives described her as a socially withdrawn young woman who had few friends but was very close to her family, particularly her younger sister. She was a regular churchgoer at the time of her disappearance, and her hobbies included creative writing, photography, piano playing and singing. Following her high school graduation, Hoopes took a job as a nanny for two children. She was considering enrolling in culinary school. It's highly uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning.

    In 2007, in remembrance of Hoopes, September 14 was officially designated as Idaho Falls's Missing Persons Day. Authorities believe that she was abducted from her home. Her case remains unsolved.

    Truck
    Above: Image of body shop's pickup truck

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Bonneville County Sheriff's Office
    208-529-1200

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    Source Information
    Idaho Missing Person Clearinghouse
    The National Center For Missing Adults
    KIFI-TV
    America's Most Wanted
    Cyber Sleuths
    KIDK
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    411 GINA
    The Deseret News
    KPVI 6
    Classic Auto Collision Center
    NamUs

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated January 20, 2012; two pictures added, distinguishing characteristics, clothing/jewelry description, medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.

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