Real Name: Katherine Marie Hobbs
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: July 23, 1987
Details: Kathy Hobbs had a hard childhood; her parents divorced when she was eight. This was especially difficult on her because she was close to her father. When she was in middle school, a close friend died from a heart condition. She almost always spoke of feelings or premonitions that she would never live to be sixteen. She and her family moved to a residential apartment complex in Las Vegas in order to help her get her mind off of her fears. She made several friends and seemed to adjust well, until her sixteenth birthday approached.
Kathy once again feared that she was going to die. She spent all of her time in her room and refused to leave the house. On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, however, she was surprised and relieved to realize that she was still alive. She seemed to have overcome her fears, confiding in her family that the premonitions were unfounded, and began living a more normal teenage life. She started to spend more time with her friends and began to wear makeup. She developed an interest in beauty products, and had started pursuing a career as a beautician. She even planned to open her own hair salon called "Kat's Cuts".
However, she vanished without explanation on the night of July 23, 1987. That night, she was reading a book in her room. At 11PM, she told her mother Vivian that she was taking a quick trip to the nearby supermarket to purchase another book. The store was just a couple of blocks away. Vivian believed that she would walk to the store with friends in their apartment complex, as she normally did. However, none were around that night, so Kathy went alone.
At around 3AM, Vivian awoke from a sound sleep. She felt that she had been hit on the head. Afterwards, she had a peaceful feeling and felt that "it" was over. At the time, she did not understand the meaning of the experience. The next morning, Vivian discovered that her daughter's bed was empty; she soon contacted the police and extensive search began. It was feared that she had been abducted. Her picture was issued to the entire police department. The local media publicized her disappearance and volunteer organizations were mobilized to search for her.
One supermarket employee who was later questioned by police said he sold Kathy a book and she left; nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Store receipts confirmed that someone purchased a paperback novel at 11:17PM on the night of her disappearance. The evidence showed that she had made it to the store at Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway, but authorities could not determine where she went from there. It was believed that she was abducted; however, they were unable to find any witnesses to her abduction despite the area being highly populated.
Nine days later, a geologist looking for rock crystals discovered Kathy's body in a remote field near Lake Mead, about an hour's drive from Las Vegas. Investigators found tire prints at the scene, which showed that a vehicle had pulled in, turned around, and left. Two rocks found near her body were covered in blood. The blood was analyzed and it was determined that the blood stains matched her blood type. The coroner determined that she had died from repeated blows to the head. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Tragically, it appeared that Kathy's premonitions were almost accurate; although she lived to the age of sixteen, she had been killed just three months after that. After her death, her family found letters that she had written to them. The letters were dated one month before her sixteenth birthday. She talked about how much she loved her family and did not want them to be upset about her death.
As Kathy's family mourned, the authorities continued their investigation. On October 24, exactly three months after Kathy vanished, an answering machine at the Las Vegas Police Department recorded a call from an anonymous informant who claimed to have witnessed her abduction. He gave the correct location of where Kathy was last seen, along with an accurate description of what she was wearing that night. He claimed that he did not contact police sooner because he was out of town for several months.
Authorities theorize that Kathy was abducted by one or two individuals somewhere between the store and her apartment complex. They believe that she was driven to the lake and killed that evening. The caller's story seemed to fit with their theory. The caller gave a license plate number for the abductor's car; however, the caller did not leave his name or contact information. The police checked the license plate number and discovered that it did not exist. Despite repeated appeals, the witness has never called back and Kathy's murder remains unsolved.
Suspects: Police would like to speak to an unidentified phone informant who claimed to have witnessed the abduction. He claimed that he saw two men dragging Kathy into a car. He claimed that she was screaming as the abduction took place. He also claimed one of the abductor's names was Robbie. He gave the apparent license plate number for the vehicle, which did not exist. The caller has yet to come forward.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 1, 1989 episode.
Some sources spell her first name "Cathy".
Results: Solved. Although the unidentified caller never came forward, Kathy's case has since been closed. Authorities linked her murder to a serial killer named Michael Lee Lockhart from Toledo, Ohio. In May 1987, Lockhart stole a blue 1986 Toyota Celica and kept it until November 1987. Authorities believe that during this time, he abducted and murdered Kathy. Blue fibers found at the crime scene matched fibers from the stolen vehicle. Credit card receipts also placed him in Las Vegas at the time of the murder. Finally, when investigators questioned him about Kathy's case, he virtually confessed to the crime.
Lockhart was convicted for a series of murders in Texas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Florida and was eventually executed in Texas on December 9, 1997. Since he had already been sentenced to death in the four states, Nevada did not pursue prosecution.
- Kathy Hobbs on Unsolved.com
- Michael Lee Lockhart at Wikipedia
- Trying to reconcile the two sides of Lockhart
- Man Tied To 2 Killings Is Indicted In Another
- Teenager's Killer To Be Executed
- Lockhart v. State (1993)
- Inmate with death sentences in three states put to death
- Vegas Killers
- SitcomsOnline Discussion on Kathy Hobbs
- Kathy Hobbs on Find a Grave