Parents of Missing Girl Now Believe Daughter is Dead

SEPTEMBER 5, 2006 - Posted at 7:33 a.m. CDT

DUMAS, AR - The parents of 17-year-old Casey Crowder are urging the public to help authorities find the person responsible for their daughter's death.

Marty and Melinda Crowder of Pine Bluff say they would not want anyone else to go through what they did when their daughter disappeared on her way home from visiting her boyfriend in Pickens.

Volunteers searched for clues to her disappearance and National Guard members found the body of a female Saturday afternoon in woods east of Dumas, about six miles from where the Crowders found Casey's car the day after she called home.

Before cancelling a missing person's alert, state police said Casey's body was found.  But Desha County Sheriff-elect Jim Snyder said the body has not yet been positively identified.

Snyder said it would possibly be tomorrow before the medical examiner's office has a positive ID and cause of death.  Snyder said the case now has become a criminal investigation.

Casey Crowder was a senior at Watson Chapel High School.  She was traveling on Highway 65.  Her vehicle was found on the highway within walking distance of a gas station.  According to police, the gas tank was empty.  Her purse and cell phone were gone but a softball hat and glove were in the car.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)