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Monday, June 2, 2003

Monday, June 2, 2003

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Published by Ric Manning

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Published by: Ric Manning on Mar 15, 2010
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Monday, June 2, 2003
Gotlib case - 20 years later
Girl's disappearance, though unsolved, helped transform such investigationsBy Sheryl EdelenThe Courier-JournalAn aandoned icycle !as all police found !hen "#-year-old Ann Gotli !ent missing from the Bashford $anor $all area of Jefferson County #% years ago yesterday&Since then, nothing - and everything - has changed&T!enty years ago, !hen !e stood in front of reporters li(e this, ma(ing this plea, !e could never have imagined, after all these years, doing it again, Ann's mother, )yudmila Gotli, said yesterday from atop the stairs in front of the *all of Justice& But here !e are&+e realie that after #% years, generations change and it !ill e harder to find !itnesses,  ut miracles happen and !e are clinging to the hope that a miracle can happen for us&)yudmila Gotli and her husand, Anatoly, appealed again yesterday for information that !ill ans!er the uestion that's stumped police and .B/ officials despite thousands of leads and t!o decades of investigation&+hat happened to Ann0$ean!hile, child-!elfare advocates say Ann's case has helped increase national a!areness of missing and aducted children and has revolutionied ho! missing-child cases are handled across the country&The Gotli case !as part of the reason that Congress realied that Americans needed help !ith missing children, said Charles 1ic(ett, a senior case manager at the 2ational Center for $issing and E3ploited Children&Congress created the center, !hich is in Ale3andria, 4a&, in "567 to help la!-enforcement agencies !or( together to find missing children&+hen Ann - a girl !ith auurn hair and frec(les - disappeared, much of the country !as  eginning to tal( more aout missing children& At that time, an estimated "&6million children vanished from their homes each year&But )ouisville had never dealt !ith a case li(e Ann's&
+hat's important to understand is 8 that a little girl !ould disappear and never e seen again, and no one ever e charged, in a noncustodial aduction, is rather rare, said 9avid Beyer, spo(esman for the .B/ office in )ouisville&Before Ann vanished, it !as so rare that a local child-advocacy group formed in $ay "56: found fe! people !illing to ;oin its volunteer ran(s&This !as an issue that !as very hard to get people to tal( aout, said )ucy )ee, e3ecutive director of the E3ploited Children's *elp <rganiation& /t !as ;ust too frightening to thin( aout something li(e that happening here&The follo!ing month, it did&<n June " Ann disappeared in road daylight from the usy shopping center on Bardsto!n =oad, across the street from her home on Gerald Court&4olunteers then came from every!here, )ee said, to ;oin e3isting EC*< memers and  police to search ditches, mail fliers to police departments across the country, canvass neary neighorhoods and pray& EC*< memers also arranged fund-raisers and coordinated ne!s conferences for Ann's parents&They are uiet people and it !as very difficult for them to face the media, ut they (ne! they had to, )ee said& +e did !hat you do !hen you're helping any family in the midst of a tragedy&'
The possibilities
As time passed, various theories aout Ann's disappearance surfaced&Among them !as the possiility that Ann, !hose family immigrated from =ussia in "56%, had ecome the victim of a Soviet government (idnapping designed to force the family's return& After some chec(ing, .B/ officials said they found no evidence to support this&There !as also speculation that Ann had left voluntarily ecause she !as having troule ad;usting to American life and getting along !ith friends& .amily and friends, ho!ever, said that the girl's an3iety !as typical of adolescence& 1olice eventually agreed, saying that if she'd left voluntarily, she'd most li(ely have contacted a relative or ta(en money and some f avorite possessions&And then there !ere the !rong turns, strange coincidences and ad tips&Three days after Ann's disappearance, a police loodhound pic(ed up Ann's scent around a ditch near the mall and led detectives to the !indo! of an apartment in a comple3 across the street& /t !as the home of Ester <(myans(y, the grandmother of the last friend
to see Ann efore she disappeared& <(myans(y said later that Ann had never visited the apartment&.B/ officials said the dog erred !hen distracted y the smell of coo(ing food, even though the dog's handler thought it too coincidental that the scent led to a relative of a friend of Ann's& The <(myans(ys !ere eventually chec(ed and cleared&Three !ee(s after Ann's disappearance, police uestioned a 2icholasville man suspected of molesting a "%-year-old girl at the Je!ish Community Center ;ogging trac( and flashing t!o neary >-year-olds hours efore Ann vanished&That man, =alph Barry Barour, admitted the incidents involving those three children and ac(no!ledged ausing half a doen others in ?entuc(y and /ndiana, ut three !itnesses said he !as in a )e3ington trophy shop at the time of Ann's disappearance&/n January "567, a man accused of rea(ing into a house, then staing and attempting to rape a police officer's ":-year-old daughter, ecame a strong suspect&Ban( records sho!ed that that man, Gregory )e!is <a(ley Jr&, had even visited a an(  ranch in the mall ;ust hours efore Ann vanished& But <a(ley denied involvement and no physical evidence lin(ing him to Ann !as ever found&/n $ay "567, Ann's photo !as featured as part of a made-for-television movie aout another missing child& After!ard, a Boston resident reported seeing a dirty, frec(le-faced girl in the city's Charlesto!n section !ho ran a!ay !hen called y the name Ann& Aout #%% detectives searched ut found nothing&/n "55%, Te3as death-ro! inmate $ichael )ee )oc(hart claimed that Ann !as among #% to :% girls he had (illed and that he had uried her ody at .ort ?no3 !hile there on active duty seven years earlier& After three days of digging up a remote tan( range, ho!ever, police also discounted that tip&Three years later, )oc(hart provided the Gotlis !ith a map of the alleged point of urial, and the family as(ed for permission to dig at the Army post& Jefferson County police !ent to the post ut could find no terrain that matched )oc(hart's map&
The national picture
9uring the early "56%s, child e3perts around the country !ere eginning to loo( to )ouisville for innovative !ays to help (eep children safe and prosecute adults !ho hurt them&The creation of the Jefferson County $issing and E3ploited Child @nit, !hich paired social !or(ers and police officers to !or( on child-ause and child-e3ploitation cases, had proved so successful that it ecame a national model&

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