+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 aduction, 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( aout, said )ucy )ee, e3ecutive director of the E3ploited Children's *elp <rganiation& /t !as ;ust too frightening to thin( aout 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*< memers and police to search ditches, mail fliers to police departments across the country, canvass neary neighorhoods and pray& EC*< memers 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&'
As time passed, various theories aout Ann's disappearance surfaced&Among them !as the possiility 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 troule 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