Missing Arkansas Woman Vanished in 1978

State News

MAGNOLIA, Ark. (KTAL) – It’s a case that has haunted Magnolia, Arkansas for almost 40 years – the disappearance of a young woman known by everyone as Bobo Shinn. Even after all this time, there’s still activity in the case.

Boxes of evidence surrounding the disappearance of 25 year-old Mary “Bobo” Shinn sit inside the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. She vanished on July 20, 1978. But Columbia County Sheriff Mike Loe is not giving up.  

“We’re still trying,” he says.

Could new advances in DNA technology produce new leads in the case? Sheriff Loe has hope.  He’s still sending evidence to the FBI for another look.  

“We have submitted some things in the past to try to develop DNA. We’re in the process now of submitting some more,” Sheriff Loe says.

The day she vanished, Bobo, an art teacher who dabbled in real estate, told friends she was going to show a house she had renovated. She was supposed to meet a man who had seen her ad in the newspaper. But she was never seen or heard from again.

Cliff Knowles was working as a Magnolia Police Department dispatcher when Bobo’s mother reported her missing.  

“She walked in and she looked worried, and I said Mrs. Shinn, are you all right? And she said, well I’m worried about Bobo,” Knowles recalls.

Knowles had gone to school with Bobo. He said he immediately got on the radio. Bobo’s car had been found behind a local grocery store and clearly, something was wrong.  

“The windows were open, her shoes were on the floor, her purse, all her belongings, everything was just scattered all through the car,” Knowles continues.

“There was gravel, dirt, grass, there was some latent impressions in the car,” says Sheriff Loe.

Fingerprints were found inside but they’ve yet to be identified. Loe thinks the person who committed the crime is local.  

“The best timeline that we can put together from the time she disappeared until the time her vehicle showed back up at Smitty’s grocery store parking lot, is approximately 57 minutes, so that vehicle didn’t go very far,” Loe adds.

Loe is re-interviewing witnesses in the case. The search continues for anything that could generate a lead.  

“I never give up, you know, I mean the answer’s out here,” he says.

In a cemetery just outside Magnolia is a headstone in remembrance of Bobo. And though she’s been declared legally dead, there’s still no closure for her family.  

“Both her parents died not knowing what happened to their daughter. That hurts me more than anything, thinking about that,” says Knowles. 

If you have any information in the case, you are asked to call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 234-5331 or call the Crime Tip HOTline at (870) 234-5655.

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