In 2004, a 16-year-old named Amber Cates from Maury County, Tennessee was supposed to celebrate Spring Break with some family members and friends.
But, after she left her mother’s house on Sunday, April 11, 2004, she never arrived at her destination.
That day, Amber was picked up from her home– located in the 2300 block of Tracy Lane– by a friend named James, who drove a gold Mazda. She was only supposed to be gone for two days.
When questioned later, though, James claimed to have left Amber with a different male friend– Ronald. He also alleged that the pair planned to get food at a Waffle House located on James Campbell Boulevard.
By the time investigators located Ronald, he was found at an Alabama federal prison. He claimed to have dropped Amber off at a Columbia, Tennessee, garage with an unknown male.
Ronald also alleged this happened after Amber purchased hair dye and said he did not know what transpired afterward.
Amber was originally born in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and lived in various states throughout her life prior to returning to Tennessee and living in a foster home.
According to Amber’s half-sister, Brenda, she had also become acquainted with the wrong crowd. Just a few days before the teen went missing, Brenda also became her legal guardian.
Then, following Amber’s disappearance, her case was deemed a runaway. As time passed, though, investigators also considered other possibilities that may have led to her disappearance.