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Family of Missing Murray Woman Still Searching For Answers

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Amanda Stevens
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It’s been three years since Murray resident Samantha Sperry went missing in Graves County. Despite thorough searches by local, state and federal officials, investigators are left with little evidence to lead to her whereabouts. But, her case continues as law enforcement and her family search for answers. 

Sperry, 25, was last seen near the Kaler bottoms area on March 27, 2018, but her memory still burns bright with those who loved her. Sperry’s aunt, Amanda Stevens, said she remembers her niece’s fierce spirit. 

“She was definitely strong-willed, and stubborn, and not afraid to tell you what she thought or where you could go with that information,” Stevens said. “Her and I butted heads quite often because we are just alike.”

 

She said Sperry was a diligent mother, always making sure the care of her two young children was a priority. She said she remembers she and the family teasing Sperry for being a bad chef, but added that she thrived at gardening.  

“You know, my mother would give her trimmings and she would take that and blossom and grow; she has this green thumb that’s amazing,” Stevens said. 

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Credit Amanda Stevens
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Samantha Sperry

Stevens said she remembers the last time she spoke to Sperry very clearly. The two had a painful exchange-- an argument through text message. She said Sperry was struggling with drug addiction, something she had overcome in the past by going to rehab. Stevens said she wanted her niece to get back on the right path.

“I thought, I’ll give her a couple days to cool down, try again, reach out and say ‘Hey, lets go to rehab again and let’s just get you better,’ but the next information I get is that she is missing,” Stevens recalled. 

 

Stevens said for nearly a year after Sperry’s disappearance, the family received underwhelming information through former Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon. Later that same year, Redmon was charged with drug possession and official misconduct after allegedly taking pain medication from the department’s drug drop box. Members of the Graves County Sheriff’s Office signed off on a letter that they said was a “true and complete” account of Redmon’s alleged crimes. Redmon pleaded not guilty to those charges but died soon after in February 2019. 

Sperry’s case fell under retired McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden when he was appointed to the post soon after Redmon’s death. He said one year to the date that Sperry disappeared, the sheriff’s office assembled a group of seasoned investigators and officers from around the region, as well as Kentucky State Police personnel and representatives for the FBI. Hayden said the group re-interviewed witnesses and conducted a thorough re-sweep of the areas Sperry was last seen. He said he knows the family is desperate to find closure. 

“This case is not closed, and this case will never be closed until we find out what happened to Samantha,” he said. 

Hayden said the last two people to see Sperry were Rhen Hendrickson and his father, Dusty Holder. Hayden said Holder told law enforcement that he and Sperry took off on a four-wheeler into the Kaler Bottoms area on the afternoon of March 27, an area prone to flooding during a very rainy spring. He said Holder told law enforcement he and Sperry got stuck on their four-wheeler at some point during the night and decided to walk back. Holder reportedly told investigators he and Sperry emerged the next morning on Highway 131, where Holder decided to walk to a nearby general store. 

This was the last time Sperry was seen, according to Holder, who told law enforcement that she decided to walk in the opposite direction of him to one of her cousin’s houses that she said was nearby. Hayden said aspects of Holder’s story have been verified through law enforcement investigations, but there is still a lot unknown. For instance, he said they have been unable to confirm that Sperry was seen walking on highway 131 on March 28.  

 

Despite multiple and periodic sweeps of the Kaler Bottoms area, investigators have had no luck. 

“Through all the searches that have been done by law enforcement, by emergency management, by volunteers, we have not been able to find any evidence, whatsoever, any evidence that would have put Samantha in that area,” Hayden said. 

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Credit Taylor Inman
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Hayden said there have been many ups and downs in the case, including when investigators discovered the bunker of a fugitive while doing a search in the Kaler Bottoms for Sperry. Hayden said this was a potentially promising lead at first, but the fugitive was quickly ruled out because he was incarcerated at the time of Sperry’s disappearance. 

Despite the disappointments, Hayden said he is confident law enforcement will eventually reach a resolution to her case. 

 

“We have a duty and an obligation to keep this investigation active as long as we can, as long as there’s some movement, and I can tell you that we are not at that point [of the case going cold],” he said. 

As for Sperry’s family, Stevens said she is haunted by the what if’s in her niece’s case.

“I mean, every day I go over everything that I know, trying to put together this puzzle that I don’t have a picture of, I can’t even see what it’s supposed to look like,” she said. 

 

Stevens and other members of Sperry’s family are gathering at the Old Kaler Store on Highway 131 on Saturday to honor her life, her memory and her children.

 

There is a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for her disappearance. Anyone who has information about Sperry’s disappearance is urged to contact the Graves County Sheriff’s Office, West Kentucky Crime Stoppers, or her family’s remembrance Facebook page, called “Bring Samantha Home.”

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Credit Graves County Sheriff's Department
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