Idaho girl disappeared from school bus stop over year ago
CALDWELL, Idaho — Don’t worry about being a grown-up. Those are the words Buffy Thompson wishes she could say to her 17-year-old daughter.
Other than a brief conversation with a friend, Buffy Thompson’s daughter, Amber Thompson, has not been heard from in more than a year.
On Sept. 21, 2016, while Buffy Thompson and her husband were attending a funeral in Connecticut, their then-16-year-old daughter Amber Thompson went missing.
Amber stayed with family in Caldwell while her parents were in Connecticut. While waiting for the school bus, Amber’s cousin told her she forgot a book and that she would be right back.
When Amber’s cousin returned, Amber was not there.
Assuming Amber was on the bus, she got on it. Amber was not there, either.
When Amber wasn’t at school, her cousin began to panic. Caldwell Police Lt. Alan Seevers said Amber was reported missing to police on Sept. 22, 2016.
Upon returning from Connecticut, Buffy and Billy Thompson, Amber’s parents, went through her room trying to find any signs of where or why she disappeared.
Hidden in her closet were ultrasounds from a pregnancy.
According to Thompson, Amber had a brief conversation with a friend in the weeks following her disappearance in 2016. Thompson said Amber avoided saying much about where she had gone to avoid getting anyone in trouble. She also said she would keep in contact with the friend.
No one in Caldwell has heard from her since.
Thompson said the first Caldwell officer assigned to investigate wanted to wait to release information that Amber was missing with media outlets thinking maybe she would just come home. Seevers said the officer is no longer at the department and does not know what the reasons were for that choice.
In fact, Thompson said, Amber’s disappearance wasn’t reported to local news outlets until six months after she was reported missing, when Caldwell High School Student Resource Officer Tony Snider took over the case.
Seevers said Snider has looked into three leads — an acquaintance in the Caldwell area, an acquaintance from Nevada and an acquaintance from Arizona. Local leads and the lead in Nevada disclosed nothing. Seevers said the department is still waiting to hear back on leads in Arizona.
Buffy Thompson’s worst fear is that Amber has been sold into a sex trafficking ring. She can no longer watch “Dateline” after one episode showed a girl Amber’s age meeting a man and leaving with him, only to have the girl be sold into human sex trafficking.
Amber has been listed on the Idaho Coalition for Justice as a possible victim of sex trafficking.
The Boise coalition “is very worried about this scenario because there’s been no contact with her,” Thompson said.
Thompson said they have been working with the police and compiling everything they have researched to hopefully help police gain a new lead.
“If it doesn’t help, it’s back to square one,” Thompson said.
What makes this missing persons investigation difficult, Seevers said, is that no one has been able to contact her.
Based on the ultrasound photos, Thompson said they were able to estimate when a due date would have been for Amber to have a baby. But Thompson hit a brick wall when trying to get information — no hospital locally or in Nevada, a place police believe Amber may also be in, will release information regarding if the missing teenager had a baby.
Thompson said one of her older daughters, Shaytwan, leaves work crying some days because of something someone said that reminded her of Amber. The same thing happens to Thompson. Amber’s father, Billy, suffers from sickle cell disease, and Thompson said it seems the stress of Amber’s disappearance has led to increased hospital visits for him.
“I don’t know if she’s fine, if she’s not,” Thompson said. “I have no idea what’s going on with her right now.”