Angelica Gandara as she looked in 1985 (left) and a computer image showing how she might look today. (File)
TEMPLE (July 14, 2010)—Angelica Gandara was 11 years old when she disappeared on July 14, 1985 as she walked the two blocks from her grandmother’s home to her family’s house in Temple.
If she’s still alive, she would be 38, but her fate remains a mystery.
She was dressed in a white short-sleeve pullover shirt, black shorts, white socks and white tennis shoes as she set out for home after visiting her grandmother.
According to some reports, someone saw her with a man and a woman in a blue and white pickup truck with a red and white hood, but after that, the trail goes cold.
None of the officers involved in the original investigation of the disappearance still works for the Temple Police Department, where officers still review the case periodically in hopes of finding new leads.
Investigators have looked at several possible suspects in Gandara’s disappearance, including Ohio prison inmate David Elliot Penton, a convicted serial child killer who was charged in the death of his 2-month-old son in 1984 while he was serving at Fort Hood.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and then fled while free on bond.
Three years later he was arrested, tried and convicted of killing a 9-year-old Ohio girl.
Dallas-area investigators questioned him about the abductions and murders of three young girls between January 1985 and February 1986, during the period when he was on the run, and in 2003 he was indicted for capital murder in Collin County.
He avoided a possible death sentence two years later by pleading guilty to the murders for which he received concurrent life sentences.
He’s also a suspect in the disappearance of girls in Texas and a half-dozen other states.
In September 1997, investigators focused briefly on Ramiro Ibarra, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the beating, rape and strangulation of a 16-year-old girl in March 1987 in Waco.
He was arrested soon after the murder, but was later released after judge suppressed certain evidence in the case.
Changes in the law, however, allowed prosecutors to pursue to bring Ibarra to trial nearly a decade later.
Ibarra, 58, has been on Texas death row since December 1997.
Efforts to link him to Gandara’s disappearance were unsuccessful.
There were also momentary hopes for a break in the case in July 1998 after the discovery of bones prompted a search of Cameron Park in Waco, but a month later, police said the bones weren’t human.