"ST. LOUIS • The FBI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday a $20,000 reward for evidence that will help them locate Amanda Jones, the pregnant Pevely woman who has been missing since 2005, or those responsible for her disappearance.
Asked in a news conference at the FBI’s St. Louis office if he knew who was responsible, sheriff’s Lt. Doc Coombs responded, “I have my own theories,” but added that he needed evidence to support them.
Coombs, who works cold cases, said investigators need “specific information” to locate Jones or find out what happened to her.
Although FBI rewards typically require an arrest and conviction, Bill Woods, special agent in charge of the FBI’s St. Louis office, said that Jones’ location or the identity of the person or persons responsible would be enough to trigger the reward.
Officials also hoped that someone would take pity on Jones’ 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, who was 4 when her mother disappeared.
“If anyone deserves to hear answers, it’s her,” said Jones’ mother, Bertha Propst. “She’s waited long enough and suffered enough.”
Jones, 26, who worked as a loan administrator at Eagle Bank in Festus, was 8½ months pregnant at the time she disappeared. Propst, of Festus, said not knowing what happened to Jones and her unborn son was worse than it would be to find out she is dead.
Hannah broke down while Propst spoke to reporters and managed only a few words on her own before breaking down in tears again. After Jones’ disappearance, Hannah went to St. Louis to live with her father, but he died in 2007. Jones’ parents then adopted Hannah. It was her first time speaking publicly about the case.
Jones disappeared on Aug. 14, 2005, after meeting with Bryan Lee Westfall, the man she said was the father of her unborn child, at the Hillsboro Civic Center on Highway 21 in central Jefferson County.
The two met at a Christmas party there but hadn’t had any contact between January and Aug. 9, when she called to tell him when she was due to give birth, Westfall’s attorney Kevin Roberts told the Post-Dispatch in 2005. Westfall denied that he was the father.
The pair met at the civic center at 1 p.m. to discuss Westfall’s future role with the baby, Coombs said Tuesday, adding that Jones took a call from a relative 15 minutes later, who said Jones sounded “upset.”
Roberts said that Westfall and Jones had a non-confrontational chat for about an hour, and Jones went back to her car and took a call. Westfall returned to some work he was doing at the civic center. He said he last saw Jones in her car on a different part of the parking lot at 5 p.m., apparently again talking on her phone.
Her empty, unlocked car was found there later that day. Her car keys, purse, wallet and cellphone also were missing.
Westfall cooperated with investigators, Roberts said, and hired Roberts to handle the crush of attention by investigators and reporters.
Early in the case, police described Westfall, 36, a farmer and former instructor at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, as “a person of interest,” and they did so again Tuesday. They did not say he was a suspect nor detail how many persons of interest they had.
Coombs said that he and FBI Special Agent Mike Christian had been “constantly running out leads” on the case and that he felt closer to a resolution. He declined to comment on a potential motive for Jones’ disappearance.
Officials asked anyone with information about the case to call the FBI’s St. Louis office at 314-589-2500."