Six Years Later, Still No Leads in Tenino Woman’s Disappearance


It’s been six years with no answers in the case of a missing Tenino woman.

But the documents for the investigation into Nancy Moyer’s disappearance are not in a file blanketed with layers of dust and tucked away on a shelf in the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

When the skeletal remains of a female were located in Chehalis on Feb. 23, Chief Deputy Brad Watkins, who oversees Thurston County’s investigations unit, said they were on the phone making inquiries with the Chehalis Police Department.

“We do that for just about any of the surrounding counties around us,” Watkins said.

When the sheriff’s office hears of remains found, it lets the agency know that it has a missing female and can provide records to compare against. All her information is also in the national database.

He said since Moyer hasn’t shown up in the “grid” anywhere, it is assumed she is most likely dead.

However, it is possible that if she changed her identity and hasn’t been arrested or fingerprinted anywhere, she could be alive. 

But it’s not likely, he said.

Moyer, 36 at the time, was last seen on March 6, 2009. Two days later, her husband, from whom she was separated, arrived at her home to drop off their two daughters. He found the front door of her home ajar, the TV on and half a glass of red wine sitting on a table in the living room. Her car was parked in the driveway and her purse with her credit cards, keys and wallet were in the house.

Watkins said the sheriff’s office has a detective assigned to the case, but the case hasn’t had any new leads in months. 

Most often, tips are along the lines of people reporting that they heard someone might know something. When those tips come in, the detective on the case actively works it. Other detectives within the sheriff’s office have taken their turns looking at the case.

Watkins said the sheriff’s office reviews aspects of the case or queries the system a handful of times each year to make sure detectives didn’t miss anything.

A small team of private investigators who collaborated with the agency did their own digging into the case. Watkins said that team has closed its investigation. 

“At the conclusion of that, they weren’t able to determine anything differently than we had,” Watkins said. “But, again, the good thing that came out of that was that it was a fresh set of eyes, it was a different perspective, but there was no new information that was gleaned from that whole process.”

While a previous Chronicle article noted that convicted murderer Bernard K. Howell was a person of interest, Watkins said he wouldn’t classify him as such at this point.

“He’s one of these people that we’ve talked to more than once and we have no concrete evidence to support that he had anything to do with her disappearance,” Watkins said.


Information from a previous Chronicle article was used in this story.


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