"When you look at the dark side, careful you must be. For the dark side looks back."
It was the 29th of June 2001. A Friday. Twenty nine year old Patti Adkins could not wait for the weekend to begin. She worked at a Honda factory in Marysville, Ohio, United States and that day, her shift was from 3.30pm until midnight. At midnight, the factory would close for what was known as "shutdown." Every year, employees have a week off to celebrate the 4th of July holiday.
Patti had worked at the plant for ten years. Throughout those ten years , she had been promoted a number of times and was in line for a further promotion. Patti loved working there. She had divorced her husband and wanted to ensure she could provide for her seven year old daughter Michaley so she always worked hard and was meticulous. But even though she loved work, she was excited for some time off. And there was a reason she was excited. Patti was due to spend the week in Canada with her boyfriend.
The Honda Plant
Patti's relationship with her boyfriend was complicated. He also worked for Honda. But he was married with children. That would soon change though. He told Patti he was planning on leaving his wife and they discussed what their life would be like together, where they would live and having more children. As he was a married man, they kept their relationship a secret at work. Patti only told one of her friends at work about the relationship. She also told her two sisters and her best friend.
That day, the 29th of June, before Patti's shift started, she got everything in order before leaving for the week. Patti dropped her daughter off at her ex husband's house and then her sister Marcia was due to collect her so she could stay with her also. Patti then would collect her on the Sunday when she returned home. She brought her pets to the Vet so they could be looked after and got a lift to work that day instead of driving as she would be leaving with her boyfriend in his truck.
Patti and Michaley
When Patti got to work that day, she asked her team if they could make sure their assembly line was clean before midnight so that she could leave at midnight. That was unusual as Patti would never normally leave first. She liked to stay behind to ensure everything was perfect. But everyone was happy to do it as they also wanted to leave as soon as their shift ended. At midnight, Patti left almost immediately. She clocked out at 19 seconds past midnight and ran up the stairs towards the parking lot. A few employees saw her leaving the plant in her white Honda of America uniform. Vacation time.
Just over a week later, on the Sunday, the 8th of July, Marcia expected Patti to pick up Michaley at noon. Marcia hadn't heard from Patti at all during her time away but she hadn't expected to. Patti had told her she would be staying in a remote place in Canada so there would be no phone coverage and she said that she would call if she could from the side of the road but if not, she would see her Sunday. Even so, it wasn't like Patti not to let her know if she was running late. Marcia rang Patti's house landline at 12.30pm. There was no answer and Marcia was worried. She began to call every half an hour and then every few minutes. When she heard nothing at all, she decided to call Patti's boyfriend. His wife answered. Marcia asked if he was home but he wasn't. That made Marcia feel a little better as it looked like they were just running late.
Patti and Michaley
Marcia waited a while and called her boyfriend's house again at 5pm. He answered. Marcia asked where Patti was and he said that he didn't know as he wasn't with her. He denied being involved with her in any way. Marcia was frantic and asked:
"What did you do to her?"
Marcia was not getting any answers that made sense so she hung up and called back at 3am. His wife answered and Marcia told her about the relationship that her husband was in with Patti. They spoke for around fifteen minutes and the wife gave her husband the phone. He again said he had no idea why she thought they were in a relationship.
Marcia and Patti Adkins
Patti was reported missing. Police searched Patti's house. Her car was still in the driveway and inside, nothing looked out of place. All of her clothes were there along with her personal items and there was no evidence of foul play. There was nothing at all to indicate that she would have left of her own accord. Marcia had not even contemplated that as she knew there was no way Patti would leave her daughter behind.
During the course of the investigation, police discovered a few troubling elements of her relationship with her boyfriend. They discovered that Patti had been giving him money. She told her sisters and the banker that she had to withdraw money to loan it to him. He needed money because he had a business with his brother in law and he wanted to buy him out. Patti had been careful with her money and had saved for ten years. When she began working for Honda, she began saving. Police discovered that in total, Patti had withdrawn around $90,000 over a period of one year. Patti's sister said that Patti said he would have to start paying it back, bit by bit.
Police also discovered that Patti told her friend and sisters that her boyfriend told her not to bring any clothes with her as they could buy whatever she needed in Canada. She also had to hide in the back of his truck, under a Tonneau cover, when she left work at midnight. This was to avoid anyone seeing her as her boyfriend had to drop off a coworker first. It was around a 35 minute drive from the factory to the boyfriend's house.
Police spoke with Patti's boyfriend. He denied being in a relationship with her. Police searched his home and discovered a phone and t-shirt Patti had gifted to him. The boyfriend confirmed she gave him a Birthday card but he ripped it up in case his wife found it. There was a letter from Patti also. In the letter, Patti told him how much she wanted to be with him. He said he only knew Patti through work. Police discovered he picked up the Tonneau cover the morning of the 29th of June and removed it from his truck a week later. He claimed he needed it for his fishing equipment but he didn't use it again after he took it off.
The Tonneau cover was sent off for forensic testing. Blood and cat hair was found on the underneath side of the cover. A lab tested the animal DNA and confirmed it was hair from Patti's cat. Police believed it may have been on her clothes and rubbed off on to the cover. The blood sample was so small that if tested, the entire sample would be consumed and it may not give conclusive results so the lab suggested waiting until better forensics technology is available so that it can be tested then.
Police also spoke to the boyfriend's coworker. The one who got a lift home from him after work. He said that they left the plant and drove 30 miles towards their hometown of Canton, Ohio. On the way, they stopped at a Burger King and waited for 45 minutes in the drive through line, got their food and went home. The manager at Burger King claimed it would not have been busy at that time and they would not have had to wait 45 minutes in the drive through.
The boyfriend's wife told police that he got home at 2.30 am. She said that she did not know anything about an affair.
Patti's boyfriend denied receiving any money from Patti and when police checked his accounts there was no evidence he had received anything from her.
Police have to date declined to name Patti's boyfriend. He left his job at Honda shortly after Patti's disappearance.
Authorities say the courts have declared Patti legally deceased.
No arrests have ever been made in connection to Patti’s disappearance. Police do not believe this is a missing person case, they believe it is a homicide investigation. Her boyfriend is considered the primary suspect in the case.
This case needs to be looked at again. Patti's family deserve justice. There are a number of things that need to be investigated again. The money needs to be followed. $90,000 is a huge sum of money. Granted, Patti didn't withdraw it in one go but even if there was no evidence the money was received into the boyfriend's account, what was his spending like during that year and what was purchased? Did the coworker provide a detailed statement and is his version of events still the same today?
If you have any information on the circumstances surrounding Patti’s case, please call Lt. Jeff Stiers 937-645-4126. Anonymous information may be left via voicemail on the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime-Tip Hotline at 937-642-7653.
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"When someone just disappears for no reason, it's shocking, it's devastating. I just feel like my life stopped that day and I've just been in a tailspin ever since."
- Adam Vaughan, Janine's brother
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