Missing Mom - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Missing Mom

Bonnie Schultz Bonnie Schultz
Rick Schultz Rick Schultz

Scott Swan/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - As it approaches the ten-year anniversary, the Bonnie Shultz missing person's case remains a puzzle. The wife and mother of two children was last seen leaving a north side bar in her vehicle. But Bonnie never made it home. It was painful for her young son in 1997. It still hurts ten years later.

"I miss her. I know that much. I've missed her since the day she was gone," said 25-year-old Josh Schultz. "When it first happened, I held out hope for quite a while that something would turn up, as far as her coming back. And over the years, I've lost that hope," added Schultz.

The Schultz family now lives in Michigan. Their life is normal in many ways except for the nagging question that continues to haunt family and police. What happened to Bonnie?

In July of 1997, the Schultz family lived in the 4400 block of Clayburn Drive on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The night she disappeared, Bonnie had a conversation with her husband Rick about marriage problems. After 26 years of marriage, Bonnie wanted a divorce.

"She made comments that her and I didn't have anything in common and she liked doing one thing and I liked doing another. Most couples - in my opinion - are that way. What they have in common is the family," said 56-year-old Rick Schultz. "I never thought she was the type that would get up and leave and run away. She wouldn't leave her kids behind," Schultz added. "I don't think she had any thoughts of suicide or anything like that. I don't think the situation was anywhere near that desperate."

Rick says he wanted counseling. After their conversation at home, Bonnie left for a nighttime birthday party with co-workers from her part-time inventory job. Josh, who was 15 at the time, went to a friend's home for a sleep-over. Gretchen, who was 10, stayed at home with her father.

Police say Bonnie was last seen at the Time Out Lounge near 62nd and Allisonville in the early morning hours of July 4, 1997. Detectives say Bonnie was seen with a woman and a man.

"They both gave statements, both were cooperative. Both said she was upset when she initially got there. But she settled down throughout the evening," said IMPD Missing Person's Detective Catherine Byron.

Witnesses told police Bonnie left alone in her car. It was a blue, 1990 four-door Mercury Sable station wagon with an Indiana License 99G9645.

"When I woke up the next morning, she wasn't there," recalled Rick Schultz.

Rick says he became concerned and called police. The family filed a missing person's report. Police monitored Bonnie's bank accounts and cell phone activity but found nothing.

"No one vanishes. She is somewhere. And so is that car," said Detective Byron.

Detectives working the case believe Bonnie was the victim of foul play. If she was murdered, who did it?

"The person responsible for this were pretty involved. They had a plan. Not only to hide Bonnie but to hide her entire car," said Detective Byron. Police say no one has been ruled out as a suspect.

"The husband is the first person that comes to mind when a spouse is missing," said Rick Schultz. "I had nothing to do with causing any of her physical harm."

The Schultz children cannot imagine any family member hurting their mom. "I don't think my dad did it. I don't think Josh did it," said 20-year old Gretchen Schultz.

Did someone else kill Bonnie? Did she take her own life? Did Bonnie want to disappear and start a new life?

"I don't believe that Bonnie left her children and left her friends, and left her job and took her car and hid is somewhere. I don't believe Bonnie has been living somewhere the last ten years," said Detective Byron.

"If she left us and is happy, as difficult as that is for us, that's better for her. If something else has happened, obviously it's a bad thing for everybody," said Rick Schultz.

The Schultz children believe their mother is dead. "I think someone probably murdered her," said Josh Schultz. "I really don't think she's alive anymore," said Gretchen Schultz. "It's been too long."

The children are left with family photos, memories and questions. They are hoping someone can help find the missing piece of the puzzle.

"I would truthfully like to know what happened. I mean, truly know, not just wonder," said Josh Schultz.

"Somebody out there knows something," said Rick Schultz. "We don't know what happened. And the not knowing is probably the most troubling."

If you have any information that could help police, call IMPD Missing Person's Detective Catherine Byron at 327-6984 or call crime stoppers at 262-TIPS. You don't have to give your name.

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