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November 9, 2009

Anderson woman still hopeful for missing girl’s return

Detective revisits case when tips come his way

ANDERSON, Ind. — Twelve poster-sized missing persons decals cover Patti Bishop’s car, but it’s the story of Anderson’s Melinda “Mindy” Creech that has plagued Bishop for 30 years.

The last time anyone saw Mindy, it was Sept. 4, 1979. She was 14 years old.

Thirty years later, native-Andersonian Bishop is keeping hope that she will be found, even though the detective on the case says it may be a body instead of a live person.

“There’s a lot of hope that she’s alive,” Bishop said. “You never give up that hope unless you have physical evidence.”

Bishop founded IN Hope, an Indiana nonprofit organization that searches and advocates for missing people, in 2000 after her stepdaughter’s disappearance. Since then, Mindy has been featured on her car, on her Web site and at her Squeaky Wheel concerts — put on to bring awareness about missing people throughout the nation.

According to police reports, Mindy ran away from home a few times as a child. After stealing motorcycles with another teenager, Mindy was placed in an all-girls detention home — also known as the “Blake House.” On Sept. 4, she disappeared.

“Someone here knows something,” Bishop said. “People are coming back for reunions and to help their family. Someone knows something.”

According to Detective David Callahan, of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Mindy’s mother told her siblings that a body found on the East Coast was matched to Mindy’s dental records. But, when their mother died a few years ago, the family found a letter from that agency stating the exact opposite. For all those years, their mother, Shirley Creech, had lied to them and no one knows why.

“It’s awfully suspicious,” Callahan said. “But, other than being suspicious, we don’t have any evidence that the mother had done her any harm.”

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