The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department (VPSO) has reopened the unsolved 1986 case of the disappearance of a 25-year-old woman.
On the evening of October 22, 1986, Bambi Brantley was given a ride by a friend to a convenience store on Hwy 8 West. The friend left Brantley at the store around 10 p.m.
She went inside the store and purchased a fountain drink.
Around midnight Brantley used a payphone outside of the store to call the Pitt Grill. Brantley was trying to reach her brother Roddy Brantley who was at the restaurant. She left a message for him with the person who answered the phone. "If you see my brother tell him to come home," were the last known words that anyone heard Brantley say.
Roddy got the message and went to the home he and his sister shared in Tower Trailer Park. This was some time shortly after midnight. His sister was not home.
Thinking she left with another friend Brantley was not immediately alarmed. However, when she wasn't there the next morning he started to worry. His concern was intensified when she didn't show up for work at Pynes Chrysler where she was employed as a salesperson.
It was at this point that Brantley notified the Leesville City Police and a missing person investigation was opened.
Now, nearly 32 years later, VPSO has reopened this missing person case.
"Her body has never been found," Detective Rhonda Jordan told the Leesville Daily Leader in a interview. "This is a missing person case and not a homicide."
Jordan was very direct in dispelling rumors that Brantley's body had been found in the Leesville water tower.
"Her body was not found in that water tower," she said. "I don't know how that rumor ever got started but it's just crazy."
"Can you imagine what it would be like packing 105 pounds up to the top of that tower," she asked. "Then think about what would involved in finding a body and removing it from the tower. It just isn't true and it's time to put that to rest."
Dispelling the water tower rumor however, does not mean the VPSO is not interested in the public's assistance in solving this case.
"We do believe that there are people out there that have information that can help us solve this case," she said. "Every piece of information is important at this point. All it takes is just one person remembering something that points us in the right direction."
Jordan said that, based on the evidence in the files, they think Brantley walked from the store back to her trailer.
"The evidence file says that a fountain drink was on the floor of her house," Jordan said. "We think that this is the one she purchased at the store, telling us that she made it back to her home."
Jordan said the file also indicated some things in the house were in disarray, pointing to a possible struggle.
"We just reopened this case and we are still going over and finding evidence," she said.
Brantley's case is the fourth one that Jordan and a team of cold case workers have reopened at VPSO.
"Since we've reopened these cases we've had lots of phone calls and information," Jordan said as she reached for a thick file filled that contained those new leads. "Our hope is that someone will come forward with something new about Brantley when they see this on social media or in the newspaper."
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Bambi Luann Brantley should contact Detective Rhonda Jordan or Detective Jerry Twyman at 337 238-7248.