20-year-old Alice Fay Jones-Jefferson lived at Ft. Campbell Kentucky in 1974 with her two children, 6-year-old Paula, and 5-year-old Johnny, and her husband, Lee Andrew Jefferson. Sometime between 1974 and 1975, Lee Jefferson, who is not the children’s father, comes home one day and says his wife was gone. But Jefferson does not file a missing persons report.
Instead, after a couple of days, he packs some bags, loads his small step-children into the car, and drives them to their grandparents’ home in North Little Rock. He leaves, never to see the kids again. And Alice is never seen again either. In fact, no one was officially even looking for her.
“My grandparents called the police. Ain’t nothing we can do, that happened in another state. They tried the Red Cross with no help, to avail. I assisted them in calling the Kentucky police. Told them what happened. That’s not in our jurisdiction. Ok. I tried the Tennessee police. Not in our jurisdiction,” said Alice’s daughter, Paula, who is now a mother and grandmother herself. She says her grandparents did everything they could, but law enforcement turned a deaf ear.
It wasn’t until two years ago, nearly 40 years after the vanishing, when Paula got the help of a private investigator and the wheels began turning. The U.S. Army stepped in, confirming to us they opened an investigation, but that investigation turned cold.
The Army tells us in an email, “At this point, we have exhausted all leads in the case and are not actively investigating. However, if new information is discovered, we stand ready to reopen the case and thoroughly investigate all credible information.”
But the mystery remains. What happened to Alice? A source tells us her Social Security number has not been used since that time, meaning she never got a job, never opened a bank account, never paid taxes. Her children believe they know what happened.
“I believe Lee Andrew Jefferson killed my mother in the bedroom and dumped her body and he has gotten away with it,” Paula said.
Paula remembers that no one picked her and her brother up from school the day their mother vanished. They walked home, and beat on the door for a long time with no answer. Then, finally, her stepfather opened the door.
“Looked like somebody had doused him with a bucket of water he was sweating so hard. He says to me, ‘I’m sorry I overslept. I was asleep.’ I didn’t buy it,” she said.
Paula says Jefferson made the children sleep in the same bed with him, and would not let them in their bedroom. She says Alice’s car was still in the driveway, her clothes still in the closet.
Paula believes her mother was afraid of Lee. She admits her mother was involved at one time with another man and Lee was jealous. But she says her mother would never have left without taking her children.
Lee Jefferson now lives in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. We tried several times to contact him. Our sister station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, did make contact with him and asked him for an interview. He told them he would think about it, but never returned another call.
The private investigator, Monty Vickers, did conduct a phone interview with Jefferson two years ago.
Jefferson told Vickers about Alice’s disappearance, “She had some friends in Nashville, and I went and checked in that area. None of those had seen her, and those were her friends. I thought something was going on that I didn’t know about.”
Jefferson claims he did contact authorities.
“I called when it first happened, then one of the neighbors had said that she was talking to somebody in Nashville and well, okay, she just up and left and left the kids, and this is several years, my recollection might not be a hundred percent, but, I figured that she went back up to Nashville, and she’d show up, because she’d done something like that before well before I met her from what her father had said to me.”
Forty years later, Alice is still missing and the pain for the family is still fresh.
“That 7 year old is still screaming. 40 years, no momma. I got to borrow everybody else’s momma to help me. To guide me. It hurts. I’m angry. I’m hurt. I can’t count how many times I just scream in my car with the music up loud so the kids don’t hear,” Paula said.
There was a glimmer of hope recently. Remains of an African American woman found in 1975, 30 miles from the base in Tennessee had not been identified. A DNA profile existed. Paula says the Army took DNA swabs from her and her brother. I talked to Lieutenant Jerry Williams with Maury County Sheriff’s Department. He said records show the Army compared the DNA and found no match. The mystery remains unsolved.
The Army has set up a tip line. You can find it here.
If you have any information that can help in locating Ms. Alice Faye Jefferson, PLEASE contact the Army tip line or contact WGI at #501-758-6175.