GREENSBURG, Pa. — It's a missing persons case that has baffled investigators for more than four decades. It's left family members asking one question; what happened to their baby sister?
"She was a beautiful little girl," said Cathi Rhodes. "She really was and always happy. She was the youngest, the youngest of six."
Teri Rhodes, 13, didn't have a care in the world. She grew up in a different time, the 70s in South Greensburg.
"She was very pretty and just a sweet girl," said Cathi Rhodes. "She was learning to play the guitar and you know she babysat for me and very trustworthy."
The teenager who everybody liked went to babysit one night with a friend several years older, on Sept. 27, 1975, and never returned home. She hasn't been seen or heard from since.
"It's something that doesn't leave you," said Teri's older brother, Bill. "It's there every day of your life. There's an emptiness there. It's just does not go away."
On a recent afternoon, we gathered in the Hempfield Township kitchen of Teri's sister, along with three other siblings, not far from where Teri vanished.
"It's something we don't really often talk about," said Teri's sister Gloria Casale. "It can get overwhelming easily become consumed by it."
Over the years, there have been plenty of rumors and speculation. A former police officer told reporter Rick Earle he believes Teri and her friend never went babysitting but instead wound up at a party with several men in South Greensburg. He suspects they were drinking and doing drugs and something went terribly wrong. He says Teri may have overdosed, they panicked and got rid of her body. He suspects a former South Greensburg police officer who eventually served time in prison for an attempted murder for hire plot may have been with Teri that night.
Family members confirmed that on at least one occasion they saw their sister in the police car talking with that same officer, who's now deceased, but didn't think anything of it.
"It's just a shame because if he was, if he was we were always brought up to respect authority and that could have been to her demise," said Cathi Rhodes.
Over the years, the family, especially Teri's brothers have searched everywhere. Even traveling to Florida once after hearing she may have gone south. They still haven't' given up.
"I'm still looking for her," said brother, Joe Rhodes. "I can't get away from her. She's on my mind 365 days."
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