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Kentucky woman last seen walking her dog still missing 22 years later

NBC News logo NBC News 4/21/2018 Juliet Muir
Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick

Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick was an organized woman who stuck to her routine. A widow since 1982, she lived alone in her cabin near Nolin River Lake in Edmonson County, Kentucky with her Pomeranian named Fifi. For Alyne, Friday, April 12, 1996 began like any other day.

Alyne, 61, woke up and went to a chiropractic appointment, Kentucky State Police told Dateline. After her appointment, Alyne went to a tanning salon and then stopped by the house of the handyman man she had hired. Then, according to her daughter Kaye Biggers, Alyne went home. She was supposed to spend the weekend with her brother, Pete Jackson, in Frankfort, Kentucky, but called her sister-in-law to tell her she wasn't coming. She gave no explanation as to why.

Around 2:30 p.m. that day, Alyne took her dog Fifi for a walk in her neighborhood, near Mammoth Cave National Park. The gated community consisted of a few cabins, but most of the neighbors were seasonal vacationers, Kaye told Dateline.

Police told Dateline that during her walk, Alyne saw some teenagers who were staying at a cabin nearby and she stopped for a casual conversation with them.

Police would later learn that when Alyne went home, she began with her bedtime routine. She had closed her blinds, put a clean trash bag out to take out her old trash, and had lit a cigarette.

However, the routine seems to have been interrupted rather abruptly. Alyne's cigarette would later be found burned down into the bathroom counter, and her bottom dentures were in the cup she used to clean them. Her top dentures were missing.

"If she had cleaned her top teeth, she put them back on. Because nobody ever saw her without her teeth. Period," Kaye told Dateline.

Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick

One of Alyne's neighbors became concerned when he did not see her walking Fifi over the weekend. That Monday, three days after she was last seen, the neighbor contacted the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office to report his concern. After searching Alyne's home and contacting her friends and family, who had not seen Alyne, a missing persons report was filed.

Kentucky State Police Detective Jason Lanham, previously a lead detective on Alyne's case, said the police who responded to the call said there was no sign of forced entry into Alyne's home. Kaye and her family believe someone Alyne knew may have knocked on her door that night.

"I wouldn't say that it was somebody that she necessarily knew," Det. Lanham told Dateline, "But, there's a good chance it was."

Det. Lanham said police found Alyne's car was at her home, and her keys were inside her house. Her dog Fifi was in a crate inside the house. Det. Lanham said there were signs of a possible struggle inside the home - specifically in the bedroom. Kaye believes Aylne may have been trying to reach a gun she kept in her bed side table.

"There were very small amounts of blood in the bedroom," Set. Lanham told Dateline.

Kaye says the only items missing from the house were Alyne's purse, the top bed sheet and Alyne.

State police have conducted group searches in the area near her house, partially drained lakes and had scuba divers search nearby.

"We've had cadaver dogs search as late as the fall and winter of 2016," Det. Lanham said.

Det. Lanham told Dateline the investigation is still ongoing, and that while detectives have had some persons of interest, there have been no substantial leads.

"We haven't had enough evidence or leads to make a true suspect, or get enough to charge somebody," Det. Lanham said. "As time goes by, you have fewer and fewer people who know her or remember what happened."

Kaye said she and her family suspect Alyne's handyman, whose house she stopped by at on the last day she was seen, had something to do with her disappearance. Kaye said she believes he left the area shortly after Alyne went missing, and has been arrested since then. Det. Lanham confirmed to Dateline that police did interview the man at the time, and that he had served time in Illinois for crimes unrelated to Alyne's disappearance. He did not know if he is still serving time, and could not confirm any additional information or release his name to protect the integrity of the case.

On the 22nd anniversary of their mother's disappearance, Kaye and her family continue to search for Alyne.

"It's like having a nightmare that you can never wake up from," Kaye told Dateline. She said she hopes to put her mother to rest, adding that Alyne "deserves to be buried and not just be thrown away." Alyne would now be the grandmother of seven -- four girls and three boys.

Alyne J. Lawrence Barrick would be 84 years old today. She is 5' 4" with white hair and green eyes. If you have any information, please contact the Kentucky State Police department at (270) 782-2010.

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