PINOLE (CBS SF) – Police have reopened the case of a 7-year-old girl who mysteriously disappeared from her Pinole home 25 years ago.
The Pinole Police Department is re-examining the case of Amber Swartz, who went missing from in front of her home on Savage Avenue on June 3, 1988, police Chief John Hardester said.
The Police Department and the FBI closed the case in 2009 because of a confession from Curtis Dean Anderson, a convicted kidnapper, child molester and murderer at Corocoran State Prison.
Anderson told investigators that he kidnapped and murdered Amber and dumped her body off of Interstate Highway 10 near Benson, Ariz.
He died in prison in 2009, and a joint police-FBI investigation ultimately determined that his story was true, Hardester said.
Since the case was closed, police have continued to follow new leads, but none have led to the recovery of Amber’s body, Hardester said.
There has been nothing to indicate that Anderson’s story was false, but police want to take another look at the case nonetheless.
“We want to make sure that everything’s been analyzed and nothing has been missed,” Hardester told the Pinole City Council on Tuesday night.
“The primary focus for reopening this is to find Amber,” he said.
Police are hoping that reopening the case will give investigators the chance to use new technology that wasn’t available during the initial investigation and that a renewed exchange of information on the case may “jar someone’s memory.”
Amber’s mother, Kim Swartz, thanked police at Tuesday’s City Council meeting and said she is “ecstatic” about the reopening of her daughter’s case.
“I would rather have my daughter on a missing persons’ list for eternity” than to base the closure of the case on “someone like Curtis Dean Anderson, who got basically off of Death Row by signing a confession,” she said.
Swartz, who held up photos depicting how her daughter might look today, said she plans to pursue legislation that would ban law enforcement agencies from closing a missing persons’ case without evidence.
Anyone with information related to Amber’s disappearance is encouraged to call Pinole police at (510) 724-8950.
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