Panama City Beach- Was she kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply run away? 20 years following her mysterious disappearance in Panama City Beach the question remains- what happened to Pamela Ray?
"Unfortunately it keeps coming back to one thing, we don't know," said Panama City Beach Police Captain Robert Clarkson.
The Georgia resident and her two kids were about to start a vacation, pulling into the old Wilhite Motel on Front Beach Road. They would get there before the sun rose, around 5:30 a.m., when on that fateful day of August 12, 1992 Ray vanished.
"At least one witness did indicate during the 5:00 time frame, he thought he heard a woman scream indicating she needed help. However he didn't feel the need to contact the police department," said Clarkson.
Hours later a police officer on patrol happened to notice her children sleeping in the family's car. Ray was nowhere to be found.
"All they could really say is mom was trying to get into the hotel room. They didn't have any information whatsoever as to what happened to her," said Clarkson.
Besides her children unable to help, initial investigations were that much more difficult given the lack of physical proof.
"There wasn't a lot of forensic evidence collected back then, so it's not like we have some sort of DNA," said Clarkson.
Pamela Ray's story has garnered national attention thoughout the years, featured on television shows including NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries." Among the countless possibilities as to what happened to her, two scenarios remain at the forefront.
"The family had been indicted on some bank fraud charges," said Clarkson.
Or was she murdered?
"That's really been the only break that we have had," said Clarkson.
Serving life in prison for a separate murder, Mark Riebe is still the only person of interest in the case.
"He professes he's a self-proclaimed mass murderer of women. Nothing he's given us to date with Pamela Ray have we been able to prove," said Clarkson.
With so many questions and so few answers, investigators continue to rely on the public for help in cracking this unsolved mystery.
"That little piece that you might not thought was a big deal 20 years ago, today could be key that we need to solve the case," said Clarkson.
If you think you know any information relating to the disappearance of Georgia resident Pamela Ray you can call the Panama City Beach Police Department at (850) 233-5010.