Teresa Butler is believed to have vanished on January 25, 2006, from her home on County Road 241, also known as Eight Ditch Road, just off Highway 62 near Risco, Missouri. She was last heard from when she called a relative at 10:00 p.m. the previous day.
Teresa’s husband, Gary Dale Butler, was working the night shift and attempted to call her during his lunch break, but the call went to voicemail, so he assumed she was sleeping. He returned home at 10:00 a.m. on January 25 to find his wife missing and their two sons, ages two and four, alone at home. The younger boy wore a full diaper and drank from an empty bottle. Teresa has never been heard from again.
Along with Teresa, her purse, cell phone, the family’s video camera, PlayStation with games, Nintendo GameCube with games, large MagLite flashlight, digital camera, and car stereo vanished. Her wedding rings, black leather jacket, and her forest-green Jeep were however left behind.
Things Disappeared Along with Teresa Butler
Her wedding rings, which she typically removed before going to bed each night, were discovered on the floor beneath the couch. A key was discovered broken off in a lock at the house, and the lightbulb on the front porch was unscrewed, but there were no indications of forced entry, blood, or signs of a struggle.
Although Gary claimed his wife was in good health before going missing, her coworkers claimed she had received distressing calls from Gary’s ex-wife. She reported the threat from Gary’s ex-wife to her father. Gary claims that Teresa and his ex-wife were able to work out their differences amicably and that he has been eliminated as a suspect in her case.
Drugs were traded
Within 24 hours of Teresa’s disappearance, a drug deal allegedly took place in which drugs were traded for a video camera, according to a witness who came forward to the police. The witness saw what was inside and knew it belonged to Teresa. The video camera was found by the police in the water-filled ditch between Malden and Risco that the witness had pointed out, but they were unable to identify it as Teresa’s because it had no serial number and no tape inside.
Tampering with evidence
Melvin Ray Hufford Jr. was accused of tampering with evidence and first-degree involuntary manslaughter in Teresa’s case in November 2019. With this case summary is a picture of Hufford. Authorities claimed he had confessed to killing her and had been a person of interest in her case ever since she vanished.
Hufford claimed that on the night Teresa vanished, he, another man, and Teresa were all using methamphetamine to get high. She complained that her chest hurt after he gave himself and her an injection, and then she passed out and died. In order to make her disappearance appear to be a robbery, he stole items from her house before wrapping her body in a tarp and dragging it to a ditch.
Hufford later took Butler’s body to his father’s previous abandoned home, where he concealed it for a while while he was incarcerated under a sink cabinet. He crushed the remaining bones and dumped them in a ditch after burning her remains after being freed. The body was under the sink, according to Hufford’s father, who insisted he hadn’t touched it.
Six prison terms
To be tried for Teresa’s wrongful death is Hubbard. He has served six prison terms since 1997 and has a lengthy criminal history that includes drug offences. Investigators don’t anticipate making any more arrests because they don’t think the second man he linked to Teresa’s death was actually involved in her case.
Teresa has no history of instability or abrupt departures, and leaving her children unattended would be uncharacteristic of her. She worked in the photo department of a Wal-Mart in Dexter, Missouri, at the time of her disappearance, and was scheduled to arrive at work at noon on the day she vanished, but never arrived. Due to the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, foul play is suspected.
- New Madrid County Sheriff’s Office 573-748-2516