Benita Elizabeth Moore Spears
Benita, approximately 1989
Date reported missing : 10/24/1989
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 07/26/1966 (55)
Age at the time of disappearance: 23 years old
Height / Weight : 5'2, 120 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Benita's nickname is Nita. She has a hernia scar on her abdomen, a beauty mark on her left cheek and a chipped front tooth. Her ears are pierced.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Benita was last seen in Gary, Indiana on October 24, 1989. Her mother saw her at Indiana University's Northwest campus that day; both of them attended classes there. She has never been heard from again.
At the time of her disappearance, Benita was estranged from her ex-husband, John Lee "Johnny" Spears Jr. She had married him after graduating HoEthnicity : Mann High School, and they had two sons.
There was a history of domestic violence in the marriAge at the time of disappearance: . In 1988, Johnny was charged with two felonies after he beat Benita, abducted her at gunpoint and took her out of state. He pleaded guilty to criminal confinement and was sentenced to two years in prison. Benita filed for divorce that same year.
Johnny was released from Lake County Jail the night before Benita disappeared. Shortly after her disappearance, he was seen driving her 1981 Oldsmobile Omega with license plates numbered 45P2981. It had been parked at Benita's home when she was reported missing, but disappeared a short time later.
The vehicle wasn't located until November 23, when it turned up at a parking lot at South Shore Line in East Chicago, Illinois.
Johnny refused to take a polygraph in Benita's case. In October 1990, Johnny was charged with attempted murder in an unrelated incident and jailed again. He remains the prime suspect in his ex-wife's case, but has never been charged in connection with it.
Benita lived in the 1900 block of east 19th Avenue at the time of her disappearance. She was attending college full time and had a temporary part-time clerical job with the utilities dispatch center at Inland Steel Co. in East Chicago.
According to her family, Benita's hobbies include cooking, sewing and piano playing. Foul play is suspected in her case, which remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Gary Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
Forever Missed: Benita Moore Spears
The Indiana Post-Tribune
The Tulsa World
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
October 12, 2004. March 23, 2010; picture added.
Interactive Missing Person Search Map