Between being a single mother and holding down a full-time job at a Honda factory in Marysville, Ohio, 29-year-old Patti Adkins led a busy life with little to no room for much else, let alone a love life. However, she wouldn’t have to look far. A year before she went missing, she became completely enamoured with a married co-worker and began an illicit affair.
Patti adored her seven-year-old daughter Michaley with all her heart. She shared custody with her ex-husband and would drop her off at his house every Friday for the weekend. On Friday, June 29, 2001, she did so for the very last time.
Patti told her sister Marcia all about her secret love affair with her colleague; how much she adored him and of his promise to leave his wife and children for her. He said they would start a new life together and have children of their own. Patty told Marcia there was only one reason he hadn’t filed for divorce; he and his brother-in-law owned a business together and he wanted to buy him out before the divorce in fear of retaliation.
He asked Patti to loan him the money, and since she thought she was investing in their future together, she agreed. Patti took out a second mortgage on her home and even took money out of her 401K. In total, she gave her boyfriend $90,000 in the span of only a year with the promise he would pay it back in July, the month after she went missing.
Patti also told her sister that she and her secret beau had planned a romantic getaway for the 4th of July. Every year, the Honda factory would shut down for an entire week in celebration. Patti’s daughter was with her ex, her cats were at the vet for the week and work was closed, the stars had aligned. Patti told Marcia her boyfriend had told her not to bring any clothes, that they would buy new ones once they arrived in Canada.
Marcia may not have approved of her sister’s affair, but it wasn’t until Patti told her this that she really began to fear for her sister’s life: Patti said her boyfriend had told her that he needed to drop off a co-worker before they left for their trip. He said that she needed to hide under the bed of his truck and once he dropped the co-worker off, she could come out and they would be on their way. Marcia told her sister how ridiculous and suspicious it all sounded, but Patti said her boyfriend wouldn’t harm a single hair on her head.
She was under her lover's spell and there was nothing anyone could say or do to change her mind, Patti was going on that trip.
Patti could barely contain her excitement during her last shift at work on June 29th. She was telling all of her co-workers how she couldn’t wait to clock out, which she did at midnight. She went straight home and packed a small overnight bag. When her boyfriend arrived, she quickly ran out to the parking lot and hid under a cover in the bed of his truck. She was never seen again.
Patti was set to pick Michaley up from Marcia’s house at noon on Sunday, July 8, the day she was scheduled to return from the trip. Noon rolled around and Patti didn’t show up. Marcia shrugged it off at first, thinking they were probably just running late. At 12:30 pm, Marcia called Patti’s landline but there was no answer. The nagging feeling in her gut said something was wrong. Marcia continued to call Patti’s home every half hour for the next few hours, to no avail. Marcia then called Patti’s married boyfriend's house. His wife picked up the phone and said he wasn’t home yet. Marcia was relieved, to her, this confirmed that he and Patti were just running late.
By 5 pm, Marcia still hadn’t heard from Patti. She called her boyfriend’s home again and this time, he picked up the phone. To Marcia’s dismay, he said he had no idea where Patti was and that he barely knew her other than as a co-worker. Marcia knew he was lying through his teeth and asked him point-blank, “What did you do to my sister?” He denied he had anything to do with Patti or her disappearance. Marcia hung up.
On July 9 at 3 am, Marcia called Patti’s boyfriend’s home for the third time and told his wife about the affair. She even provided intimate details about their marriage, information she could have only gotten from Patti. His wife put him on the phone and once again, he claimed Patti was a co-worker and nothing more. The phone conversation lasted forty-five minutes. Marcia reported Patti missing that same day.
Investigators knew Patti did not leave voluntarily. According to her family, there was no way she would have abandoned her daughter. Additionally, she left her vehicle and all of her personal belongings behind. It was through her financial records investigators discovered she had been lending large amounts of cash to her boyfriend. A banker reportedly corroborated that Patti frequently withdrew money to give to her boyfriend.
When investigators interrogated Patti’s boyfriend, he told them he clocked out at the same time as Patti on June 29th, midnight. He said he then took a co-worker to Burger King where they waited for forty-five minutes in the drive-through. After they got their food, he drove the co-worker home. His wife corroborated his story, stating he came home at 2:30 am. However, the manager of the Burger King told investigators it wasn’t a busy night, that they only had eight or nine transactions and there was no way they waited for forty-five minutes.
Patti’s boyfriend told investigators that there was no affair and no trip. He said that he barely knew Patti, but a search of his home, which he voluntarily agreed to, proved the opposite. Marcia told investigators Patti had bought him a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. When they searched the man’s home, they found the t-shirt. Investigators also found a phone which Patti had given to him as a gift, as well as a letter. In the letter, she wrote about how much she loved him and couldn’t wait to be with him.
In the garage of the man’s home, they found a brand new truck bed cover which he said he used to cover fishing gear. It was sent off for forensic testing. Blood was found on the inside of the cover but the sample was too small to be tested at the time. There was also something else found — cat hair. If you have cats, you probably have their hair all over your clothes. So did Patti, and that cat hair was found on the cover. It was sent for testing and it came back as a match for Patti’s cats.
Patti’s boyfriend continued to deny any involvement in her disappearance. He told investigators he had never received a dime from her and his financial records had no evidence of the transactions either. He later failed a polygraph test.
Patti’s boyfriend has never been arrested in relation to her murder. Investigators say that without a body, they don’t have enough evidence to charge him. Marcia has said she knew in her heart Patti was dead as soon as she didn’t show up at her house on July 8th. She was officially declared deceased in 2006.
Today, Patti’s daughter Michaley is 27-years-old and still searching for answers. It has been nearly 20 years since Patti went missing and her then-boyfriend is still the prime suspect in the case. If you have any information, you can call the Union County tip hotline at 704–283–5600, or you can submit it online. All tips are confidential.
Sources: ABC 6, Chilling Crimes, Charley Project, True Crime Daily
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