PIQUA — The long saga of Peggy Sue Houser, the Piqua teen who went missing in 1981 and was never seen again, has ended, her sister said Wednesday.
Her body was recently identified by police. It appears she is a homicide victim, said Karen Wood, 51, of Sidney. A DNA test on a body found in Hillsborough County Florida in 1982 has proven the identity. The body had been buried as “Jane Doe.”
After being informed by police, “initially, I cried,” Wood said. “And then, I knew she was dead all these many years. Now, I know where she is at. Now we can try to put her to peace with her real name on her.”
The Peggy Houser mystery began on June 14, 1981. Houser, 18, was with friends inside a Tampa, Fla., bar called The B-52 near McDill Air Force Base.
Over the course of the evening, she got angry with her friends and walked outside, sticking her thumb out to passing vehicles to hitch a ride.
Just a few weeks after she disappeared, her mother’s phone rang. Houser’s mother, Hattie Oglesbee, lived in Piqua. Houser asked if she could come home. Oglesbee said yes, but the phone just clicked and went dead.
Oglesbee believed it had been a local call. She had a feeling Peggy was in Piqua. She began searching the nearby area where public phones were located. At one point, she arrived at a Sohio station on North County Road 25A. She showed Housers’ photo to an attendant.
The gas station attendant said Peggy Houser had been there with a man on a motorcycle who took the phone out of her hand and hung it up. The attendant didn’t see which direction they were going, and by the time police responded, Peggy was gone.
Hattie Oglesbee, who once lived in Washington Twp. in Miami County, is now deceased, Wood said. For years after the disappearance, she kept a message on her home answering machine saying she would accept charges from her missing daughter.
“When they murdered my sister, they murdered my mom. She stopped living. She was afraid to leave her house. It took three years of counseling to get her to leave the house,” Wood said.
Piqua Police said at 1 p.m. Wednesday that they are preparing a press release on the conclusion of a long mystery.
Karen Wood said investigators told her of a lead they received in 2002. A man who identified himself as the killer’s brother approached police. He told them the man died in an accident in the Carolinas. Wood said that given that story, the truth might never be known.
“If this is what happened -nobody knows,” she said.