Patricia Ann Calloway

On March 3, 1993 Patricia "Patsy" Calloway was working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home in Hartford Kentucky.  That morning her ex-brother in law, Vernon Calloway had gone there to talk to her.  Patsy and Vernon's brother, Larry had been divorced for over a year but they still lived together.  Vernon was there to tell Patsy that Larry had filed for a marriage license with his girlfriend. Patsy's co-workers and boss say that she was upset over something although they did not know what at that point and that she stated she needed to leave early due to a family emergency.  She left at 10:30 that morning and no one heard from her again.  Witnesses would say she was last seen inside Vernon's car talking to him.  Her car would be found at 5 pm that evening in a side lot of the Hartford Community Center.

Still regardless of not being seen, it appears that she was not reported missing for another ten days.  Vernon and his wife, Debra would be known to tell people that after hearing that Larry planned to remarry Patsy had been so upset that she just took off.  Reality of it is it appears many of the Calloway's knew more than they were saying.  

Police investigated but at first they thought the story that she took off may have been true.  Then they realized she obviously did not have her, clothes or much money.  She never retrieved her last paycheck from the nursing home nor did she access her bank account at all after March 3rd.

There would be few clues for several years  In March of 2000, seven years after she was last seen her family had a memorial service for her.  She was legally declared dead in December of 2001.  It appears that in 2008 the case was reopened when Vernon and Larry's brother, James began talking.  He had his own legal issues and there are some that believe he only did so in order to help himself, which some would argue does not mean that what he said was true. At any rate James would tell investigators that on March 3, 1993 he had gone over to Vernon and Debra's home.  They were in the process of cleaning out their truck.  Apparently they had left him alone at some point outside and James claims that there were trash bags all over the back obviously covering something up.  James would say that he looked and he saw Patsy's body, her throat cut.  When later asked why it took him so long to come forward he would claim that he was fearful that he would be the next victim.  

Early on in the investigation of her disappearance it was learned that investigators believed that at the time of her disappearance Patsy was "blackmailing" Larry.  In 1991 Larry's (and presumably Patsy's) home had caught fire.  It was learned that Larry had paid his brother Vernon $1,000 to start the fire.  In July of 1995, some two years after she disappeared, Larry would plead guilty for a charge of arson.  Vernon would be tried in 1996 for his role but he was acquitted (I have no information other than this).  

Finally, finishing their investigation in October of 2012 Vernon and Debra were charged with murder pertaining to Patsy.  Vernon would never see the inside of a courtroom however as he would died in July of 2013.  In August of 2014 Debra would go on trial on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Aside from James' testimony of seeing the body in the back of their vehicle (keep in mind he was saying this prior to his brother dying), the prosecution had a few other witnesses.  One would be Larry Calloway.  Before anyone asks or wonders I cannot answer what they may or may not have had on Larry as I agree it seems odd that only Vernon and Debra would be involved but I found nothing to indicate that he was ever charged or involved.  At any rate Larry would testify about the arson case and state that Debra, who would state she did not know about it until after Patsy had disappeared, was present when he and Vernon discussed the planning and when Larry paid him the money promised.  

Larry's son would also testify for the prosecution.  He would state that on the day that Patsy disappeared his wife had delivered a baby.  He claimed that Vernon and Debra came to the hospital to visit around lunch time and stayed for approximately an hour.  He would also testify that in 2012 after the two had been charged Debra called him and told him to dig something up that Vernon had buried in his back yard.  Rick Calloway would testify that he did as he was asked and he found a box buried in his yard.  Inside the box was a letter written in Vernon's handwriting.  It stated "I killed Patsy. No one had nothing to do with it but me. Not Debbie. Not nobody."

The prosecution also had two other witnesses who would say they saw a woman walking down the highway after Patsy disappeared who they initially believed was Patsy but would determine that it was in fact Debra Calloway.  One claimed she saw the clothing and the wig that the woman on the road wore in Debra's closet.  

Debra would testify in her own defense but as is often the case it seems she did not do herself any favors.  She would claim that on the day of March 3, 1993 she had only seen Vernon in the morning when he came to her work and not again until late in the afternoon.  However prosecutors and investigators not only apparently stated, but proved, that she contradicted her story quite often. When asked about Rick Calloway's claim that she and Vernon had gone to the hospital that day she would concede to this only saying she was not sure what time of day it was.  She would go on to claim that she never suspected that Vernon was involved in Patsy's disappearance until 2013 when he supposedly buried the box in Rick Calloway's yard.  This in and of it self sounds odd considering by her account it indicates that Vernon had not buried the box until after he had already been arrested and just before he died. That does not make a lot of sense.

Vernon's sister would testify that prior to Vernon dying he had confessed to her that he had in fact killed Patsy.  Whether the sister indicated that he stated anything about Debra is unclear. 

Since there seemed to be more evidence against Vernon it seems that the jury believed he was more involved and more responsible.  They would ultimately convict Debra but on the lesser charge of facility to commit murder.  She would be sentenced to ten years.  According to the Kentucky Department of Corrections website she is eligible for parole in July of 2018.  It also states that her expected release is in November of 2020 but if she serves her maximum time she will not be released until July of 2024.


Comments

  1. This was a confusing story. What I really don't understand was why she was killed? What was the point? Patsy was already divorced from Larry.

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    Replies
    1. Prosecutors believed that the motive for the murder was that she would tell authorities about the house fire that Larry and Vernon had been involved with. Although she and Larry were divorced it does appear that the fact that he planned to remarry upset her, probably more so because they still lived together. I cannot say whether she knew Larry had a serious girlfriend at the time or if she and Larry were still involved emotionally or sexually at the time. But, if they were then the idea that he was planning to marry someone else would have likely upset her greatly.
      Reality of it was however, that while investigating her disappearance someone seemed to have mentioned the fire or somehow investigators found out because it appears that not long after she disappeared both Larry and Vernon were charged in that case so her death did not prevent that story from coming out. Although Vernon was acquitted on the charges, which seem rather odd, he would have had no way of knowing that prior to being charged.

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