OSI seeks new leads in 1983 missing person’s cold case

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading
  • OSI Public Affairs

Sergeant Karen Lee Valdez-Blackburn, a vehicle mechanic with the 90th Transportation Squadron, was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, when she was reported missing in Nov. 1983. 

At that time, she was 25 years old, stood just over five-feet-tall with a small build and weighed roughly 118 pounds. Valdez-Blackburn, a white female with blue eyes and brown hair, would be 66 years old today. She has ties to family in Florida. 

The vehicle mechanic was last seen Nov. 20, 1983, loading her yellow Dodge Ram truck (Colorado license plate no. 4250JX) and was believed to be heading to Denver, Colorado, to visit a friend. 

However, she never arrived and subsequent checks revealed no further clues about her whereabouts. She was initially classified as a deserter a month following her disappearance and the case saw little progress. 

The years turned into decades and the case grew colder, buried under the weight of newer, more pressing issues. However, OSI’s Cold Case team has never given up on the investigation into her disappearance. 

“With modern technologies and new tips from the public, OSI is more committed than ever to solving the case of Sgt. Valdez-Blackburn's disappearance and bringing peace to her family and loved ones,” said Special Agent Shelley Pillman, OSI Cold Case Team action officer. 

The team has sifted through old evidence while also seeking new leads that could shed light on the circumstances surrounding Valdez-Blackburn's last known actions. 

The case's reclassification from a deserter to a missing person reflects the current understanding that there is not enough evidence to confirm whether her disappearance was voluntary or involuntary. 

“OSI’s cold case team is reaching out to the community and asking anyone who might know something, no matter how small, to help us piece together what happened to Sgt. Valdez-Blackburn in 1983,” Pillman said. “Your information could be the key that solves this decades-long mystery."

If you have information regarding this missing person, please contact OSI directly at 877-246-1453 or visit https://www.p3tips.com/TipForm.aspx?ID=1111p