Twenty years after Pine Bluff police first investigated the disappearance of then 18-year-old Cleashindra Hall, Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said the case is still “very active.”
“I guess because of the time it could be called a cold case, but there’s something that’s done on it nearly every week,” Hubanks said.
Hall was last seen on May 9, 1994 at a house at 5309 Faucett Road where she was doing clerical work for Larry Amos. She has not been seen since.
Hubanks said when he became chief on Jan. 1, 2013, one of the first things he did was sit down with the command staff and detectives to talk about the case and review the case file.
Afterward, the entire case file was sent to the FBI , which has been asked to develop a timeline, then to the Behavioral Analysis Unit to dissect the case and tell police here what they need to do next.
“We haven’t received that yet and it’s a lengthy process,” Hubanks said. “They won’t be rushed.
“We’re waiting on a list of things we need to do and things that we will do,” Hubanks said.
On March 29, 2012, police served search warrants at Amos’ residence on Faucett Road and at an adjacent house he owned, and removed four items of evidence that were carried out of the house in grocery bags. According to an inventory list, those items were removed from the west wall of the living room. At a press conference outside the house, now retired Lt. Bob Rawlinson said the items would be sent to the Arkansas Crime Laboratory for analysis.
No arrests were made and police declined to name Amos as “a person of interest.”
On May 8, 2012, it was revealed that the items of evidence had not been sent to the crime lab until that day, contradicting statements from then-Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones who said during a city council meeting May 7 that police were waiting for a report from the crime lab.
Davis-Jones was fired by Mayor Debe Hollingsworth Jan. 1, 2013 and replaced by Hubanks.
After an internal investigation, now retired Crime Scene Technician Cathy Ruhl, who collected the items from the house, was suspended for five days. Davis-Jones also suspended Rawlinson, who was day shift detective supervisor and led the search at the house. A civilian review panel overturned that suspension.
“That family (the Hall family) was lied to and that was horrible in my opinion,” Hubanks said. “That will not be repeated.
“Our goal and hope is to find some closure for the Hall family, whatever that means,” Hubanks said. “I can’t begin to walk in their shoes and can’t imagine the pain they’ve gone through.”
Based on information the police have received from the FBI so far, Hubanks said “there’s been some good police work on this case, but there’s been some bad police work as well.”
Asked if he anticipated any surprises when the department receives the FBI’s list, Hubanks said he did not.
“It will give us a renewed sense of purpose,” he said. “There are a couple of interviews we think need to be done but we’re going to wait and study the information the FBI sends us because we want to do it right.
He also said investigators are prepared to go anywhere and talk to anybody that can shed light on the case.