Andrea Knabel was a devoted mother of two boys from Louisville, Kentucky, when, one night in 2019, she vanished without a trace.
The 37-year-old mom had argued with family members on the night she disappeared, which led to her walking through town late at night. Her family suspects that she may have accepted a lift from someone or reached out for help from someone who was dangerous.
Andrea mysteriously vanished in the early hours of August 13, 2019, and the investigators found zero evidence to indicate what happened to her. Andrea’s bank accounts have not been accessed since, but neither have any remains been recovered.
Andrea’s family have stated that she was going through a rough patch at the time. She had recently lost her job, and her car had been totaled in a hit-and-run accident. Andrea’s father, Mike Knabel, and her sister Erin Knabel expressed concern that she was vulnerable and that it was possible someone could have taken advantage of her.
Andrea had been living at her mother’s house on Louisville’s Chickadee Road with her younger sister, Sarah Knabel, and Sarah’s partner, Ethan Bates. Ethan worked for a construction company, and the house was being renovated at the time.
Their mother had been staying elsewhere during the renovation, and Andrea’s two young boys were staying with their respective fathers, who both had joint custody.
Andrea Knabel disappeared from a Louisville, Ky, street
On the evening of August 12, Andrea had been at a nearby MacDonalds with Ethan and a nephew before Ethan drove her to a hospital. She was suffering from some kind of infection to an injury on her face.
Andrea later took a Lyft back to the house, where it’s thought an argument may have occurred with Sarah and Ethan. Shortly after midnight, on August 13, she then walked a little over a mile to her other sister’s home on Fincastle Road.
She asked her sister, Erin, if she could stay with her for the night. Unfortunately, Erin told her she couldn’t stay; the pair argued, and Andrea eventually left, once again on foot.
Erin would later speak about her great regret over this interaction, as it would be the last time she ever saw her older sister. Erin admitted that her sister had been crying when she left, and she now regretted not staying up with her.
Where is Andrea Knabel?
Shortly after 1: 30 am, Andrea made the walk back to her mother’s house on Chickadee Road. Investigators believe she reached the house, but it is unclear if there was a further argument with Ethan and Sarah. It is thought that she may have found the house locked when she arrived.
The cops believe that Andrea’s cellphone was in the vicinity of the house at about 6:30 a.m., but they have no idea if Andrea was there at the same time or if she had left and returned again.
The following day, Andrea’s mom sent a group text to the family asking if anyone had spoken to Andrea. The answer was no. Erin spoke to her father, Mike, about what had happened, and they began to grow concerned.
Erin began contacting Andrea’s friends, hoping that she was staying with one of them. One by one, they all said no, leading the family to contact the LMPD and initiate a search.
Despite the best efforts of the Louisville police, K-9 units, private investigators, and her friends and family, Andrea has now been missing for three and a half years.
Were Sarah Knabel and Ethan Bates involved in Andrea Bates disappearance?
For perhaps obvious reasons, Ethan Bates has come under a little suspicion, and there have even been rumors that he was having an affair with Andrea.
The cops were suspicious that Andrea’s cellphone had pinged at the Chickadee Road property on the morning of August 13. The LMPD obtained a search warrant and searched the property, but they didn’t find the cellphone.
The police interviewed Ethan for several hours and cleared him of any wrongdoing. Private investigator Tracy Leonard, who compiled the timeline before Andrea’s disappearance, also told the Courier Journal, “We have no evidence that Ethan and Sarah had any wrongdoing in this at all.”
Erin and Mike Knabel have been the most visible and appear to be the most active in the research for Andrea. They have set up a Facebook page, Finding Andrea, and a GoFundMe page; they have also appeared in multiple interviews and TV shows.
By contrast, Sarah and Ethan have kept a low profile, and there are even rumors that they did not assist in the search or hand out fliers. However, these allegations are entirely unsubstantiated.
Multiple theories in the Andrea Knabel case but no clues
Some suspicion has been directed at the Lyft driver who took Andrea home from the hospital. The driver did little to dissuade this by refusing to be interviewed by investigators.
However, Leonard has said that she has no reason to believe the driver is guilty of anything but that they do need to be interviewed.
There was also a theory that another Lyft driver was in the area at the time of Andrea’s disappearance, but this was later found to be false.
In another odd occurrence several months after the disappearance, Erin and Mike Knabel noticed a gold Chevy Impala that appeared to be “stalking” Erin’s home on Fincastle Road. The car drove past the house several times before stopping outside.
Mike and Erin said that the two occupants eyeballed the house for some time. They were described as a man and a woman, who were both white and skinny.
At the time, detectives were swabbing Mike and Erin for DNA, and while they were unconcerned about the vehicle, they did later run a check on the license plate. The results identified the car as stolen. Mike recounted how they often had gawkers but that this incident had felt different and more serious.
Another theory revolves around Andrea’s involvement with a group called Missing In America. Ironically, this group specialized in searching for missing people.
Was Andrea Knabel looking for Austin Gamez?
Austin Gamez was a 27-year-old resident of Louisville who went missing on December 25, 2017.
Gamez had been hanging out with his friend Teressa McCoy when he disappeared. McCoy was brutally murdered, and it is assumed that Gamez was too, but unlike McCoy, his remains have not been located.
Some people have speculated that Andrea, through her work with Missing in America, might have been searching for Gamez, and she may have found some information that caused her to be silenced by the perpetrator.
However, Erin has already dismissed this theory, tweeting in May 2022 that there was no evidence that her sister had been looking for Gamez.
Andrea Knabel updates: What’s the latest we know?
There have been precious few concrete updates about what happened to Andrea, but in January 2023, the Kentucky State Police found human remains in a field in Boyle County, approximately 80 miles southeast of Louisville.
The police stated that the remains were female and that they looked to have been deceased for about three and a half years. Erin’s Facebook page also commented that the dental records appeared similar to Andrea’s.
However, on January 31, 2023, the police announced the results of an autopsy concluding the remains were not Andrea. It was the body of 49-year-old Anna Cummins of Perryville, Ky. The police are still investigating that case.
Finding Andrea documentary aired on Investigation Discovery
Andrea’s case has now gained national attention and has become the subject of numerous articles and TV shows. Erin and Mike have appeared on CBS This Morning and the talk show Dr. Phil, among others, to raise awareness of Andrea’s disappearance.
On New Year’s Day 2022, Investigation Discovery broadcast a documentary on the case called Finding Andrea.
Unfortunately, we still have no clues about what happened to Andrea.
Andrea was 5 feet 7 inches and weighed about 180 pounds when she disappeared. She had brown hair with blonde highlights and hazel eyes, and she was wearing a tank top, shorts, and tennis shoes.
If any members of the public have any information, they are asked to contact the Louisville P.D. at 502-574-LMPD (5673) or 502-574-7120. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can dial 855-746-0846.