Patti Adkins: Mystery of missing mom who vanished after leaving work remains unsolved

Photo of Patricia “Patti” Adkins
Patricia “Patti” Adkins went missing in 2001. Pic credit: Family photo

Patricia “Patti” Adkins was a 29-year-old single mother of a young daughter when she went missing after leaving her job in Marysville, Ohio, more than 20 years ago.

Adkins was a Harding High School graduate who grew up in Marion, where she worked at Sears and J.G. Clark.

She then moved to a house in the 200 block of Sorenson Drive in Marysville, where she also started working the second shift as an assembly-line supervisor at the Honda Marysville Auto Plant.

It was there that she began seeing a man from Hardin County, but he worked in a different department at the plant.

Her family knew about her relationship with him, but they were concerned because he was married. But Adkins was certain that he was going to divorce his wife and be with her.

Every year for the fourth of July holiday, the factory shuts down for a week. That’s when Adksin decided that she and her boyfriend would go on vacation.

By that time, they had been seeing each other for a year.

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Adkins told her family and friends that they were going to a remote area in Canada where she wouldn’t have access to a phone, but her neighbors claimed that they were told she was going to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Wherever Adkins decided to head off to, she left and never returned, which led police officials to suspect foul play in her disappearance.

Patti Adkins went missing after her shift ended

On June 29, 2001, Adkins got a ride to work from a coworker. She left her car, a Honda Accord, in her garage because she didn’t want to leave it at her job while she was on vacation.

The plan was for her and her boyfriend to start their vacation after their shift ended. She had already arranged for her pets to be boarded, and her 7-year-old daughter was going to stay with her sister, Marcia Pitts, in Marion.

Her daughter’s father was going to help take care of her during that week as well.

Nineteen seconds after midnight, Adkins ended her shift, and she clocked out. She then hopped in the bed of her boyfriend’s truck, a vehicle he wouldn’t normally take to work.

She hid under the tonneau cover, which he had purchased three days prior because he didn’t want their coworkers or friends to see them together.

It was also reported that he told Adkins not to bring any belongings because he would buy everything for her when they got to their destination.

She also left behind bank cards and identification.

For the entire week, Adkins didn’t contact with her family, which is what they expected because they were told that there wouldn’t be any cell service.

But when July 8 arrived and Adksin wasn’t there to pick up her daughter, Pitts began to worry. She called Adkins’ boyfriend and asked him about her whereabouts, but he acted as if he didn’t know what she was talking about.

He stated that he never went on vacation with Adkins and that the two of them weren’t in a relationship—they were just colleagues.

Pitts eventually contacted the Marion Police Department and reported Adkins missing, which prompted a search by law enforcement agencies in Hardin, Union, and Logan counties.

Marion police transferred the case over to the Union County authorities because that’s where Adkins was living at the time.

Union County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jeff Stiers said, “We were definitely suspicious right from the beginning, especially when we heard she had a small daughter. Not too many moms are going to leave their child.”

Adkins was reportedly close to her daughter and wouldn’t have abandoned her.

Detectives searched the home and truck of Patti Adkins’ boyfriend in Ohio

Detectives learned through an investigation that Adkins never went to Canada or Virginia. When they located Adkins’ boyfriend and interviewed him at his home, he told them that he wasn’t romantically involved with her.

He also stated that he didn’t have anything to do with Adkins’ disappearance.

“There was not a search warrant. He gave us permission to search the property,” Lt. Stiers said. “There were a couple of items found there at the house that circumstantially validated the story we were getting [from other people] about their relationship.”

Lt. Stiers stated that they found a t-shirt, which was given to him as a gift from Adkins, as well as a phone and a letter written by Adkins.

In the letter, she talked about their relationship and how much she wanted to be with him,” said the lieutenant.

Adkins also mentioned that she had given her boyfriend $90,000, which was confirmed by an employee at the bank.

She was giving him money so that “he could buy out his portion of his side of the business so that when he got divorced, his wife could not touch it and profit in any way.”

When they searched his truck, they found a spot of blood on the tonneau cover, but it didn’t belong to Adkins. There was no evidence that she had ever been inside the truck, according to the police.

Patti Adkins’ relatives doesn’t believe she’ll return home alive

Assistant Chief Glenn Nicol stated that “someone’s on the case 24 almost 24 hours a day. This case is our main priority right now.”

Nicol added that they continued searching for Adkins until all leads had been exhausted. But despite their efforts, they have yet to find out what happened to Adkins on the day she disappeared.

In a 2016 interview, Adkins’ sister stated that she doesn’t “have hope” that her sister’s alive.” She added, “I knew when she didn’t return that she was not alive, but I have hope that justice will happen and that someone will be held accountable for her death.”

That same year, Adkins’ daughter gave an interview where she spoke about what it was like growing up with her mother. She said it was “challenging”, especially on Mother’s Day and birthdays.

She went on to say that she believed that her mother would have been proud of the woman she became. At the time of the interview, she was attending graduate school at Kent State University.

Reward money is offered in Patti Adkins disappearance

In April 2022, it was announced that the Concerned Citizens for Patti had offered a reward of $25,000 for information that would lead to her location and recovery.

The award was initially $5,000.

Adkins’ daughter stated that she hopes someone will come forward with information because the family wants “closure.”

“I hope someone will let us know what happened,” she added.

Patti Adkins update: Missing Ohio mom legally declared dead

The circumstances leading up to Adkins’ disappearance are still unknown, but detectives believe she was murdered.

Lt Stiers said her boyfriend is the primary suspect and that they “follow up on every lead and every person that’s mentioned to us as much as we can. But he is the primary suspect.”

Although her body has never been found, the courts have declared Adkins dead.

Anyone with information regarding the Adkins’ disappearance is encouraged to contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office at (937) 645-4110 or the Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at (614) 461-TIPS.

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