In the spring of 2016, Holly Alcott White was preparing to move from Taos, New Mexico to Albuquerque to join her husband, who had just started a new career there.
But Holly never got a chance to start a new chapter in her life.
Just three months into her 50th birthday, Holly disappeared and has not been seen or heard since. This May marks the end of five years, and her friends and family are still trying to figure out what happened to her.
Holly Alcott White
Holly Alcott White
"I just want to find Holly," her best friend Jill Gustafson Shingledecker told Dateline. "I can't believe I've been talking to my best friend for five years."
Jill and Holly met when they were young and became close friends at the same time, living that way by traveling extensively abroad, college, marriage and children. Jill even named her daughter Holly after her best friend.
"We were not separated," Jill said. “We shared a lot of 'first time' - like putting on makeup, talking about our first kiss with a boy. We told each other everything. ”
But there are things Jill doesn't know about Holly, and she wouldn't find out until her friend went missing in 2016.
At the time, Holly lived in Taos, New Mexico, and had been the director of the Taos Center for the Arts for the past 22 years. But she was planning to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her husband Jeff White would then start a new job. Holly is back with a new job and will be saying goodbye to her current job at a farewell party to be held for her on Friday. But he did not come to the party.
Jill, who worked to find out what was happening to Holly from the beginning, told Dateline that her friend was returning from work on Thursday, May 5, 2016. They spoke on the phone and while Holly seemed stressed about the upcoming movement and changes in her life, she was still her happy person.
Holly's husband Jeff told Dateline that he also spoke to her that night and admitted that nothing seemed to be going wrong during the conversation. The couple had been together for 27 years, and had been married for 20 years. He was in Albuquerque that night, but had planned to return to Taos on Friday for his trip to the destination.
"Then I last spoke to him," Jeff told Dateline. “Then he left. It shocked everyone. ”
No one ever heard of Holly after 9:20 p.m. that night.
The next morning, May 6, 2016, Holly was scheduled to meet her friend, Cynthia, on their daily morning walk, something they had been doing for years. Holly always brought her favorite dog, Rosie.
But when she could not come, Cynthia frantically went to her house. Holly's friend Jill, who lived in Texas at the time, told Dateline that Cynthia lived in Holly's house so she had the keys and let them in. Holly's wallet and cell phone were in the kitchen and her dog, Rosie, was there, waiting to leave.
"Nothing made sense," Jill said. “Holly always had her wallet with her. And he will never leave his dog. That dog, Rosie, was like her baby. ”
The only thing that seemed to be missing from Holly's house was his blue Ford Escape. It was found later that day parked at Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. His keys were in the trunk of the car cup.
According to New Mexico State police, a search operation was launched by the Taos Police Department and New Mexico State police. With the help of a drowning team and the guides of a river raft, authorities searched 12 miles of Río Grande Gorge. There was no sign of Holly's body, but one black Sketchers shoe was found floating in the river.
Holly's friend Jill told Dateline that the shoe belonged to Holly, but she believed her best friend did not jump off the bridge and that anyone who injured Holly threw the shoe into the water to confuse police.
The Río Grande Gorge Bridge has one of the highest suicide rates in any country, according to previous reports. But Holly's family, friends, and her husband Jeff, kept it for all the years she wouldn't commit suicide, and she wouldn't do that without telling anyone or leaving a note.
"She was not such a person," Jeff told Dateline. “I just know he wouldn't do such a thing. Someone did this to him. ”
Jeff told Dateline that they had been together for 27 years, had been married for 20 years, and described their marriage as a happy one. He confirmed that there were some revelations about Holly after her disappearance, but that does not change the fact that she loved him and wanted the best for him.
Jill explained to Dateline that after Holly's disappearance, a search of her computer and her phone revealed that her best friend had kept many secrets, including bills, sexual addiction and news and men whose details were stored in a folder on her computer.
The information was provided to New Mexico State Police for investigation, but investigators did not provide details of where the information led.
Holly's husband, who lives in Albuquerque and takes care of his father, told Dateline any secrets Holly had, he doesn't think she'll just disappear, and he believes there's a reckless killer in Taos.
"He did not deserve to die," he added. “And if anyone has done something wrong, his family deserves to be returned. My heart aches for them. They should have a closure. I want to close. ”
Jeff told Dateline that he had been questioned about his wife's disappearance and had taken a polygraph test, which he passed. Police do not consider Jeff as a suspect in this case and will not say whether there are any suspects at this time.