Love is very powerful and we all hope that when we find that special person, we will become the best possible version of ourselves that we can be. But sometimes, that passion we once felt can turn into jealousy & paranoia, which can quickly turn toxic and difficult to escape from. Trigger warning, this episode contains discussion surrounding domestic violence as we uncover the unsolved disappearance of Sandra Kay Baker.
If you have information pertaining to Sandra's case, please contact Pennsylvania State Police on 724-662-4200 or 724-662-6162
Instagram - uncovertruecrimepod
Twitter - @Uncover_pod
All picture and sources can be found at uncovertruecrime.blogspot.com
Case Suggestion form - https://forms.gle/mUDbNYeoTZ5kGfaq7
Music by CO.AG - Dark Rage & The Rake
Sandra Kay Baker, known as Sandy to her friends and family, was born on the 21st of June 1953. She stood at 5 foot 4 inches tall, weighed 112 lbs, had brown eyes and short blonde hair with reddish-coloured highlights. In 1999, her best friend Linda Henry introduced her to a man called William Crea and true to form, Sandy fell for him very quickly. Linda knew that when Sandy fell in love, she fell hard, evident by the fact that she had been married six times before. Sandy's two children Shedara and Shawn were all grown up and no longer dependant on her so shortly after meeting William, she moved over 1,000 miles away from her home in Florida to Delaware Township in Pennsylvania to start a new life with him. They soon got engaged and should have been excited to begin their new life together but there was problems bubbling below the surface and everything started to unravel when Sandra went missing, never to be seen again.
When Sandra was reported missing, her fiance William told police that he had last seen her sometime between 8.30am-9am on the 25th of May 2000 at the Sheetz Convenience Store on PA Route 18, near Transfer, Pennsylvania. It was unknown where William went after 9am but CCTV shows that Sandy left the store alone in her 1998 blue Honda Accord and a witness saw her driving south towards Sharon, PA although the time of this sighting is unknown. At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a white tank top worn under a blue denim shirt, Levi's jeans, brown boots and a white gold engagement ring. She had both of her ears pierced and was wearing four earrings which had small pink stones imbedded in them. Although concerning, at this point it was plausible that she got cold feet about the wedding and possibly needed time to clear her head. That was until William told police about a call he had received from Sandy at about 1pm that same day. He claimed that Sandy had told him she was in danger and wasn't able to return home, but that she would call him in a few days. She never elaborated more and a second phone call never came. Despite this alarming detail, police didn't put out any alerts for her car, something that lead detective Robert Lewis would later come to regret. I am unaware what efforts were made to try to locate Sandy or how her case was treated at the time she disappeared but five years later, William Crea would be publicly named as a suspect.
It turns out that a year before he met Sandy, William was convicted of violating a protective order against his ex-wife Deborah. Deborah initially played down the events of that night but would eventually tell police that he had held her at gunpoint and beat her. Like many domestic violence victims, she was too afraid of William to tell police what really happened. William's best friend and private investigator Clifford Aley was also there that night and was with him when William drove to Deborah's house but it is not known if he had any involvement in the incident beyond that.
At some point during his relationship with Sandy, William hired Clifford to do a background check on Sandy for unknown reasons. Two weeks before Sandy disappeared, Clifford told William that Sandy was in a lot of debt and that she was still married to her sixth husband, who was living in Florida. It is unclear whether or not Sandy was filing for a divorce or whether they were legally separated but this information would have understandably upset him. This seemed to police to be a strong motive to harm her so they questioned Clifford Aley, who denied everything including knowing that the two were engaged. He was soon arrested for hindering prosecution and when police made the arrest warrant public, they also revealed William as a suspect.
Clifford admitted to police that he had lied to them. He claimed William confessed to strangling Sandy and hiding her body. Clifford claimed he had no knowledge as to where her body was and that he didn't come forward with this information sooner as William had threatened to harm his children. Clifford also said that William had asked him to call a collections company to get her car towed, knowing that she was behind on her payments. Her car was parked in the Shenango Valley Mall, 9 miles south of where she was last seen. What could have been a vital piece of evidence in the investigation wouldn't be discovered by police until 4 years later in a salvage yard, completely destroyed. Knowing that Clifford Aley was their own only hope at bringing William to justice, the police offered him a deal. If he passed a polygraph test and proved that he was telling the truth about William's confession and not having an active role in the murder himself, the case against him would be dropped. He agreed to the plea bargain but he failed the lie detector so the deal was withdrawn. Did he lie about the confession or his part in the murder? That is still unknown but he was convicted of three felony counts of hindering prosecution and Judge Thomas Dobson showed him no mercy. He agreed with the prosecution that Clifford had been "instrumental in the disposal of Baker's car". The judge was also sceptical on Clifford's reasoning for not telling the police about William's confession. He thought that if William had threatened his children, Clifford would have simply chosen to remain silent, which would have been within his rights but instead he opted to misled police. Judge Dobson ultimately determined that Sandy's killer would possibly never face justice due to Clifford's actions and sentenced him to 18-48 months in jail. This was a heavy sentence, given that the minimum he could have gave him was three months probation. It is unknown how much of the sentence Clifford ultimately served but he has since refused to co-operate with police and they are no closer to finding Sandy.
Due to lack of evidence and Clifford's refusal to assist police further, William Crea was never arrested in relation to Sandy's disappearance. He killed himself on the 28th of November 2011 and was receiving hospice care for cancer at the time of his death, possibly taking the truth about Sandy's whereabouts with him. Sandy was declared legally dead in 2008 so her children could settle her estate. Linda Henry, Sandy's best friend, promises to never give up on finding her body and seeing justice done. Sadly, criminal justice is unlikely in this case but that doesn't mean we should give up on finding her so she can be laid at rest after 18 years.
Episode 51: The Unsolved Murder of the Woodlawn Jane DoeOne of the worst injustices that occurs far too often is when a life is cruelly
Episode 50: The Unsolved Disappearance of Allan Bryant Jr
Episode 49: The Bakersfield ThreeI'm sure at one time or another, we have all tried to run away from our problems
Episode 48: The Unsolved Disappearance of Cleashindra HallFinishing high school is the ending of one chapter of one's life and the start o