It has been 43 years since Terri Marie Howell of Owensboro Kentucky was murdered on July 25, 1980, but her family has never given up hope of finding out what happened to her. I have been following the Facebook page "Justice for Terri Howell - Owensboro Kentucky," created by Penny Tomes to discuss details regarding the case from the family's point of view.
They hope that by getting Terri's story back into the public eye, someone will come forward with new leads that could help solve the mystery of who committed this heinous crime. Advocates believe there are people in the community with information that has not been disclosed to investigators out of fear of coming forward.
Terri Marie Howell, 24 years old, was last seen leaving the Hasty Tasty early in the morning on June 25th, 1980. It was a local bar and restaurant on 1202 E. 4th Street. She left with a friend after calling someone, an unidentified male, to pick them up. Once the friend realized the man was driving in the opposite direction of their homes, she jumped from the car around Hwy 144 and Reid Rd and walked home. She did not notify the authorities until Terri was reported missing.
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Witnesses reported that the vehicle the ladies left in was a light blue 1960s model Ford passenger car with an automatic transmission and round lights. This composite sketch of the driver shows him as described by Terri's friend. A slender white man approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall with brown hair.
Later that day, a volunteer fireman saw an abandoned farmhouse ablaze on Lanham Road in Knottsville, KY. He ran to a nearby neighbor's house to call the fire department and when they were able to gain access, they found Terri's body. It was determined that she had passed before the fire started. The autopsy showed no puncture wounds of any kind, so she was assumed to have been strangled.
The Daviess County Sheriff's Department located some of Terri's belongings along Highway 1389 leading to Hancock County, but the period between the friend jumping from the car and the discovery of Terri's remains unaccounted for.
Terri's son, Kenny, was only four years old when his mother was taken from him. Terri's mother, Ava Merle Wortheam, searched for answers until she passed at age 87 in January 2021. Loved ones that remain continue to hold out hope that questions will be answered as to what happened to Terri and that the person or people responsible are revealed and brought to justice.
If you have any information whatsoever regarding the events that took place on June 25th, 1980, please contact the Daviess County Kentucky Sheriff’s Office, or email Justiceforterrihowell@gmail.com.