Hope is not lost, investigator says
City girl disappeared in December 1997

By Augie Frost Modified: December 18, 2007 at 12:40 am •  Published: December 18, 2007
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Amber Barker was last seen 10 years ago riding her bike home.

It is still unknown what happened to the 10-year-old girl on Dec. 18, 1997.

Investigators suspect foul play, but no suspects have been named in her disappearance.

"There's a high probability that the child was a victim of a homicide,” said Charles Pickett, senior case manager with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "But, the case is still open and the investigation is ongoing.”

Amber was last seen pedaling home from a friend's home at 3041 NW 45 about 3 p.m. 10 years ago today. She was riding down Drexel Boulevard toward her home, 3119 NW 39 Terrace, when she is believed to have been abducted.

Her bicycle was found the next day about 10:30 a.m. in Denniston Park at NW 25 and Drexel. The undamaged bike lay against a tree.

A ring, a sweater, a sock and a tennis shoe belonging to Amber were found later along Drexel between NW 45 and NW 12.

Person of interest committed suicide
Daniel John Smith, 24, the estranged common-law husband of Amber's older sister, was never formally a suspect in the girl's disappearance but was a person of interest and had been questioned by police.

Witnesses told police Smith was at Amber's house just minutes before she called home to speak with her mother, Bonnie Barker. He may have overheard the conversation, in which Amber told her mother she was about to head home, according to court papers.

Smith was believed to have left after the phone call ended.

Smith was found hanging from a tree at Ray Trent Park in Del City four days after Amber disappeared.

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