New Wrinkles Emerge in Case of Teen Missing Since 1980

Officer may be reinterviewed in the case of decades-old disappearance of Randy Sellers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2024 10:45 AM CST
New Wrinkles Emerge in Case of Teen Missing Since 1980
   (Getty / aijohn784)

It's been an unanswered question since 1980, writes Shaila Dewan in the New York Times: "What happened to Randy?" The reference is to Randy Sellers, a 17-year-old who attended the Kenton County Fair in Kentucky and hasn't been seen since, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. Police were summoned to drive him home from the fair after he got drunk, and two officers say they dropped him off about a half-mile from his house. "The young man was to turn 18 in two weeks, it was not yet 10pm, and I felt there was absolutely no danger in releasing him in a familiar neighborhood," wrote one of them, Jay Seifried, at the time.

The case has taken countless twists and turns over the years, with multiple theories and suspects, and even talk of an upside-down map foiling one search, per WCPO. Sellers' mother, Wanda Cotton, now 77, became a national advocate for missing children in general and for her son in particular. She has always harbored suspicions about the officers who drove her son from the fair that night, in part because key details of their stories seemed to change. Most notably: More than 20 years after the disappearance, the other officer, Robert Wehner, said in a police interview that Seifried had struck the teen in the face at one point. It was the first time either of the men said the teen had been hit, but the investigation soon withered.

It may be reviving, according to the Times. A Kentucky State Police official tells the newspaper that information about "possible involved individuals" has led to new interviews, adding that "plans are in process to re-interview" Seifried. Both he and Wehner are retired and in their 70s now. "There's nothing to look into, from my perspective," Seifried tells the newspaper. Says the teen's mother: "If I could find one bone that belonged to Randy, I could bury him with my family." (More missing person stories.)

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