When 17-year old Amy Billig disappeared in 1974, her absence created a miserable void in her family. Her mother Sue would never be the same. But Amy’s story is about so much more than pain and loss. It’s about the lasting qualities of hope in the shadow of an ongoing nightmare.
Sue Billig was left without her daughter, left to wonder and imagine all of the terrible things that may have happened to her. But even after being lied to, mislead, ignored, and manipulated, her faith in humanity held firm. She never gave up on Amy.
Sue Billig began investigating her daughter’s case immediately after Amy disappeared. She received tips from people who claimed that Amy had been abducted by members of motorcycle gangs that traveled through the Coconut Grove area of Florida in 1974. Some people claimed that Amy was alive and others claimed she had been killed. Sue was led on a chase throughout the U. S. and even into Great Britain over the years.
There were harassing, cruel phone calls. One caller tormented her for 21 years until 1995, when FBI agents were able to identify the man by tracking his cell phone. Before, he had always used a pay phone to harass Sue, making him impossible to find. The caller was identified as Henry Johnson Blair, who worked for the U.S. Customs Department. Blair claimed that he was an alcoholic and that he suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder which caused him to harass Amy’s mother. The addition of Blair into this case brought renewed attention on to a man Amy had described in her journal. Amy wrote that she was considering running away to South America with a man she called “Hank.” A photo developed from a roll of film in Amy’s camera showed a white van which was identical in color and model to a van Blair drove in 1974. Blair’s job with the Customs Department required him to relocate to South America around the time Amy had mentioned in her journal.
At the quiet end today, we are taking a look inside the hell that the families of missing persons endure by examining the case of Amy Billig and the struggles of her mother, Sue Billig.