Waterloo, IA

She Vanished Without A Trace. Her Son Grew Up To Be A NFL Star Cornerback

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished

Wille Ann RuckerIowa Cold Cases

Willie Ann Rucker is the mother of a son, David (1), and two daughters, Kim (10) and Deena (9). Willie recently divorced and worked as a cocktail waitress in Waterloo, Iowa. Her sister babysat her children for Willie while she worked. Willie was having issues with a man she was dating. She contacted the Waterloo Police Department and told them the man was "scaring her," the Charley Project reports.

A few days later, on April 8, 1979, Willie called her sister and told her she would meet them at Willie's house on West Donald Street. 27-year-old Willie never arrived. Her family reported Willie missing to the Waterloo Police Department on April 12, 1979. Willie has never been seen or heard from again. Her family feared her ex-boyfriend harmed her, the Charley Project reports.

Her children were raised by their maternal grandparents. When David was in the ninth grade, he moved to Arkansas with his older sister, Kim Moss, who became his legal guardian. Kim had just completed her undergraduate degree at Henderson State. David rarely saw his father and grew up thinking his mother died in a car accident. The family tried to shield David from the truth. At a family gathering in 2000, he learned the truth from an uncle who slipped and let the story out.

“It was a shocker,” David told the NY Times. “I had gone all my life trying to figure out what actually happened. Every time I’d ask somebody, they’d be like: ‘Go ask him. Go ask her.’ They kept pushing it around.”

David made his way to the NFL when the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in 2000 in the fourth round. He later played as a star cornerback for the New York Jets.

Willie would be proud of her children.

“I always felt that not having a mom was a big factor in my life. I missed never having that person you can come home to and call Mom who will put her arms around you and tell you she loves you. “I think about that all the time,” David told the New York Times.

Willie Ann Rucker is 5'3" and weighed 110 pounds when she vanished.

If you have any information, please contact the Waterloo Police Department at 319-291-4340.

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