Mason County detectives re-investigating 1998 case of missing Belfair mother, Deborah Simmons

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MASON COUNTY — It’s been 18 years since a mother vanished from her home in Belfair.

Mason county detectives are now re-investigating Deborah Simmons’ disappearance and her family is hoping to finally get the answers they deserve.

“She was the life of the party, she was always fun and feisty. One thing I always loved about her is that she can always make anyone feel better,” Ginny Ray recalls about her mother.

She is the only daughter of Deborah Simmons. She continues, “My daughter was born and she would always want to see her and dance with her and loved music so she always had the radio on dancing around.”

But on April 30th, 1998, Ginny failed to reach her 43 year old mom by phone and went to her house to check on her. “When I got there,” Ray says, “I could tell that something wasn’t right. Her clothes were piled in the driveway, it appeared she had gotten in a fight and some of the furniture was knocked over in the house.”

Ginny called the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Jeff Rhoades has inherited the case and says, “A deputy responded to the scene, found the house to be unsecured. The door was open. There were signs of a possible struggle inside the house. A chair had been tipped over, some other items in the house had been tipped over.”

Ray remembers that difficult time very well saying, “At first there was hope, you know. She’s just staying with someone. She was Schizophrenic and she would get fearful or have a delusion and she would go and stay in a hotel for a night and the come home and sort of reset herself.”

But she didn’t come home, and a couple days later, police found her car behind the Bremerton Airport. It was stuck in the mud with the keys in the ignition near what is now Bremerton Raceway.

Detective Rhoades says, “A search and rescue mission was launched. Kitsap County brought in searchers and checked the area, but nothing was ever located.”

Six years went by without a trace of Deborah and then police decided to look into the case again. “In 2004, detectives from our agency put some more work into it. They had gotten some more tips from people coming forward, saying specifically that this was a homicide and Ms. Simmons was murdered, and there were rumors that her body was dumped in a remote area,” Rhoades adds.

But nothing has turned up so far. Detectives Rhoades believes he is investigating a homicide and wants anyone with information to come forward. “Any new information or even old information, if somebody thinks we know something that we may have heard before, if they would come forward again and provide us with something, that would be great,” Rhoades says.

And Ginny has a message for her killer, “I just feel like someone thought she wasn’t valuable, you know she’s just a mentally ill lady. People in town did know her as the girl that would talk to herself. But she was valuable and it hurts that she’s gone.”

If you know anything about the death or disappearance of Deborah Simmons, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Your information could lead to up to a $1,000 cash reward and you are guaranteed to remain anonymous.

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