Woman still seeking answers in sister’s 1985 Cape Coral disappearance

CAPE CORAL, Fla. Laurie Travis has been searching for answers in the disappearance of her sister for 32 years.

Rose Marie Gayhart was last seen in March 1985 at a restaurant where she worked, once known as Big Howie’s Hot Dogs on 1223 Southeast 47th Terrace in Cape Coral.

“It doesn’t get better, we just get through it,” Travis said.

Travis visited Southwest Florida this week for the first time since her sister vanished.

“She was really happy, she was really happy. She wanted me to come down and visit her, seemed like everything was good. Then within two weeks everything went sour,” Travis said.

The Cape Coral Police Department still considers the case an active investigation. They received a lead as early as this year, but the circumstances leading up to her disappearance remain unclear.

Gayhart moved to a trailer park in North Fort Myers on Dec. 25, 1984 from New York with her boyfriend and his mother.

“I think she was murdered, the neighbors were all saying when they did the investigation. Also, there was a lot of crashing and banging and fighting going on at the trailer park all the time,” Travis said.

Some witnesses believe Gayhart was pregnant and wanted to go home, but her boyfriend would not let her leave, according to the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers. Others believe the boyfriend’s mother wanted her out of the house.

“My mother got a letter from his mom, stated that she got the bus ticket for her [Gayhart] and everything, that she was hanging in bars and she was no good and this and that and she was sending her back to my mother and then she never came back,” Travis said.

WINK News attempted to reach out to Gayhart’s boyfriend, but none of the phone numbers were correct and the boyfriend’s mother has since passed away.

Despite how many years have gone by, Travis hopes to one day find her sister alive.

“I mean, there’s always that wondering, where are you? Where are you?”

Anyone with information is asked to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.

Reporter:Michelle Kingston
Writer:Katherine Viloria
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