A teenager and her stepmother went missing eight years ago. One resurfaced, but the other did not — and now there may be new evidence.
Heather Woodward went missing on June 17, 2010. Her stepmother, Bonnie Woodward, reported the then-17-year-old missing, and a search commenced in Madison and Jersey counties surrounding their hometown of Alton.
Then Bonnie Woodward went missing on June 25. She has not been seen since.
Bonnie’s disappearance has been chronicled on various missing-person and unsolved-mystery websites, but there have been no public developments in the case until now. The Jersey County and Madison County state’s attorneys’ offices and local law enforcement will have a press conference Thursday announcing what they described as "new developments" in the case.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Heather Woodward reappeared July 3, 2010, walking into the East Alton Library and stating that she had heard police were looking for her, according to coverage by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She had run away from home, according to news reports.
But Bonnie Woodward remained missing. Police said at the time that there was no known connection between the two disappearances, and they were considered coincidental, according to the Alton Telegraph.
Bonnie Woodward was a longtime employee of the Eunice Smith Nursing Home and was last seen by coworkers talking to a man in the parking lot. Her car was left on the lot with the windows down, and her cellphone and credit cards had not been used.
Months later, fingerprints on the car were found to match those of Roger Carroll, and police searched his property in Jersey County. But nothing was found — at least nothing that was released to the media at the time.
Carroll was initially charged with harboring a runaway; according to multiple news reports, Heather had been staying with him when she ran away. His wife and another person were also charged in connection with Heather Woodward’s disappearance. Later Carroll was charged with obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
The Madison County jailers said Wednesday evening that Carroll was being held there without bail on a charge of “failure to comply with bond.” Carroll’s original charge of obstruction of justice in 2010 has never been resolved; Madison County court records show it has received approximately 45 continuances over eight years, with the most recent being in February. The lesser misdemeanor of harboring a runaway was consolidated with the obstruction charge in 2017.
In Jersey County, Carroll faces charges of domestic battery with bodily harm and unlawful restraint. The felony charges are pending as he remains in Madison County's custody.
Prosecutors filed in March to revoke Carroll's bail, and he is due to appear in court on May 14. The specific details of the new evidence were not released by law enforcement. "Some recent developments have allowed us to begin moving this investigation forward again," Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said, but could not give any specifics.
The press conference to announce the new developments was scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.