West Tenn. child missing 24 years, case open

UNION CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- As the disappearance of Marlena Childress from her Union City home reaches its 25th anniversary, the lead investigator says he thinks about her every day.

Marlena was three years old when she disappeared on April 16, 1987. A massive search turned up no trace of her. Then, her mother told police she accidentally killed Marlena and put her body in the Obion River -- a confession she soon recanted.

Union City Police Lt. Andy Gibson told KYTN radio investigative techniques have advanced and DNA samples from the child have been put into a national database.

The girl's mother, Pam Bailey, was later convicted in Graves County, Ky., of stabbing her 12-year-old son after taking him to a rural cemetery. The boy got away and survived the attack.

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