Kathy Hobbs lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a child, she often spoke of premonitions that she would not live to be sixteen, which her family believed was at least partly because of the death of a friend in middle school who died of a heart condition, as well as the divorce of her parents when she was eight. As her 16th birthday approached, Kathy became more and more depressed and withdrawn, even refusing to leave the house.
Things changed for Kathy once she turned 16, however. Kathy realised that her premonitions had been incorrect - she had not died before she turned 16 - and with that her mood lifted and she began to make plans for the future. Kathy even began to plan out a future career as a beautician, and hoped to one day open a hair salon called "Kat's Cuts".
On July 23, 1987, Kathy had been reading in her room. At 11pm, she told her mother, Vivian, that she was going out to a nearby supermarket to buy another book. Vivian assumed that Kathy would walk to the supermarket with friends; however, she went alone.
Vivian says that she woke at 3am that night, feeling at first that she had been hit over the head, before feeling what she described as a "peaceful" feeling. It was not until the morning, however, that she realised that Kathy had never made it back from the supermarket. The police were called, and a search for the teenager began. An employee at the supermarket told police that he had sold Kathy a book at 11:17pm, and that everything had seemed fine then. It looked increasingly likely that whatever had happened to Kathy, it had happened after she left the supermarket and was on her way back home.
Sadly, nine days later, a geologist looking for rock crystals in a field near Lake Mead (approximately an hour's drive from Las Vegas) found Kathy's body. The teenager had been sexually assaulted and killed by "repeated blows to the head". Close to her body were two bloodstained rocks and tire prints that showed that a vehicle had pulled in, turned around, and left.
Kathy Hobbs had, tragically, been murdered just three months after she turned 16 - an age she herself had believed she would never reach. After her death, her family found that Kathy had written letters to each member of her family, dated just one month before her 16th birthday. In the letters, Kathy told her family how much she loved them and that she hoped they would live happy lives and never forget her.
On October 24, 1987, exactly three months after Kathy's abduction and murder, an anonymous caller left a message on the answering machine of the Las Vegas Police Department. This caller claimed to have witnessed two men abducting Kathy:
He grabbed this girl in front of the store on Desert Inn and Maryland. This was a few months ago. I've been out of town for a few months and I wrote this down because she was screaming. I pulled over in the car. She was [a] very young girl, wearing a white jacket and pink pants. And the guy's name he hollered to him, pushed her in the car, his name was Robbie.
This caller also gave a license plate number for the abductors' car; however, when the police checked this number in the database, they found that it did not exist. Despite the police's appeals, including on the Unsolved Mysteries TV show in 1989 (S1 E16), this anonymous caller never called back or was officially identified.
However, Kathy's case has since been closed. On March 22, 1988, a man named Michael Lee Lockhart was arrested after a high-speed chase that ended when Lockhart crashed his car. Lockhart had shot a police officer, Paul Hulsey Jr, to death when Hulsey had tried to arrest him for driving a stolen Chevrolet Corvette. Lockhart was subsequently convicted of Hulsey's murder, as well as the murder of 16-year-old Windy Gallagher in Griffith, Indiana in 1987, and 14-year-old Jennifer Colhouer in Land O'Lakes, Florida, in 1988. Lockhart was given the death penalty for each of these crimes and was executed by lethal injection on December 9, 1997.
Lockhart was considered to be the prime suspect in the murder of Kathy Hobbs because of blue fibres found at the crime scene that matched a car that Lockhart had been driving at the time, as well as credit card receipts that placed him in Las Vegas at the time Kathy was murdered. It was also believed that Lockhart was the anonymous caller who left the message for the police, in an attempt to throw them off the trail. However, as Lockhart was already facing the death penalty for his other crimes, Nevada chose not to pursue prosecution.
Whether Kathy Hobbs truly had a premonition of her death or not, the tragedy of her murder, just three months after she believed she could finally start to live her life, cannot be overstated. However, we can hope that her family has had some degree of closure, both in the letters she left behind and in the identification of Michal Lee Lockhart as her probable killer.
Katherine Hobbs (Unsolved Mysteries)
Kathy Hobbs (Unsolved Mysteries Wiki)
Michael Lee Lockhart (Wikipedia)
Lockhart v State (Justia)
Michael Lee Lockhart #430 (Clark Prosecutor)