Police name dead felon as suspect in disappearance of Ann Gotlib



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 2:59 PM


(WHAS11)-Some stunning developments in case of a little girl who disappeared from a Louisville mall 25 years ago.

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Louisville Metro Police say they have new information about the disappearance of Ann Gotlib, the little girl who was last seen near Bashford Manor Mall 25 years ago.

This has been Louisville's most heart breaking mystery for 25 years. If you've lived in this area, you know the story of 12-year-old Ann Gotlib.

Now, according to WHAS11 sources, Louisville Metro Police believe they've tied a convicted Louisville felon to the little girl's disappearance.

Sources tell WHAS11 News that Louisville Metro Police have reinterviewed witnesses and now have enough to pin Ann Gotlib's disappearance on a convicted felon who died in 2002.

Police believe Gregory Oakley Jr. followed 12-year-old Ann Gotlib to the parking lot at Bashford Manor Mall and abducted her, leaving only her bicycle behind. Oakley died six years ago after serving a prison sentence at the Lagrange reformatory for burglary, rape and being a persistent felon.

June 1, 2008 marked the 25th anniversary of the little girl's disappearance with Gotlib's parents and friends still hoping for a break in the case.

According to our sources, Oakley was one of the potential suspects police interviewed back in 1983 because he was connected to attacks on other women in the area around the time of Gotlib's disappearance. In fact, he failed a polygraph test given to him as part of the investigation. As searches for Gotlib droned on, neither Oakley nor anyone else was ever charged and Gotlib's body was never found.

Police reinterviewed a former prison cellmate of Oakley's, who said that Oakley admitted to murdering Gotlib by drug overdose of Talwin. Police also interviewed a former girlfriend and roommate of Oakley's, who pinned the murder on him.

Oakley was a veternarian who lived near Bashford Manor Mall in 1983. He had a history of attacking young girls.

Ann Gotlib's father talked to the Commonwealth Attorney Dave Stengel Friday morning, looking for closure in this murder mystery.

After 25 years, the meeting was over in less than an hour. Mr. Gotlib avoided cameras and media Friday, and Stengel didn't have much to say either.

We do know Gotlib asked for an indictment against the suspect Gregory Oakley.The Gotlibs need closure, but the Commonwealth Attorney says it may be difficult to indict a dead man.

LMPD is keeping the case open, but as for now, the Commonwealth's Attorney says he will not pursue an indictment on Oakley because of his death.