COVER- Little girl lost: Remembering Katie Worsky after 25 years

Polly Klaas. Samantha Runnion. Jessica Lunsford. Their names and faces are familiar– exhaustive national news coverage of their abduction and death has burned them into the national consciousness. 

The contrast between photos of their shining eyes, wide grins, and dimpled cheeks and the incessantly replayed videos of their anguished parents begging futilely for their children's safe return has made the missing child– especially a missing girl– almost a symbol of society's dark side in the last decade. But before Amber Alerts and 24-hour cable news cycles etched the faces of the lost children and the plight of their parents in the national psyche, a little Charlottesville girl went on a sleep-over and never came home.

At a time when children rode their bikes alone and residents left their doors unlocked, the disappearance of Katie Worsky on July 12, 1982 rocked this sleepy college town and launched an investigation that seasoned law enforcement officers called "once in a lifetime" for its poignancy and complexity.

For weeks, dogs, search crews, helicopters, and even psychics scoured Charlottesville and Albemarle County for Katie. And although her body was never found, a year later, a Charlottesville jury convicted 24-year-old Glenn Haslam Barker of second degree murder based on what prosecutors called a "rope" of circumstantial evidence tying him to Katie.

It was just the second murder conviction in Virginia without a body, but if the parents felt any satisfaction in the conviction, it faded less than a decade later when the convicted killer went free.


Earlier this month, Katie's parents, Robin and Alan Worsky– who divorced the year after Barker's conviction– meet outside a coffeeshop on Pantops Mountain. On a breezy summer afternoon, they remember Katie as a tomboy who loved fishing and playing sports, a child who remained cheerful despite daily insulin injections for Type I diabetes which she'd had since she was five. 

So many years later, Robin Worsky's pain is still fresh. Talking about her middle daughter brings quick tears, for which she apologizes.

"It doesn't get any easier," she says, shaking her head and covering her eyes.

On this day at least, Alan keeps his pain closer. A salesman by trade, he has a personable demeanor, a firm handshake, and a steady gaze. He smiles frequently, a broad toothy grin that invites others to smile with him– and is a reminder of Katie, who favored him.

 "She was my little buddy," he says, recalling his daughter, blond and small for her age, begging to come with him on Chesapeake Bay fishing expeditions. Robin agrees that Katie was closer to Alan, though both parents adored all three children– Katie, their older daughter, Jamie, who was 15 at the time of the disappearance, and John, who was five.

At the time, Alan Worsky was a car salesman, and the family lived in an apartment in the Four Seasons subdivision off Rio Road. In that summer of 1982, E.T. and Poltergeist were big hits at the movie theater, and the shopping centers of Route 29 ended at Fashion Square. For the Fourth of July, a Sunday, the Worskys and the children traveled to a family reunion in Staunton, Robin's hometown, where the couple had met soon after Alan graduated from Staunton Military Academy in 1965.

The following weekend, however, the five Worskys were home together until Sunday, July 11, after Katie asked to spend the night at a friend's house. Initially, Robin and Alan say, they said no, though neither can recall their reason. But they remember that Katie was persistent.

"She begged and begged, 'Please, please!'" says Robin. "She won the battle and got to go, but it's ironic that we tried to stop her– for whatever reason."

In late afternoon, Alan drove Katie to 2745 McElroy Drive, a modest brick rancher at the end of a wooded cul-de-sac just off Old Lynchburg Road near Fry's Spring Beach Club. Katie was to spend the night with a former neighbor, a single mother of two named Carrie Gates, whose 13-year-old daughter, Tammy Thomas, was one of Katie's close friends. Though Gates had moved from the county to the city and the girls attended different schools– Katie was a rising seventh grader at Burley while Tammy was entering eighth grade at Buford– they'd had sleep-overs before at each other's houses without incident, and the Worskys say they had no reason to worry.

They never saw Katie again.


Like so many horror stories, the Worskys' nightmare started with a call. At approximately 5:30am on July 12, a groggy Robin Worsky answered the insistent ringing of the phone. On the other end, a woman asked: "Is Katie there?" It was Carrie Gates.

"I said, 'What do you mean is Katie here?' Robin recalls. "She's at your house."

The Worskys raced across town. When they first arrived at McElroy Drive, they say, Katie's disappearance didn't seem possible.

"We were frantically searching the whole house," says Robin, "thinking she's hiding, playing a game with us." Gates had not yet called the police, but the Worskys swiftly insisted upon it, and, they say, by approximately 7am the property was secured as a crime scene.

Before the police arrived, however, another person showed up to help in the search: a 23-year-old convenience store clerk named Glenn Haslam Barker.

Robin says she had never seen Barker, a hulking 6'5" former high-school football standout, but for Alan, Barker was familiar: he'd worked at a gas station on Pantops where Alan frequently purchased coffee and cigarettes. 

"When he saw me, his eyes got big as silver dollars," says Alan. "I knew right then and there that something was wrong."

The police also had immediate suspicions. Barker had dated Gates, but by this time any romantic relationship was over. Barker readily admitted he'd been the last to see Katie the previous night, when the two girls and Tammy's younger brother, Eddie Thomas, had gone to bed. Details of Barker's story would have been troubling to many parents.

He admitted he'd brought a six pack of beer over and had given Katie and Tammy at least one each, though Tammy later testified they'd had more. Barker said he'd left the house around 12:30am, having tucked eight-year-old Eddie into bed, and after checking on Katie and Tammy, who he said were sleeping peacefully on the ground floor. 

But police weren't buying his story.


In the days that followed Katie's disappearance, the Charlottesville community searched together, hoping for a miracle, wondering how long the 12-year-old– if she was still alive– could survive without her insulin, which had been found with her shoes and other belongings at her friend's house.

As days turned to weeks, the search turned grimmer. Circling vultures anywhere in the area prompted search groups to investigate, hoping to at least bring closure to the nightmare. Divers and canoers searched the Rivanna River, dogs scoured the woods around McElroy Drive, and helicopters hovered overhead.

Rumors flew that Katie's body was under the new Hardee's at Pantops. The Charlottesville police chief wanted to dig through tons of refuse at the Ivy Landfill, although concerns about biohazards and lack of a solid lead to the site derailed that suggestion. Desperate, police even agreed to consult with psychic Noreen Renier, who predicted Katie's body was near a shed on a hillside somewhere in Albemarle County. 

Katie's classmates at Burley, including one 12-year-old named Rosemary Beard, joined in the search. Today, the memory of the events is still strong for Rosemary Beard Heflin, now 37.

"It really rocked our world," she says. "We always thought of Charlottesville as a very safe place. Parents didn't think twice about dropping their kids off to go to the mall.

"I felt very helpless, very frightened," Heflin says, recalling a day in a canoe with her father looking for Katie on the Rivanna River. 

Heflin says that after Katie's disappearance, many parents became more cautious. "And yet it was such a benign thing," she says, "letting her spend the night at her girlfriend's house."

Katie's parents were among the searchers. In one of many July Daily Progress articles, Alan described driving the roads of Albemarle County, "just looking to see if I can see a little girl with blond hair wandering around in a pink t-shirt."

On July 15, Police Chief John "Dek" Bowen held a press conference to announce agonizing news: police were calling off the full-scale search, although smaller search operations continued, as officers followed up on dozens of tips.

Bowen, who retired in 1994, recalls the time as "frustrating." 

"All of us were out searching, walking areas where we thought there was a chance she might be," says Bowen, now 73. "It was a very personal case to the police department. It still is."

While police had had no luck finding the missing girl, they were more successful unearthing clues.

Hours after Katie's disappearance, they made some discoveries when, with Barker's permission, they searched his apartment in the Hessian Hills Apartments on Georgetown Road. They discovered wet, blood-stained men's clothing and towels between the mattress and box spring of Barker's bed and in a cooler. Barker, who was present for the search, appeared shocked at the discovery. 

"There was a surprised look on Barker's face," said Detective Bill Davis on an NBC29 video. "You know how you look at somebody and they think, well you found their secret?" Davis, who died last year, said on the tape that Barker claimed he didn't know how the clothing had gotten there– a statement Barker would maintain long after his conviction.

In the years before DNA testing, matching blood stains by blood type was the best way to determine who blood might have come from. The stains on the wet clothes matched Barker's Type A, but they also showed blood of Type B. Unfortunately, despite Katie's diabetes, her blood had never been typed, and investigators could not connect the clothing to the crime– yet.

Convinced that they might have missed something, investigators got a warrant to search Barker's apartment a second time the following week, this time without giving him notice. They had nearly given up the search when lead investigator Jim Haden checked Barker's dresser drawers. Inside a pair of rolled-up socks, there was a balled-up pair of girls' panties. On the back of the panties was what appeared to be a tiny blood stain that could be consistent with the location where Katie injected her insulin.

Still, investigators didn't know Katie's blood type. It wasn't until January 1983, after investigators had spent months looking for a way to match the blood, that Katie's parents discovered a solution. There were several stains on Katie's mattress. Katie, they revealed, had recently begun menstruating, and the only other person to have slept in the bed was her menopausal grandmother, they said. Excited, police tested the mattress and discovered that five of the stains were blood. And more significantly, it was Type B. The rope was tightening.


Though investigators suspected Barker from the beginning, then-Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dick Barrick didn't want to rush to press charges for fear that a jury wouldn't convict without a body. 

"She could have wandered off and died from shock or something from not taking her insulin," says Barrick, who retired to private practice in 1989. "She could have been kidnapped."

Barrick, 78, explains his decision to wait more than six months before having Barker arrested. "I wanted to make sure I had every bit of circumstantial evidence, and we were hoping in the meantime that we could either find Katie alive somewhere, or at worst, discover her body."

The arrest came on January 29, 1983 and the trial nearly six months later. It was unlike any other trial Barrick can recall. The normally sparsely filled courtroom was packed with spectators as forensic experts and witnesses testified. Officers and even the Worskys themselves were barred from the trial because they would be witnesses in the largely circumstantial case.

The jury of eight women and four men listened to days of testimony from Katie's family, Carrie Gates, and Tammy Thomas, and from hosts of officers and forensic experts. Several of the jurors still recall the experience in remarkable detail.

"It was hard, depressing," says Tanner Y. Carver, a retired Comdial employee, now 76. He and the others agree it was the forensic testimony that the blood stains from Katie's mattress matched the type of blood on the wet clothes and panties found in Barker's sock drawer that sealed their decision.

Another juror, a nurse who is now 69, spoke on the condition that her name not be used, citing fear of Barker, who, she says, was an intimidating presence in the courtroom. She says his 6'5" height was boosted by cowboy boots, and he showed no emotion in the courtroom.

Images from news reports at the time show Barker smoking a cigarette and leaving court neatly groomed in a powder blue suit and tie, accompanied by his attorneys, Larry McElwain and Paul Peatross, who later became a Charlottesville District and Albemarle Circuit Court judge. 

McElwain says the week of the trial was "intense," so much so that Judge Herbert C. Pickford, who presided over the case, held court on a Saturday. 

"The judge wanted to get this done," he recalls. (Peatross, who retired from the bench this year, did not return the Hook's calls for comment, nor did the now-retired Pickford.)

The prosecution's description of Barker's behavior the fateful night may have disturbed jurors.

"It was chilling when they presented the case and how clever and cunning Barker was in manipulating the children," says the nurse. "He could walk up the driveway and look in the window, see the kids there."

Uncontested facts emerged in testimony: Barker had given Katie and her friend Tammy beer. Tammy testified that both girls had gotten sick after drinking them, and she said when she went to bed, she'd last seen Barker reading her eight-year-old brother, Eddie, a bedtime story– news reports from the time say it was a chapter from a book on Civil War ships. Tammy testified that she awoke from a bad dream at approximately 5:30am and discovered Katie's bed empty, her friend gone.

Barrick theorized at trial that after the two girls became intoxicated, Barker carried Katie to the ground floor rec room and attempted to molest her. Drops of blood matching Katie's type were found on the rug and around the room's coffee table.

"Something violent went on in the [rec] room involving Katie," says Barrick. "One would have to also assume that it involved Barker. What it was or why it happened, we had no evidence on that at all. You could argue from Barker's standpoint that she had fallen."

Indeed, Barker has always maintained that he had nothing to do with Katie's disappearance and that he left the house sometime after midnight, with all three children safe.

Forensic experts testified that a hair found in Barker's car was consistent with Katie's hair, and sniffer dogs identified her scent in his car. Other testimony that supported the prosecution: Charlottesville Police detective Chip Harding testified that an "angry" Barker had called the police department eight days after Katie's disappearance to personally threaten Harding and act hazy on Worsky.

"Why should I tell?" Harding testified that Barker said. "I'll wait for the facts, and then I'll remember them." Harding also testified that when police showed Barker the mounting evidence against him and asked if he'd harmed Katie, he responded, "I probably did, but I don't remember."

Harding told the court that Barker was angry with him because Harding had warned an 18-year-old woman Barker had been dating that Barker was dangerous. (Harding, now a police captain running for election for Albemarle County Sheriff, declined comment for this story.)

Following more than a week of testimony and jury deliberations, the web of circumstantial evidence between Barker and Katie Worsky held fast. On July 28, 1983, the jury convicted Barker of second degree murder and recommended a sentence of 18 years, two years short of the 20-year maximum. They could, however, have convicted Barker of first degree murder if they'd been convinced the act had been premeditated. Barrick had described the difference between the two charges in his closing argument, but he says now that despite failing to win a first-degree conviction, he was pleased with the verdict.

"I doubted we had enough to get him on premeditation," he says. Although McElwain and Peatross eventually appealed the case to the Virginia Supreme Court, the guilty verdict remained.

The jurors praise Barrick for putting together such a tight case, but one of them says she has a regret.

"I was sorry that we didn't understand what Dick Barrick was trying to say to us, that premeditated could mean only five minutes. If we had understood that, it would have been first degree," says Alice Wallenborn, a retired nursing professor who is now 89.

Jurors say that they quickly agreed on the verdict, but coming up with a sentence was harder. Eventually, they agreed on 18 years. Virginia law, held a surprise, however.

"We didn't realize at that time that parole came in any time after nine years," says Carver, who learned that Barker would be paroled from watching news reports.

"That was very galling to me," agrees the anonymous juror. 

It was galling to someone else as well– someone with the power to do something.

Ten years after the conviction, George Allen ran for for governor on a platform with a bold and controversial plan to eliminate parole. In 1995, a year after he took office, Allen followed through on his campaign promise by eliminating mandatory parole, increasing sentences for violent offenders, and establishing "truth-in-sentencing," a law that requires that juries be told exactly how much time someone they convict will serve.

Writing by Blackberry mobile device from a family vacation in Italy last week, Allen– an Albemarle County resident at the time of Katie Worsky's disappearance– says he thought about Katie when he pushed those changes through the Virginia General Assembly.

"The early release of her convicted murderer was another of many aggravating examples of why I wanted to abolish the lenient, dishonest parole system," writes Allen, adding, "our hearts ache for the Worsky family."

Had the changes been in place in 1982, Barker would have served the entire 18 years, Allen notes. In addition to abolishing parole, Allen did away with "bifurcated jury trials," which in the past prevented juries from learning about defendant's prior records when they were determining a sentence.

Indeed, the Worsky jury had not heard about Barker's prior record.

In 1981, Barker was charged in Harnett County, North Carolina with kidnapping an 18-year-old female, tying her to a bed, and holding her at knifepoint. While his victim was restrained, Barker went outside to move her car, and she escaped. Barker pled guilty to assault.

"It was hard to see that after the fact," says the anonymous juror, who says the information made her feel better about convicting and sentencing in the absence of a body. "Thank God," she says, "we did as much as we did."


The police and prosecutors who fought for and won the conviction against Barker have no doubt they got the right man. But Barker himself has always maintained his innocence. Speaking by telephone from his home in South River, New Jersey 25 years after Katie's disappearance and 15 years after he completed his sentence, Barker, now 48, maintains his innocence and claims he was set up.

He says he and Carrie Gates had known each other for several years. "We started out having a romantic relationship," he says, "but that didn't work out, so we remained friends." (Neither Gates nor her daughter, Tammy Thomas, could be reached for comment.)

The night of Katie's disappearance, Barker says, he had come over to visit with Gates, but when she told him she was too tired to drink the beer he'd brought and that she was going to bed, he planned to leave. Instead, he says, he was beckoned into the ground floor rec room by the kids.

Tammy and Eddie "were crazy about me," he says. "We hung out all the time," and he'd "take them to Chuck E. Cheese or places like that."

Barker says it was the girls who asked him to share his beer.

"I know it was wrong, but I was young, too, and I wasn't going to be the bad guy," he says. He also believed that Tammy had had alcohol before. "I didn't see the big deal," he says. He says that he never saw Katie become ill from the alcohol, but agrees with trial testimony that Tammy did throw up.

"I was holding her hair when she was throwing up in the toilet," he says. He read Eddie a bedtime story, and then, when the child fell asleep, "I put my beer bottles back in the bag. Five minutes after Eddie fell asleep, I was gone." 

Barker, who says he is diabetic and has suffered two strokes and three heart attacks, now says he even remembers the drive from McElroy Drive back to Georgetown Road. He took the long route, around "the circle"– JPA and Emmet Street around the University– so he could gaze at coeds. The idea that he would be sexually interested in a child, he says, doesn't make sense.

"I was dating two other girls when this happened," he says. "Everyone said I was looking to have sex. There were two other places I could have went. Why would I want a child? Especially if I had to use force. I could go get it free with no problems. I don't understand why people are not thinking."

Barker says the investigation and the trial were riddled with errors and inconsistencies, starting with the searches of his apartment. He maintains he doesn't know how the wet, blood-stained clothing got under his mattress and points out that he allowed police to come in for the first search– something he says he wouldn't have done if he'd had something to hide. He also wonders why they didn't find the panties on the first search, and why they got a warrant when he'd already agreed to let them come in. He suspects police planted the evidence, a charge they deny.

He questions the validity of the blood on Katie's mattress, and says blood stains were "used up" by prosecution tests, so the defense was forced to rely on those results rather than getting independent tests. He also says the use of dogs to match Katie's scent to his car and to establish his path out of the house with her was flawed and that the dogs seemed to identify several different locations and vehicles.

Though Barker strongly denies any wrongdoing in the Worsky case, he does take responsibility for the 1981 assault in North Carolina, which he believes has been the source of all his problems.

"I tied her hands behind her back," he admits. "It was at knifepoint. But I never did anything or said anything.

"It was wrong what I did there," he says. "I'm not trying to simplify it. It was very traumatic for her."

He says drugs and alcohol had affected his behavior, and his wife at the time, Lynn, with whom he had a son, had just left him. "All I wanted," he explains, "was the company."


Robin Worsky visited Barker twice in prison and begged him to reveal the location of her daughter's body. "I told him, 'I'll do whatever it takes to help you, if you help me.' I was just desperate."

Barker maintained his innocence so convincingly that she began to harbor doubts.

"I'm not saying I think he's innocent," she says. "I don't know where the guilt lies. I think, maybe, had he gotten her drunk, had she fallen and hit her head, that he would have freaked out. He may have taken care of the problem."

Following those visits, Robin says, Barker began writing her letters asking her to come back and hoping she'd befriend his own mother.

"He thought I was the solution to his problem," says Robin. "I wasn't. I needed a solution to mine."

Asked now about the plight of the Worskys, who have spent every day of the last 25 years yearning for answers, Barker says he is sympathetic. "I grieve for their loss," he says.

And as he told Robin Worsky during her visits to him, if he knew where Katie was, he insists he would tell. "I did the time," he explains. "I might as well."


It's no secret that the stress of parenting can strain a marriage, but the death of a child can be a fatal blow. Such was the case for the Worskys.

"It contributed to the end of the marriage," says Robin, as Alan nods. "We just knew we didn't want to fight, didn't want to argue," she adds. Apart, they have been able to remain "good friends" even as they dealt with their grief in different ways.

"He wanted to move away from Charlottesville, to get away from it," says Robin. "I didn't want to leave because I was still expecting her to come back."

They weren't the only ones struggling. Katie's older sister, Jamie, says the days, weeks, and years after Katie's disappearance were brutal– beginning the morning of Katie's disappearance, when she heard her parents screaming, "Katie's gone!" 

In her sleepy teenage haze, she didn't understand. "They were trying to get me out of bed; then they were gone," she says. "They stayed gone for three days, only came home at night."

During the search and investigation, Jamie says, she wanted to get away from the chaos and pain, but her parents pulled her closer.

"I was pissed when I had to be home at a certain time and everybody else could be home much later," she says. On one particular occasion, she had gone to Barnaby's Pizza on Greenbrier Drive when the phone rang at the bustling restaurant. It was her parents telling her that Glenn Barker had gotten out on bond. "They were coming to pick me up right then," she remembers.

Even though the disappearance occurred at the sleep-over, Jamie found that some of her friends were forbidden by their parents to visit the Worsky house. She rebelled– drinking, staying out– though she won't blame all of it on Katie's disappearance. "It was what everyone was doing," she says.

When her parents separated the year after the trial, Jamie says, her relationship with her father was further strained, in part because he'd become so protective.

"My memory of him is that he was with me all the time," she says. "I understand that now, being a parent, but I hated it then. I hated high school. I was miserable."

After the divorce, Jamie stayed with her mother in Charlottesville, while Alan moved to Roanoke and then New Jersey with John, the youngest. They returned to Charlottesville several years later. Jamie married and had children– at 39, she has a 19-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son– though she has since also divorced. John is now the father of two boys, 7 and 6 years old.

Today, Jamie says, her relationship with her father has been mended. "Being an adult, I have a much better relationship with my dad." While she doesn't see him as frequently as she does her mother– she and Robin live across the street from each other– they are now close, she says, and talk on the phone "all the time." 

"I can never imagine losing a child, ever," says Jamie, who adds that her mother's strength in continuing with her life despite the hole at its center gave her new respect.

"My mom," she says, "is the strongest person I know."

The pain, however, never completely fades for any of them. "Things are still the same," says Jamie. "Katie's not here; she hasn't been found."

For the living, a lot happens in 25 years. "We've changed," says Jamie. "We've had to. My parents have gotten older, my brother and I grew up." Katie, however, is still– and will always be– 12. A day doesn't go by that Jamie Worsky doesn't think about her sister. But she says time has robbed her of some memories.

"I don't remember her voice," she says, choking up. "I try and I try." She looks for signs of Katie in her own children. "I kind of see her, especially in my son," she says. 

 Still, if she can't remember all the details, she can remember Katie's essence: a mischievous, fun-loving– if sometimes bratty– little sister.

"She shot me in the rear end with a BB gun once," Jamie laughs. "She said it wasn't on purpose, but it was. She aimed right at my ass and got me good." Despite such sibling rivalry, Jamie says she and Katie– who shared a room– had just started to establish a closer relationship when Katie disappeared.

"I remember the day that she went to Tammy Thomas' house, I asked her not to go," Jamie says, "to stay and go to the mall with me and my girlfriends."

Katie is in their thoughts constantly, but Alan and Robin Worsky say they do not have any family traditions in which they formally remember her. In fact, there has never been a memorial service– private or public. Twenty-five years later, Robin Worsky's fear that she'd never know exactly what happened has been realized.

"I don't have a death certificate," says Robin. "I don't have a place to go to visit her." Her grief wells once more. "I can't have a memorial for her. I think about it, but I can't do it," she says, weeping at the Pantops coffeeshop. "I know I need to close it, but I don't know how."

Standing, she enters the coffeeshop for a glass of water. Alan touches her arm and watches her go, then turns and gazes out past the table at the sky and the horizon to the west.

"I look at it differently than Robin," he says, this time with no hint of his trademark smile as he thinks about the daughter he has grieved for so long, the little blond girl he took fishing.

"Her resting place is wherever the Lord wants her to be," he says, pausing, and gesturing to the mountains and the clouds drifting across the blue sky.

 "In time we'll know," he says, "but not on this earth." 

Next week: A brutal double murder in Richmond is connected to Barker, and  Virginia and New Jersey residents protest his presence in their neighborhoods. Is Glenn Haslam Barker a serial killer, or is he a convenient target for law enforcement looking for easy solutions to tough cases?

Detective Bill Davis' name was misstated in the print version of this article. It has been corrected online.–ed


Twenty-five years after Katie disappeared, John, Jamie, Alan and Robin (in front) say the wondering never ends.




Katie in an early school photo




"She was my little buddy," says Alan Worsky, seen here fishing with Katie a few years before her disappearance. "I liked having her out there with me."




Katie was "vibrant, outgoing, very happy, and well liked," says Rosemary Beard Heflin, who attended Burley with her.




News coverage of Katie's disappearance– and the subsequent trial– was intense.







Investigators theorized that Glenn Haslam Barker, seen here in an approximately 10-year-old photo, assaulted then-12-year-old Katie Worsky in the basement rec room of this house on McElroy Drive.









I am from Australia.

I am involved in extensive research of "no body" criminal trials from around the world.

Is it possible to obtain copies of any articles on the Worsky case, particularly on the trial?

I have moved away from my home town of Charlottesville for almost 4 years now. I used to lived on Hazel Street with my mother Mary Parrott. I remember my mother crying over Katie and telling me of the rumors of the fast food restraunt and how they will never let us look under it and see if maybe she is there. I grew up watching out my window Pan Top. Wondering, angry, Hoping that no matter what the somehow Katie would be okay and I will see her in school. I remember Katie's smile. I thought she was and is beautiful like her mom. I remember going to school during her disappearance and feeling empty. Since she has been away, there is something missing, I ached as a young girl missing her in my school. I learned that I hated waiting, I hated the silence or the not knowing. Since I hated it so much, I could not even imagine how it was for her family. I will never forget Katie and I have nothing but great care and love for her family. I just happen to come into town this weekend, after actually thinking about her over the past few months. I was talking to my best friend about Katie. We pull off to a gas station and I went in to pay when I saw Katie's smile looking at me from the news rack. I felt eerie and couldn't believe my eyes, I almost bust into tears. I still miss her. I know there has got to be more people like me, and would just want her found ... to find some peace in a time of such darkness. As I drove home tonight back Richmond with the Hook in the passenger seat, I thought back to the many times I saw Katie's mom at the Sub Shop, and how many times I just wanted to hug her, but was always afraid to. Afraid that I would fall apart emotionally and not do any good for her mom. I wanted so much to reach out to her and let her know her daughter will always be missed, not just that year back in school, but always even today as a 36 year old woman. I was scared that Katie would be forgotten and lost, but I can not tell you how much it made my heart feel, to see this article and know, that I am not the only one in the community that will always remember Katie, and her family.

In my opinion, they should re-consult pyschic Noreen Renier and see if she thinks the body is in the same place she predicted years ago and help lead police to find her body so that the family can finally have some closure after 25 years.

Were any of the blood samples preserved? They could now be tested.

If infact DNA testing shows the blood found at Hessian Hills is Worsky's, then we torture methods could be applied to Barker to determine the location of the body.

I recommend Anal Electrocution, stick an electrode up his ass, and one down his throat, then up the voltage until he talks.

Responding to: What about DNA?
I wondered about that myself. I had some really good cop friends growing up and learned that the Charlottesville Police Department is one of the most advanced when it came to criminal data banking and the process of DNA. I was hoping that there is a chance that they did preserve everything they found.
As for Barker, I feel the same way. Going up I always wondered okay, I'll wait for the little SOB to get out of jail and I torture him until he talked. I remember even crying out load when I heard they took it to court and will slap him on the hand and move on. I know I myself was only a little girl at the time, but during the court proceedings, I remember thinking great you got the creep, now what about Katie. I was scared then and my fears had become reality, Katie ended up remembered...yet forgotten.
I haven't been able to sleep much after weeks of thinking about katie again and finding this article when I went into town last weekend. Now that I am not 10 and I am older I suddenly feel like I can try and do something about it. I kept looking at this article and finally found it in my heart to finish reading it. It actually encouraged me to write Court TV and get them to investigate it.
Even Noreen Renier was on one of their many shows Psychic Detectives. I have an open mind, but I also don't trust just anyone. Noreen was just starting out and it was one of her first cases back then. She has claimed to solve I think over 500 cases now.... I can't remember, but I remember it was big. But in either case, I was upset that she could help solve so many, and yet again Katie was left behind. Maybe she doesn't want katie to end up on Court TV because she will have to prove that she didn't solve it. Whenever I think about it...I just get all angry again on our loss as a community.
After reading this article, I have had so many memories come back, like riding on my bike down the hill we lived on and behind Jack and Jill and through someone's back yard to get to a field and to push on until there was a dirt/gravel road that went beside the river. I remember looking for katie myself until one day my mother found out and started to cry and said it's just too dangerous for a young girl to be by herself by the river. I thought, is she upset that I went out alone, which she was never afraid of before, or the fact that I refused to just move on and let Katie go. So I asked her and she said, Barker will get what he deserves and just try to end it.
About three months ago, it was the beginning of my Spring 07 Semester, when I thought of doing something about my childhood for a video project. I thought of Katie. I went to the Library of Virginia and looked up all the old articles on Micro Film to help me start. I couldn't get past the first page. I saw Katie and started crying and was emotionally sent back. I felt so stupid, because I wasn't family, and I wasn't close friends with Katie. I just remembered her around town and being in the same school system. Yet, I was losing it as if I were looking at it for the first time. I guess it's the same reason I didn't run and started reading this article until later on hen I was at home alone. I am thankful for this article, because it shows that maybe people did move on...but like me, there are others out there that will not ever forget her.
I know I am writing a lot on this. Maybe I am using this as a type of therapy. Because when Barker did get out ... I never did go hunt him down. I kept thinking...he'll get what he deserves. But, then I heard rumors of him killing another girl and burning down a house in New Jersey. For a man that claims that he had two women at the time and he wasn't interested in little girls, sure seems to always be at the wrong places at the wrong times. I think when anyone is caught messing with a child they should have someone do the same thing the "what about DNA?" said. Zap his ass until he talks. When an adult screws with a child, they take so much more than just their innocents. They are changed for life and problems happen in their adult life. Maybe anyone that messes with a child should get life in prison or the death sentence. eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and a life for a life.
Again sorry to be writing so much... but it does make me feel better letting it out. I also just hope I am making sense. Trying to write as fast as I can when I have a million thoughts and feelings about it.

My heart goes out for the family. It really does. However, when you cut a great road through the law to get "the bad guys" what is it that you are actually doing? You need to give the devil benefit of law *for your own safties sake*. The law says (and should say) that a body must be acquired. The law also says that in addition to circumstantial evidence *physical evidence* is also required. As for "Zap his ass until he talks"... perhaps you should read the 5th amendment. I hope the lowlife scumbag that did this gets what's coming to him. But the way it happened makes the state little more than a well dressed lynch mob. And it's clear that the mob mentality is in control here. The only thing the state has done is to emperil the safety and well being of the citizenry no matter who good the reason is perceived to be. Al Capone was never charged with murder or racketerring. He was charged with tax evasion. The point being that instead of relaxing a time honored standard for prosecution the state should have found another avenue to bring him to justice. All they did was endanger the rest of us. If you think it can't happen please research what "hearsay" is and how the standard has been whittled away to nothing.

I first want to say Thank You to the Hook for posting this story.

I did not know Katie or her family, but lived in Charlottesville and was 11 when she disappeared. Her missing and presumed death still lingers today. I, too, had a hard time reading and remembering. I remembered all the feelings I felt as an eleven year old but now as a parent reading about the Worsky's loss and lack of closure hurts my soul.

I also feel that people who lived in this community those many years ago ache for closure as well. I hope this story prompts authorities to look into the case again. IF there are blood samples remaining, then can they be DNA tested.

Although, I am not an opponent of torture, I hope that Barker would be compelled to put this families pain to rest by letting them know where she is.

I felt compelled to write a comment hopefully to let the Worsky's know that their tragedy then and now is shared by the community as a whole. Katie will always be remembered.

To Cletus,
at lest the mob at least has some guide lines. This creep was an animal that hunted down innocent childern for no reason but to satisify his own lust. The guy shold of staied in Jail, at least for his own safety. The creep is sick. Talking about he had two girls and why would he go to Katie for sex. Well, why would he work for YMCA for a Girls basketball team working with young girls after getting caught? I rather deal with Al Capone than Barker. Hell, I might end up with a horse head in my bed, but at least my childern will be fine. At least he bought uniforms for the little baseball players instead of fooling around on them. At least god, end up getting him later with a STD. This Barker guy is still walking around. As for the amendment... please..God our country is so screwed up that even our stupid president in trying to make things worse by changing amendments. I think mentioning the Amendment is only getting off track. Get these good people some help, help the police by trying to get technology in there and lets find that little girl. Otherwise more tiime is being spend bitching and not finding answers. I don't believe in sending out a mob after this Barker. There are laws, but heck if you are caught not just once but a couple of times... the law had got to become more tight againt these animals.

Forget zapping his ass...zap his gonads, the family jewels, instead. Bet that will get him talking more, heck it seems that might be the only why to get to himtalking, since he is thinking down there anyway.

"at lest the mob at least has some guide lines."

I dont mean to be rude but do you have any idea how incredibly stupid that sounds? The point is precisely that the mob chooses to ignore the "guide lines" and venture off the path simply b/c *they* feel an entitlement to do so. Never did I say or allude that this guy should get off scott free. I'm only saying that when you choose to ignore the guide lines you emperil everyone else's freedom. It's like saying "America is a free country so I can kick your ass if you don't get a haircut". And that's wretchedly stupid. You just choose not to acknowledge that b/c you feel justified by the circumstances. I think my comment about Al Capone is apt. There is more than one way to skin a cat. But you don't get to break into my kitchen and steal my knives b/c you don't like the cat.

At least everyone agrees that the case should be looked into again. The only thing is Barker still be free of Katie because of Double Jeopardy..right? But maybe it will hopefully find Katie, sadly 25 year is a long time. Does anyone know it it would even be possible to find her?

I don't remember a lot about the time that this happened. I was 8 years old. I do remember hearing that Katie was under the Hardeez on Pantops Mtn. I remember hearing so many coincidental facts that pointed to this. They certainly fade with time, but they seemed so convincing. Is there no way to look into the validity of this rumor? We have so many technologically advanced methods, can't we look into the foundation to see if this could be true? I remember hearing people say that the foundation was poured just after she disappeared and that there was a connection between Barker that would have given him access to the site. Are these things true? Weren't there also links between the psychic's info and the site?
My heart goes out to the Worsky's. My prayers are with you.
May the person who did this, whomever it is, be punished and pay for it.

Thank you for this story. Katie was my cousin. Robin is my aunt. This story has brought back a lot of pain for my family, but it is something that you never forget. I was 7 when Katie was kidnapped. I will forever remember that day as vividly as if it were yesterday. It changed the course of all our lives. I learned to feel unsafe at such a young age. I decided at a very young age at I wanted to be a prosecuter. It was only during my 1st year of law school that I realized that there must be more to drive me in this direction than this case. I am now the mother of children and trust me, this impacts how I parent. I am very careful where my children go, how well I know the family and who is in that house. It affects who you are for the rest of your life. The hard part is having no answers. Katie and our family deserve to say goodbye properly. Thank you for remembering.

I too, like the entry above, was 11 when Katie disappeared. I remember I cut out every single newspaper article in the Daily Progress regarding her disappearance. I had made a scrapbook with nothing but those articles. Some years ago, I threw away that scrapbook, although I wish I hadn't. Being a resident of Fluvanna County my entire life, I was one of those children who rode bikes on dirt roads alone, or wandered the woods freely. I was one of those kids who saw ET and Poltergeist here at the theatres in Charlottesville. This article sure brought back some memories. I think I was so interested in the case as disappearances of children didn't happen much back then or at least not around here and because of our close ages. It's funny how throughout the years Katie's name would come up in conversation among those of us who remembered her. It was rumored of the possibility of her being encased in cement at the fast food restaurant because Barker knew when the cement was to be poured (if I remember correctly, he was on the construction crew??) and to this day when I drive by there, it makes me wonder if she might be there. It is so nice to see that so many people still remember her and still long for closure. Her family did not go through this ordeal alone. The entire surrounding community was affected by her disappearance. I firmly believe that one day we'll have the answers we have longed for.

I will forever remember this case. I've lived in Charlottesville for 35 years and my husband knew Alan in the business of car sales. Our son was 5 at the time and the story terrified all parents with regard to protecting their children. I remember when Barker was set free, I was outraged. I believe that this story will let the Worsky family know that the entire community was and is behind them and that their daughter will never be forgotten. Perhaps it will be a launching pad for reopening this case and finding the truth that the family deserves.

As a young girl during this time I lived in a trailor park in charlottesville..a week before this came up with Katie..A girl who i thought of as my older sister...we werent really sisters but i loved her and her family just as much also went missing and was found. That was Paula Jean Chandler..pj to me and my family..The night before i had a bad dream..about her death..i remember waking up and crying and thanking god it was just a dream. A little while later i get a call from a man saying he found her purse with my number in it and wanted to get it back to her. It was after that i learned that she was missing. I was totally terrified and prayed for her return. I was in summer school that year and found it hard to do my work. I was also babysitting in the 4 seasons subdivision. After school one day my mother called me there to tell me paula had been found..the feeling i had was and is still undescribable!! Because i was in school i wasnt allowed by my parents to go say goodbye to someone i loved very much. Then came the news about Katie and all the possible connections. I didnt know her personally but i felt as though i did since i was in the middle of all of this. I had English with jamie that year and having lost paula..i wanted to reach out to her so badly but i didnt know how. As that young girl i remember going to paulas familys home and seeing their torment..a time and pain i will NEVER forget. Here it is 25 years later..i now have 3 nearly grown children myself now...most days seem normal..although you never forget the terror and pain of these familys or myself having to have lost someone i loved too..Reading it all again brings back so many tears and memories ..its all fresh again. And i do pray that after all of these years the law will and can finally get the responsible parites in both of these cases and give the families some justice at last. sooooo on a personal note to the sister i never was able to say goodbye to..Paula i loved you as my sister and you will be in my heart and thoughts always. And to Jamie and her family...even though i didnt know Katie i feel your pain and pray that one day she is bought home.

"The law says (and should say) that a body must be acquired." Actually, it doesn't say that. It only says you need enough evidence to prove the victim is dead. Usually that would mean a body, but in cases where the body isn't found and, possibly, can never be found, it's possible to prosecute without one.

25 years of pain. i know the pain is still so real like it happened yesterday. This was a tragedy that no one forgets, even an ex-girlfriend of johns. I am so sorry you guys had to re-live every moment. just know my thoughts are with you.

I, too, was a young child living in Charlottesville when Katie went missing. I am now 37 yet the memory of this beautiful girl never left me. I think it was the first time I started to realize that going places alone was not as safe as I thought it was and that not every stranger was there to help you. I had nightmares for years and can only imagine what the Worsky family was going through. I moved away many years ago and when the internet came around her name was one of the first searches I ran. I randomly search for stories of her now in the hope that one day I will see an article that she has finally been found.

I agree that DNA testing would be a great effort to bring some type of closure for her family that the right man was convicted. To the post discussing "no body / no crime"....many GOOD convinctions have been made with evidence that does not include a body. There are too many ways to dispose of a body and too many murderers who would be running free if that were true. If you had lived in the area during this time you would realize what a great job the police officers / D.A. did. The evidence was overwhelming and not all of it is noted in this article.

To the Worsky family: my heart, my love and my hope go out to you. Katie will always be a beautiful 12 year old star to us. Your strength is inspiring.

I knew Katie and still miss her. Just seeing her picture made me cry. To all of the Worsky's, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your pain must be unbelievable. So sad!

I moved to Charlottesville in 1985 when I was nine...and knew Johnny Worsky when we both lived at Westgate apartments (just down Georgetown Rd from Hessian Hills?)--and later when we both went to AHS. I knew nothing of his sister Katie until years later. It explains a lot now, but then he was just the kid who was always getting in trouble with GEMC--I knew he was a good kid, but he was just SO GOOD at being a BOY! I worked on Pantops for a couple years and it's an eerie thought that Katie might be there, which is what my mom seems to think...It makes me sad looking back, how we would play outside for hours unaccounted for...riding our bikes through "the Field" which is now Barclay Place, cutting through the paths to Solomon Court, swimming at the pool before that big dummy Wayne broke off the diving board, just walking to school. You can't do that now and it's just depressing. I have a 3-year-old daughter and I cannot begin to imagine what Robin feels every day. So I guess what I am getting at is: Here's a toast to an innocent past, to getting mooned off a diving board, to Katie and all she left behind.

With today's technology, there should be some way of testing the foundations of those buildings at Pantops to see if Katie's body is indeed buried there. If we can analyze the atmosphere on Mars, we should be able to detect a skeleton through concrete. This poor family deserves answers...and that creep is definitely not going to give them any.

i just want to say that my heart goes out to all the victims of this man. my family lived next to his family in nj for several years. we didn't know much about Barker but knew enough to not let the kids play outside. he has since moved out of the town but everytime i look at his house i get the creeps! It is now abadoned and i can't help but look at the house and wonder how he continued to have a "normal" life after what he did.

Thank you all for the support that you have shown for my family!!!! It has been very hard on all of us, and still is!!! A day will come when that sorry ass SOB get his!!! Once again Thank you all

I went to Woodbrook and Burley with Katie..... her smile and her charisma was the reason that we all wanted to be around her!
I will NEVER forget that day when my Grandfather showed me the headlines of the Daily Progress that read: "Missing 12 year old Katie Worsky"
Katie we all looked for you and we all grieved along with your family! I know that one day we will see you again in Heaven!
I have followed Glenn Barker and the fact that he did not get life for what he did to you is just irresponsible!
You rest assured though that God will punish him for what he did!

think of you folks all the time.Iremember thanksgiving of 65. god bless you all,our thoughts and prayers are with you all the time.t

This case needs media attention still to this day!! If someone knows something and was afraid to talk then, maybe they would be willing to talk now, today!
His face needs to be put out there as much as possible! If someone knows him now, and if he has done something else to others. Maybe someone will recogize his face and give some information. You never know. It is worth it to put his face out there to try and establish any new leads at all.

If he could do this to Katie, then I'm sure he has done similar, if not the same to others where he lived. Someone knows something. Ater all these years he probably feels as if he has gotten away with it. Therefore, he has probably bragged or talked about it with someone, and that someone is the person(s) that needs to call in, and step up. By using the media its possible.
Her family deserves to know, and He needs to be held accountable.

my health teacher here in NC was Glenn Barker's best friend in highschool in NC. Glenn had football scholarships to several colleges. he accepted all and intented on going, when his girlfriend found out she was pregnant. he stayed. got into drugs and alcohol. and now he has ended up here. wow. my teacher really wasnt lying...

I was 11 when Katie vanished...I actually went to school with Tammy Thomas and remember well how horrible the whole thing was for her, kids teasing her, whispering. They left town not longer after.

I also remember looking for Katie - out my bedroom window, when driving past wooded areas. Just wishing she'd show up...let her parents have some peace.

Alan and Robin - I still think of your daughter. That's how I found this article, actually...did a search on her name, because I was thinking of her. Still just wishing she'd show up, so you can have peace.

I hope you can find that peace anyway.