The case of Holly Cantrell has left people scratching their heads hoping for answers, even as more than a year has passed since her curious disappearance. The mother of three and stepmother to two disappeared on January 20, 2017. Over a year later, new information has come to light and authorities are still working on leads to find her.
The Curious Case of Holly Cantrell
January 20, 2017 was a typical day for Holly Cantrell, a physical therapist at McAlester Regional Health Center in Oklahoma. According to reports, on January 20, 2017, she went for her lunch break at around 11:56 a.m. and was never heard from again.
|About Holly Marie Cantrell|
|Birth||December 7, 1976|
|Height||5 feet 6 inches|
|Children||Trenton McClellan, Wesley Cantrell, Charity Cantrell Clayton, Zachary Cantrell|
|Job||Physical Therapy Tech|
|LAST SEEN||20th January, 2017|
Where did Holly go? Holly had many friends, and by all accounts, was popular with her coworkers and patients. That said, it was discovered that Holly was keeping a big secret from those around her. She had recently been having an affair with a local man by the name of Cody Ketchum. They were still seeing each other the day she disappeared.
When Holly vanished, she was still actively married to Tommy Cantrell, her second husband, whom she married in 1999. She was 19 and he was 46 at the time. She actually met Tommy and began seeing him when she was still married to her first husband. The two have been married for the last 16 years, and also have two sons together (apart from their own previous children).
To muddy the waters around Holly’s disappearance, it has been alleged she may have been pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and that Cody Ketchum was the father.
The Last Time Holly Cantrell Was Seen
Holly Cantrell was last seen on surveillance video outside the health center on that afternoon of January 20, 2017. The video showed her getting inside a short, green wheelbase truck around 12:20 p.m. wearing green scrubs. She left work, walked through her the health centre parking lot, got into the truck with a man, and they drove away. No force was used to detain her. Cody Ketchum was confirmed to be the driver, but he told authorities that he dropped Cantrell off at Braum’s (an ice cream shop and eatery) nearby. He told authorities that she said she would find her own way back to her work as they had to cancel their afternoon plans. As for him dropping her off? Police said the surveillance video at Braum’s isn’t very clear and they cannot determine whether Ketchum actually dropped her off or if his truck was ever even there.
Reports also do not confirm if Cantrell was ever actually seen at Braum’s (as there is no video footage available). Her vehicle remained in the health center’s parking lot where she worked, and was later discovered by police.
Moreover, no one at Braun’s recalls seeing Holly there or even near the restaurant. It also seems she never made plans to meet anyone at Braum’s, either.
While Ketchum is a person of interest, he has taken a polygraph test and is being cooperative. Another person of interest is Holly’s husband Tommy. Local authorities say he is also being cooperative. Still, the case remains unsolved.
Who Is Holly Cantrell?
At the time of her disappearance, Holly Marie Cantrell was 40 years old. She was born on December 7, 1976. She is described as 5’6”, 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
She is from McAlester, Oklahoma but briefly lived in Sacramento, California. Cantrell attended Eastern Oklahoma State College.
Cantrell got married in 2001, and has a brother named Michael Constancio, a utility technician at Pradco. He celebrated his third wedding anniversary in December 2017.
Holly Cantrell’s Kids
Cantrell has three children of her own, and two step children. All five have posted about Cantrell’s disappearance, and are helping in the search. Her 19-year-old son Trenton McClellan works at McDonald’s, and frequently posts about his mother on Facebook. In August 2016, McClellan enrolled in Carl Albert State College to study sports medicine and athletic training.
Holly Cantrell’s 14-year-old son Wesley Cantrell and her youngest son Zachary are also hoping for more news about their missing mother.
Charity Cantrell Clayton, her step-daughter, also posted about her missing stepmother on Facebook. She is an assistant store manager at a Family Dollar, as well as a breakfast cook at Holiday Inn Express. However, according to Holly’s sister and cousin, Charity and Holly did not get along with one another. Though, when questioned by police, Charity never indicated to police that there was ever any hostility between the two of them.
According to Charity’s post back in June 2017, she posted that her father Tommy was diagnosed with cancer. There are no details about what cancer and whether he is healed or not. However, according to Holly’s sister, just before her disappearance there was an argument over Tommy’s will and how he had updated it so that if he passed, everything would go to his son Michael and nothing would go to the two sons he shared with Holly. Tommy told police those allegations were not true and said that conversation never happened.
New Evidence and a Suspicious Death?
Some believe local police bungled the disappearance of Holly Cantrell. But others have taken up the cause to locate the missing woman on their own. One armchair sleuth named Luann Wooley took matters into her own hands to track down clues on what happened to Holly Cantrell.
In the Spring of 2017, Wooley gave police a recording she secretly made with her husband and an unidentified man, who claimed he heard Holly’s body had been “discarded in a well.” Police listened to the tape but decided that Wooley “talked in circles” and was an “unreliable source.” The audio on the tape was also muffled and hard to understand. Still, Luann made it her mission to study the case and get to the bottom of what really happened to Holly.
Then, in a surprising twist two weeks later, on March 24, Luann Wooley, 56, hanged herself in the family barn. The coroner ruled it a suicide but others are not convinced. Some, including her family, say they are suspicious about the timing of her suicide and question what truly happened to Luann.
Update on Holly Cantrell
Holly’s family told authorities that it is highly unlikely Cantrell would leave without telling anyone. According to her sister, “she loved her boys too much [to do that].”
In February 2017, a hunter found Cantrell’s purse in a wooded area near Lake Eufaula. It contained her ID, credit cards, her medication, and other personal affects. However, her cell phone was not there. For some odd reason, the very day Holly disappeared, her cell phone service was also cut off, meaning the police had no ability to track the device.
After police examined the purse and its contents, they decided not to log it in as evidence, and instead, returned the items to Tommy Cantrell. No one quite knows why. (The family believes this was a poor move on the investigators’ part.)
Then, in March 2018, Holly’s family found human remains (including skull fragments and green material believed to be from Holly’s scrubs) in the woods, close to where her purse was located.
The bones were sent to Texas for identification, and her family thinks they might belong to Holly Cantrell. However, it will take some time. The medical examiner expects the identification process to take a year for the bone fragments to be processed.
On May 13, 2018, Investigation Discovery explored Cantrell’s case in Disappeared: In Broad Daylight.
While authorities work to identify the human remains found, Cantrell’s family and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact McAlester Police at 918-423-1212.