Missing Mother: Amber's Story
My name is Amber Simmons, I am 15 years old and I lived in Paris, TN my whole life- until recently. My mother, Rachel Conger, went missing when I was 13 years old. For over 10 years, I witnessed my step father, Paul Conger, abuse my mom. I have seen him hurt her in many ways like, choking, hitting, slapping, and holding guns to her head. He had threatened many times to kill both my mother and I.
We never thought anything like that would actually happen. My mom and I were best friends and I shared everything with her. She was taken from me by someone I loved and trusted. About a month before she went missing- my mother and my step father got into a huge fight- she had learned to just let him yell but he took it to far this time. I had two friends over and he was threatening to kill me and my mom’s two pregnant dogs. He kicked us out that day. My mother had been working in Clarksville TN, so she got all of our things and she took them to a friend’s house. I stayed with one of my friends in Henry County so I could still go to school. We found a house in Como, TN. I was so happy to finally get out of that house and away from him. We were doing so well on our own while he was barely able to buy food for himself.
That is when he decided he needed us back in his life. My best friend lived down the street so I was always at her house and she was always at mine. On March 12th, 2008 I had been hanging out with a few friends that lived close to me when my mom came home in her friends truck- apparently she was borrowing it because she had been given a couch. Her car was still in Clarksville. Paul was with her, I had gone out of my way to give him a dirty look and be rude to him. They got the couch in and she told me she had to go over to his house to get some of her things. I was going to church that night so I was said okay. I went to the church down the road and when my friend and I were walking home I tried calling my mom a few times- she didn’t answer so I went ahead and went to my friends house. Finally, at around 9:30 I got her on the phone but Paul answered. I asked to talk to my mom and he asked to "borrow" her for a night. Of course, I said no and asked to talk to my mother. That made him mad and when she got on the phone she sounded like she had been crying. I told her, "I want you to come home momma." She told me she would come get me.
When they pulled up to my friend’s house, I saw he was there and it made me so mad. I gave him dirty looks the whole time. When we got to my house he decided he needed to go take a shower. While he was gone my mom told me what was going on she said that he said if we didn’t let him in our lives then he would burn the house down with us in it, then she told me if I heard anything during the night to crawl out of my window, run to my friends house and call the police. Then she told me I will always love you no matter what happens. I had to walk to my friends house and get my cell phone charger. When I came back he was at the house so I quickly went to bed, not wanting to see him.
When I woke up on March 13th, 2008 my mother was not there. The bed was unmade, dishes were in the sink, and the back door was open. All of those things were very unlike her. I figured she had went to town to get something or maybe Paul was making her take the truck back and say he didn’t need his help anymore. She had told me to call her friend Doug and let him know the situation, they were NOT involved in any way other than friends he just wanted to help us out. So I started calling all of my mom’s friends after calling her for the 10th time with no answer. Doug hadn’t seen her and thanked me for the heads up, none of her other friend had seen her either, so I decided to call Paul no answer form his cell or house phone. I called everyone I knew and no one had seen either of them.
I decided to get dressed and call my friend to come over when she got there, I told her everything. We watched a movie, frequently calling my mom with no luck. Around four o’clock my friends mom took me to town, I went to my dad’s house to see if he had seen her and of course he hadn’t so I went to the police to file a missing persons report. I was so scared. They put out an APB (all points bulletin) to look for the license plate number of the truck that they were in, they couldn’t find it.
Around 11 that night I still hadn’t heard anything so I called my dad and grandma to come get me. We got my two dogs and I stayed with my grandma that night the next day they stared flying helicopters and searching for them both. They found the truck that Friday with my mom’ belongings in it like her phone and purse. On Sunday, they found my step father dead of a self inflicted gunshot wound. They continued to search for my mom with no luck.
Over the summer of ’08 I held a car wash, bake sale, yard sale, and a benefit concert to raise money to bring in search teams. I rose about 6,000 dollars in the end. I was able to bring in two search teams, United Response Search and Rescue, and The Cue Center for Missing Persons. I am so grateful to them for their efforts but my mother is still missing. I have had two candle light vigils and one balloon release. It will be two years since I have seen my mother on March 13th. I know she could never leave me because we were best friends and she loved me more than anything else. I lost my Mother at 13 years of age and I haven’t been the same since. I need closure and answers. So far I haven’t got them but I hope one day I will have them.
Thank you for your time,