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Sandra Powell

A pregnant woman vanishes after witnessing her friend's murder a year earlier

  • Last updated: October 29, 2023
  • South Bend, IN
  • March 11, 1987

Overview of Sandra Powell

Sandra Kay Powell was 16-years-old when she witnessed the murder of her friend. A year later, and four months pregnant, Sandra vanished from her northern Indiana home. Is Sandra’s disappearance connected to the murder she witnessed?

Sandra Powell was a student at Washington High School, in South Bend, Indiana where she lived with her mother in 1986. She was 16-years-old and four months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. The events leading up to Sandra’s disappearance are peculiar.

“I try to go along day by day just thinking that she's out there some place. Everybody says give it up and admit she's dead. But I don't do that. I still have hope.” Sandra’s Mom, Francis McCoy

One year before Sandra goes missing

The year prior to her disappearance, Sandra found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. On June 8, 1986, Sandra witnessed a drive-by shooting that took the life of her friend, Wayne Mack.

On July 11, 1986, Donald Peck and his brother Bobby were arrested for the murder of Wayne Mack.  Deputy Prosecutor, Richard Nussbaum worked the case and believed that Mack's death was related to a murder that happened a year prior.  On June 21, 1985, Henry Lee Jones, Jr, had an argument with Carl Lee Wells. The argument ended when Jones shot Wells three times in the back.

According to several articles printed in the South Bend Tribune,  Wells was Donald and Bobby Peck’s half-brother. Mack was Jones’ brother.  Mack was scheduled to testify in the trial of Henry Lee Jones.

A few months later, Sandra testified at Wayne Mack's murder trial. Many of the witnesses who testified received threats before and during the trial. Some witnesses were kept in protective custody but it is unknown if Sandra was one of the protected witnesses. In the end, Bobby Peck was convicted of murdering Wayne Mack. His brother Donald was acquitted of all charges and released. On September 28, 1986, Bobby Peck was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

The day before Sandra goes missing

The night before she vanished, a friend told police that Sandra received a call from an unknown individual. The friend claimed she did not want to 'eavesdrop' and therefore, she did not know who Sandra was speaking to or what they discussed. The details surrounding Sandra's disappearance are limited. It has been reported that Sandra and a friend went out to the YMCA or a health spa, got separated, and Sandra has never been seen again.

The day Sandra goes missing

Sandra was last seen while out in the evening with a friend, but the two got separated in the busy environment. After Sandra didn’t make it home that night, her friends and family were worried, noting that Sandra had no spoken or known intention of not returning home considering all of Sandra’s personal items and her money were back at the house.

Unfortunately, police were quick to rule Sandra’s disappearance as a runaway; ruling a victim’s case as a runaway is one of the most damaging classifications because it often requires extra effort from the family to search for their loved one, limits law enforcement involvement, and results in little to no media attention. As a result of law enforcement classifying Sandra’s case as a runaway, her dental records were never collected and have since been lost because of the amount of time passed. However, the Doe Network does have familial DNA on record.

Where the case stands today

Sandra’s case remains unsolved, but her family has never given up. Even though there’s no current legal or judicial closure, Sanda’s investigation is not without movement. In 1997, the police received two tips:the first tip implied that Sandra was an adult film actress. The second tip from 1997 was suggested by someone who knew Sandra. This unnamed individual told police that they saw Sandra in an episode of Soul Train. Unfortunately, neither of these tips yielded any new information on Sandra’s case.

At the time of her disappearance, Sandra was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 130 pounds, and was four months pregnant. She had black/dark brown hair, brown eyes, and several chipped teeth. Both of Sandra’s ears were pierced and she has a scar on the right side of her neck.

At the time of her disappearance, Sandra was devastated because the father of her child had recently told her that he wanted to marry another woman. However, many questions still linger in Sandra’s disappearance including: Could the baby’s father know more information about her disappearance? Who was Sandra’s unknown caller? Did Sandra know the individual who might have kidnapped her? What happened to her unborn child? Could Sandra still be alive?

If you have any information pertaining to Sandra Kay Powell’s case, please contact South Bend Police Department (574)-235-9201.


  1. Date Missing:March 11, 1987
  2. Birthday:March 15, 1970
  3. Current Age:54
  4. Age at Incident:16
  5. NAMUS Number:MP6539
  6. Race:African-American / Black
  7. Gender:Female
  8. Height:5'5"
  9. Weight:130 lbs
  10. Hair Color:Black

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