Left and Center: Kimberly circa, 1985
Right: Age Progressed to age 35
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: September 3, 1985
Missing From: Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: September 5, 1969
Age: 15 years old
Height and Weight: 5’6″ and 115 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Kimberly has a few freckles that go across her nose and the top of her cheeks, she also has a mole beneath her navel and a small scar under her left eye, Kimberly’s ears are pierced and she has two holes in each ear, she is known to wear eyeglasses and her hair is said to be dark in color, she might use the alias names of “Kimberly Foster” or “Kimberly Cormier” and her nickname is “Kim”
NCMEC Number: RCMP0400101
Details of Disappearance
Kimberly was last seen in Saint John, New Brunswick on September 3rd 1985. She was reportedly last seen at the Atlantic National Exhibition for a fair that took place in the east end of Saint John. She was with her younger sister, Tammy Raynes, and two of their friends during the night. However, Tammy had to leave early due to a court ordered restriction. She would have to leave a few hours earlier than Kimberly. They both walked to the bus stop together so Tammy could return home and they both parted ways afterwards. Kimberly said she was going to stay and watch the fireworks.
Kimberly’s mother expected her to be home by 11:00 pm which was after the fireworks were to be over. But Kimberly never returned and was never seen again. Her mother became concerned when one of her friends came by the house looking for Kimberly. She contacted police station to report her daughter as missing. Her friends stated Kimberly left them at some point to run a quick errand and said she would be right back. She never came back, however. Police initially suspected Kimberly was a runaway and officially labeled her as such. She previously ran away a few times and most of the time she would be helped by Tammy when packing and such.
Kimberly would always tell at least one of her siblings where she planned to go when running away. She would also have a friend tell her siblings that she was okay. For example, Kimberly’s friend would call the Amero house and Tammy would answer depending on whether her mother was present or not, Kimberly would take the phone and say she’s okay or have her friends say it for her. She would also send someone to Tammy’s school and would reassure her that she was okay. Kimberly also always returned home whenever she ran off.
However, according to Tammy, Kimberly had a plan to runaway on or before her 16th birthday and she would be gone for good. She initially made a plan with one of her friends to run away but that friend later became pregnant so the plan backfired. Another friend came forward and told Tammy that she and Kimberly had a plan to run away for good on the night of the fireworks. The friend had a bag packed and they arraigned to meet at a bus stop. The friend said that Kimberly never showed up to the designated meeting place.
Her family was initially unconcerned by her absence since she was known to run off and also might’ve simply been hanging out with friends. Kimberly was said to be happy and in good spirits around the time of her disappearance and she was looking forward to her 16th birthday which was happening two days after her disappearance. She was also seen having a fun time on the night she disappeared. Her family didn’t believe she left on her own accord when she disappeared, especially when she didn’t return home for her birthday. According to those who knew the family, no one had heard from Kimberly since her disappearance.
The police were said to be negligent at first and didn’t do much of anything to search for Kimberly when she first went missing. When she was first reported missing, the police said to call them in a couple of days if Kimberly didn’t show up. She never returned home, however, and there’s no indication that she ran away. However, there were strange events to follow Kimberly’s vanishing that would almost make it seem like she did indeed run away. In one instance, Tammy received a phone call the day after Kimberly went missing. The person on the other end asked how all of Kimberly’s family members were doing except for her mother.
Tammy expected the call to be the usual welfare type phone call where Kimberly would confirm she’s okay and will return eventually. As the call continued, Kimberly’s mother walked into the room and asked who Tammy was speaking with. Tammy didn’t know who she was speaking with either so she asked but she got no answer. She did hear a noise on the other end which sounded as muffling. It sounded like the person had the phone to their chest. The person then hung up the phone and never mentioned Kimberly during the call.
The day after the phone call, Tammy was at school when someone came up to the fence which was common when Kimberly left. However, she noticed the person wasn’t someone that Kimberly normally hung out with or had relay her messages to her sister. Tammy described the man as wearing an old, 1970s studies leather jacket with a large collar and she recalls he might’ve been wearing cowboy boots as well. She noticed the man was looking at her through the fence and she assumed he had a message for her from Kimberly. But when she asked the man what he was doing, he said that he was doing nothing.
She then told him to go away but he did nothing and continued to stare at her. Tammy said that when recess concluded, she looked back at him and he was still standing there and looking at her. It’s unclear if the man and the phone call are linked to Kimberly’s disappearance but they were strange enough to be discussed in regards to the investigation. No sketch or drawing was ever made of this man and he hasn’t been positivity identified as of currently.
Investigators have received numerous leads and possible sightings of Kimberly over the years. In 1999 or 2000, convicted serial killer, Michael Wayne McGray, confessed that he allegedly abducted and murdered Kimberly in 1985. He claimed he took her from the fair before murdering her and burying her remains on the Kingston Peninsula which was located between the St. John River and the Kennebecasis River. Some agencies state that authorities searched the area by digging but found nothing.
However, Jaymee Splude, whose been investigating Kimberly’s disappearance for quite a few years states it’s unclear if police even dug in the area that McGray said she was buried in. According to Kimberly’s family, McGray drew a map that allegedly showed where he recalled burying her remains. It’s possible police dug in the area and stopped because they found “evidence” that McGray was in jail when Kimberly went missing or that they simply couldn’t find her and the dig was too costly. He wasn’t in jail when Kimberly went missing apparently.
McGray began a ten year murder spree on May 1st 1985 when he murdered seventeen year old Elizabeth Gale Tucker. Elizabeth left her mothers home in Dartmouth to take a job at a fish plant in Church Point and disappeared. She was hitchhiking in order to reach her destination and had received several rides that day before being dropped off at the train station in Weymouth, Nova Scotia. There, she accepted a ride from McGray and an Unidentified male accomplice. They were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana when they picked her up.
They offered her marijuana and drinks but she refused. She also avoided their sexual advances and began screaming to be let out of the truck. McGray then offered her $50 for oral sex. When the accomplice stopped the truck, McGray pinned Elizabeth down and stripped her of her jeans, shirt, and jacket. When he couldn’t do anything to her since she was resisting, he became enraged and pulled out a single edged locked blade knife and began stabbing her in the side. She was killed in a wooded area.
McGray and his accomplice got another drink of rum before disposing of the body. He pulled Elizabeth’s jeans over her lower torso and tossed her into a nearby bush without attempting to conceal her remains. Her body was discovered by a hunter five months later but an investigation turned up no evidence of who was responsible for her murder. McGray was caught for the crime in 1999 when he told a cellmate that he had murdered the girl. The cellmate went to police and informed them of the confession.
McGray was charged with killing Elizabeth in May of 2001 and plead guilty to the crime. He was given an additional life sentence for her murder. McGray was also convicted of killing 59 year old Robert Assaly whom he met at a gay bar in Montreal, Canada on March 31st 1991. Robert was a retired school teacher at the time he was murdered. He was bludgeoned and stabbed to death in his home on Nuns’ Island.
On April 1st 1991, McGray also met 45 year old Gaetan Ethier at a gay bar in Montreal. Gaetan was stabbed to death in his home in downtown Montreal. McGray was on parole at the time of the murders and was due to be back in prison shortly afterwards but he ans her to elude authorities for two months and was eventually returned to prison in May of 1991. The murders of Assaly and Ethier struck fear in the homosexual community in Montreal.
On February 28th 1998, McGray murdered Joan Hicks and her daughter, Nina in Moncton. McGray had spent that day using cocaine and said he felt an irresistible urge to kill another person. His girlfriend at the time was at Joan’s home at the time. He went to the residence and sent his girlfriend away and then proceeded to choke Joan against a wall. To ensure she was dead, he slit her throat with a bread knife. He killed Nina by choking her with a rope and then hanging her in her closet with the rope.
McGray was arrested in March of 1999 for the murders of Joan and Nina Hicks. He was convicted of murdering Joan Hicks on March 20th 2000. He was charged with Nina’s murder initially but the charge was stayed because he denied killing the child and said that another man present at the house was responsible for that portion of the crime. He was also sentenced to twenty years in prison for the 1991 murder cases.
Investigators believe McGray was also responsible for the 1986 murder of another gay man in Saint John. On April 13th 1986, James Lloyd Beyea was found stabbed to death during the early morning hours behind a provincial building in the south end area. He was 43 years old at the time of his death. McGray’s was previously a suspect in this case since he targeted homosexual men. He was not charged with the crime even though an inmate recalls him making statements about this murder.
On November 14th 1987, McGray and two accomplices robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint in Saint John. After the police arrived at the scene, the body of one of the accomplices, Mark Gibbons, was found on Market Square. He was brutally stabbed to death. McGray and the other accomplice, Norm Warren, were arrested. Warren was originally charged with Gibbons murder but a jury trial later found he was not guilty of the crime. McGray was not charged with the murder but was convicted of his part in the robbery and was ordered to serve a five year prison sentence.
McGray later confessed to being responsible for Gibbons murder and was convicted of the crime. He is also considered a primary suspect in the 1995 murder of Brenda Way. She was found with her neck slit open in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on November 12th 1995. This was revealed in 2019 but McGray has not been charged with this crime. In fact, Ways boyfriend was originally convicted of her murder and served 17 years in prison for the crime before being released in 2012.
In November of 2010, McGray murdered his cellmate, Jeremy Phillips, at the Mountain Institution medium security prison in Agassiz, British Columbia. McGray claimed that Phillips invented a fake hostage scenario where McGray would tie him up and Phillips would be taken to the infirmary. McGray initially complied with the plan but ended up strangling Phillips. He was 33 years old at the time of his murder. Lawyers of Phillips family didn’t believe this scenario to be true because he was about to be released on parole. Other inmates claimed that Phillips previously requested to not be housed with McGray but officers denied his request.
After Phillips murder, a coroners inquest stated that serial killers should be in single housed prison cells. In 2012, McGray was moved to the Ste-Anne-Des-Plains institution which is reputed as Canada’s highest security prison.
Jaymee has attempted to contact McGray so she could corroborate that he indeed admitted to killing Kimberly but he didn’t wish to reply to her. She along with a psychologist who helped her to understand why he would refuse to reply believe that McGray likely heard about the disappearance when it first occurred and falsely admitted to her murder for the notoriety and attention that comes with it. Investigators have not publicly stated whether he’s still a suspect in the case or not.
The investigation into Kimberly’s 1985 disappearance has been heavily criticized because of the lack of action taken when the girl initially disappeared and it appears that valuable evidence has been lost through the course of the investigation. However, Jaymee and Kimberly’s two siblings, Tammy Raynes and Ed Amero, continue to seek her whereabouts and hope for a break in the decades old case. Jaymee created a podcast named “Finding Kim Amero” and has gone into depth about the case. Following the podcast, amateur sleuth Joseph Worden has dedicated many hours to trying to locate Kimberly or an answer to her disappearance.
It is now believed that Kimberly was abducted and murdered by someone she knew. For many years, the Amero family and others have received disturbing letters which reveal the alleged details of Kimberly’s abduction, captivity, attempted escape, and her subsequent murder. One person in particular who received a letter was Kimberly’s cousin. However, the original letter which was was given to the Saint John Police in 1996 was only typed out and the secretary who typed out the letter threw away the original letter away in the trash.
The letter was also filed away with Kimberly’s missing persons report with no follow up or investigation into it whatsoever. On October 14th 2009, Kimberly’s family received yet another letter regarding this matter. It was from the same person and in the letter, there were directions to a cassette tape with additional details about Kimberly’s alleged murder. So, Kimberly’s family went to the supposed area to find the cassette. The area was actually where the exhibition took place. The cassette was later found underneath a bush.
In the cassette tape, the individual who sounded like a man, gave specific locations and community names as to where Kimberly was held hostage for approximately five weeks. It also gave details as to how Kimberly attempted to escape her captor and how she died at the hands of this individual. The man in the cassette was later identified as Randolph “Randy” Manuel after his daughter listened to the tape. He lived in Saint John at the time of Kimberly’s 1985 disappearance and actually lived just across the street from where the Exhibition took place.
In his letters, Randy claimed he was a psychic and stated that he had connected with Kimberly’s spirit on multiple occasions in the years since she went missing. He at first said he wrote the letters and made the audio tapes in order to help Kimberly’s family locate her remains and give them closure but his letters never led them anywhere. He apparently watched the Amero family look for the cassette across the street from his home with binoculars. He claimed that he connected to Kimberly through his young grandson at times. The first time this occurred, his grandson was only nine years old.
In the tapes, Randy made some inappropriate comments about Kimberly. At one point, he said that his grandson was able to actually see and hear Kimberly and that she was in the room with them. Randy asked his grandson to tell Kimberly to touch him to confirm her presence and he claimed that Kimberly touched his knee. He also said how Kimberly was such a “sweet” girl and how he wished she was his daughter.
After it was confirmed through his daughter that Randy was the one in the audio cassette, she and her son took him to the police in order to ensure he told them what he allegedly knew about Kimberly’s disappearance and death as well as the location of her remains. Authorities noticed how Randy’s daughter and grandson appeared to not care how he was being treated but just that he gives them whatever information he knew. They asked if Randy would’ve been capable of harming Kimberly and his daughter said yes. She then told them how Randy molested her and committed unspeakable acts against her when she was seven up until sixteen.
Randy was charged with sexual assault after this. He denied that these events took place but he was convicted of the charges against him. The judge described the events he put his daughter through as “monstrous offenses”. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was too he listed on the National Sex Offender Registry for 20 years and was ordered to have his DNA registered on the National DNA Data Bank. He was also prohibited from owning a fire arm for a decade. He only served ten months in prison before being released.
It was discovered that Kimberly actually babysat Randy’s daughter a few years before her disappearance. The babysitting, however, occurred at the child’s mother’s residence since Randy and his daughters mother were divorced. Investigators have stated that in addition to his denial of molesting his daughter, Randy refused to be given a polygraph regarding Kimberly’s disappearance. He was asked four different times if he was willing but he isn’t and he refuses to speak on the case.
In the letters and tapes, Randy stated that Kimberly was held against her will in a cabin in Upham, New Brunswick on Robinson or Robertson Road for five weeks after her alleged abduction, up until early October of 1985 which would mark hunting season. According to his “abilities” as a “psychic”, he was able to tell that Kimberly was held in a cage like structure in the basement of the cabin which belonged to the Jarvis Homestead. Randy said that he used to frequently hunt in the general area that Kimberly was being held in.
He says he remembers which cabin that Kimberly was held in. He also remembers a green vehicle on that property, this is the car that Kimberly’s alleged kidnapper tricked her into. According to his visions, Kimberly was mainly held in a cage located in the basement of the cabin. Randy said that one day, while he was hunting nearby, her heard a loud but cutoff scream. The scream was apparently halted mid-way. He gave differing and quite inconsistent statements about the scream. He once said he didn’t think much of it but then said it bothered him significantly afterwards.
He would go on to state that Kimberly apparently managed to escape the cabin when her captor got distracted and attempted to run up the hill towards him but that she was too weak to out run this man and he managed to catch her and hide before Randy could actually see them. When Randy claimed that his grandson was a conduit for Kimberly, he was told that Kimberly had been killed after getting hit over the head with a club. He then buried the body and burnt down the cabin to cover up the crime (a cabin on the property did burn down in October 1985).
Randy gave specific locations as to where Kimberly’s remains might be. When the cassette and letter came in 2009, Kimberly’s family went to Upham to search for the location. They knocked on doors and one man answered and said “I’ve been waiting for years for this.” The man went out to his truck and reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a small piece of paper with Randy’s name on it. He stated that he was having coffee with friends a few years back at the Irving. He chatted about hunting up near his home in Upham.
The man stated that all of a sudden, one of the guys said out of nowhere “Isn’t that where that missing girl Kim Amero went in and never came out?” The man said he was unnerved by the comment and jotted down the name of the man who turned out to be Randy. This is what led to Randy being identified on the tape by his daughter, who is good friends with the Amero family. Kimberly’s family has tried tirelessly to get the land searched for any possible trace of her. But the land owners have refused access to the land and the RCMP hasn’t gotten a warrant.
It isn’t very clear as to why Randy has been sending these letters and audio tapes for so many years. It’s been suggested that he might’ve been trying to absolve himself from any possible involvement he might’ve had in connection to her disappearance but this doesn’t make any sense because Randy wasn’t connected to the case until 2009 and he appears to have began obsessing over Kimberly’s disappearance shortly after it occurred. He’s also given inconsistent and otherwise untrue statements about the case as well. He at one point claimed that the last time Kimberly was seen, she was getting into a car with two or three people.
Randy’s children and his grandson believe he is guilty of Kimberly’s abduction and murder. At one point, they reportedly found a tin or a small wooden box hidden in Randy’s house and it contained a pair of broken glasses and a lock of hair. He tried to say that the hair was from his daughters first haircut but she denied this and said that he wasn’t present for her first haircut and the hair itself was a different color. The glasses appeared identical to the ones Kimberly was known to wear but it’s unknown if this is true and the police have not searched his residence. It’s not known if he’s a suspect or not.
At the time of her disappearance, Kimberly was described by those who knew her as a social butterfly and was said to be energetic. She was a ninth grade student at St. Joseph’s School in 1985. Her disappearance has heavily impacted her searching family and the community. They and the many people like Jaymee Splude and Joseph Worden who have helped in the search for Kimberly hope for answers in the case. They hold annual vigils and walks in her memory.
Kimberly’s disappearance remains unsolved. Some agencies might classify her as an endangered runaway but she’s presumed deceased and foul play is suspected in the case.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Saint John Police 506-648-3304