Left and Center: Ann circa, 1983
Right: Age Progressed to age 42
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 1, 1983
Missing From: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: May 5, 1971
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 5’1″ and 85 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Red/Auburn hair, Gray eyes, Ann has small moles on her lower back and facial freckles, both of her ears are pierced, Ann is a Russian Jewish immigrant and speaks fluent Russian and English, her eyebrows were light in color, she might spell her last name as “Gotliv”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A red/white t-shirt, navy blue shorts with distinctive white stripes on the sides, beige colored sneakers, Ann was last known to be wearing a pair of gold earrings with purple stones on them
NCMEC Number: 601552
Details of Disappearance
Ann Gotlib was last seen in Louisville, Kentucky on June 1st 1983. She was last seen riding her bicycle from the Bashford Manor Mall between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm. She was returning to her family’s home at the time. Ann never arrived home and was never seen or heard from again.
Her red and white bicycle was discovered propped up against a brick pillar which was located outside of Bacon’s Department Store in the mall. She was never seen or heard from again.
Earlier in the day, Ann took a bus to the Jewish Community Center to play tennis with a friend and classmate, Rachel Podgursky. After they played Tennis, Rachel’s mother dropped Ann off at her home on Gerald Court and from there she rode her bike to a friend’s home.
Her friend, Tanya Okmyansky, states that she and Ann watched the television until Ann’s mother called and asked Ann to come home. Tanya rode her bike with Ann until they neared the mall and she waved goodbye at that point. This is one of the last confirmed sightings of Ann before she disappeared.
Investigators initially believed that Ann might have left on her own accord. She was a Russian Jewish Immigrant who came fo the United States with her family in 1980. She was apparently having trouble adjusting to life in America and was also having trouble getting along with her peers. A teacher of Ann told police that she was upset because she had a birthday party recently before she disappeared and none of her classmates came to it.
Ann also was reading a book known as “Still Missing” which tells the story of a mothers anguish as she finds out her 6 year old son was abducted when he was riding his bike. In that story, the bike the child was riding was found standing up against a wall. Ann’s family has called this pure coincidence and stated she would not have run off.
Ann was looking forward to a family vacation to Michigan and Canada that she had written about in her 6th grade newspaper issue. Her family also stated that Ann would have taken her favorite possessions and money but she did neither. She also would have contacted her loved ones by now but there’s been no word from her since she disappeared.
Investigators do not believe she ran off. They have said it would be impossible for a young child such as Ann herself to leave and cover her identity and tracks for so long. There were multiple unconfirmed sightings of Ann around the country after she disappeared but none ever led to her whereabouts. They received multiple tips of potential locations and suspects in Ann’s disappearance but they never found the girl or the person responsible for her disappearance.
3 days after Ann’s disappearance, investigators used bloodhounds to search for traces of Ann. They detected her scent around a ditch near the mall and led investigators to an apartment across the street. The apartment was owned by Tanya Okmyansky’s grandmother, Ester. She stated that Ann had never visited her apartment that day and it’s likely the dog was derailed by the smell of cooking food. The Okmyansky’s have been cleared of involvement in Ann’s disappearance.
Investigators believe that Ann was abducted by a non family member. There was a theory that Ann might have been kidnapped by agents of the Soviet Union in an effort to force her family’s return to the country of Russia. This theory has since been excluded. The Gotlib’s maintain they had no information that could fuel Soviet interest upon them and they do not believe the Union to be responsible for Ann’s abduction.
In 1990, Michael Lee Lockhart confessed to killing between 20 to 30 girls including Ann. He was sentenced to three sentences of death for the murders of girls in Indiana and Florida. He told investigators that he buried Ann’s body in Fort Knox where he was stationed in 1983. The alleged burial site could not be found and investigators are unsure if Lockhart was the true killer of Ann.
In December of 2008, investigators announced that they believed Ann was murdered and have identified her killer as Gregory Lewis Oakley Jr.; He has a violet past and criminal history which includes the kidnapping and sedation of his stepdaughter. He injected her with a painkiller drug. He was charged with attempted murder in her abduction.
A few months the after Ann vanished, Oakley stabbed and attempted to rape a police officers 13 year old daughter in her own home. The attack occurred in September of 1983. She survived her injuries. He was arrested for the crime in January of 1984.
In addition to his arrest, Oakley was questioned in relation to Ann’s abduction. He stated he was not involved in any way and was also subjected to a polygraph exam which he failed. The results suggested that he likely kidnapped and murdered Ann. He made an ATM transaction at the Bashford Manor Mall just a mere hour before Ann went missing. He stated that he went on a business trip straight afterwards.
Oakley was charged with burglary and attempted rape in June of 1984. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison but was paroled on medical fields. He returned to his home in Alabama where he died to lung cancer in 2002. He was never charged with Ann’s murder.
A break in the case came in September of 2008 when a former inmate of Oakleys came forward and stated that he admitted to killing Gotlib when he injected the painkiller Talwin into her body. Oakley was a veterinarian at the time of Ann’s disappearance and would have been able to easily obtain the drug. The inmate has passed a polygraph about his statements regarding Oakley and Ann.
Oakleys girlfriend at the time stated that he came to her home at 11:00 pm on the night that Ann was abducted and told her to wash his cloths from that day. This event shows that he did not leave for a business trip that day. He’s made very odd statements in relation to Ann’s disappearance and has talked about it quite frequently.
Ann’s parents have never given up hope of finding out what happened to her and continue to seek her fate. Her case is considered open and unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Louisville Metro Police Department 502-574-7111