Left and Center: Amanda circa, 1991
Right: Age Progressed to age 24
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: December 27, 1991
Missing From: Fairfield, Solano County, California
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: May 7, 1987
Age: 4 years old
Height and Weight: 3’5″ and 59 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Amanda occasionally develops a rash around her mouth, she has light brown moles on her forehead and near her nose, her ears are pierced and she has a frail dimple, Amanda might use the nickname “Nikki”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink nylon jacket with short sleeves, a dark purple colored short sleeved shirt, purple corduroy pants, white sneakers with a pink trim, Amanda was last known to be wearing Santa Claus earrings
NCMEC Number: 763225
Details of Disappearance
Amanda was last seen in Fairfield, California on December 27th 1991. She was last known to be with her five year old brother and another boy about four houses away from her own home. She left them at some point between 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm so that she could ride her bicycle to another friend’s home.
The friend lived around the corner and approximately eight houses away from her home. She never arrived to that friend’s home and was never seen or heard from again. When Amanda didn’t return home from playing with her friends by 5:30 pm, her family began to search for her. Amanda’s other older brother, Mike, found her bicycle abandoned a few blocks away from her home later in the evening right in front of an open gate leading to a field.
It’s unknown if Amanda left the bike there herself or if she was taken off of it. Police are also unsure if the bikes location is accurate, they have reason to believe her five year old brother found it in another location and moved it to where her older brother later found it.
Investigators conducted extensive searches of the area but found no trace of Amanda. They did find a child sized blue sock. It unknown if the sock actually belonged to Amanda and there’s no mention of what type of socks she was wearing that day. The socks were found in the street near her home. Amanda’s mother stated that the sock did not appear to belong to her daughter and looked like a “boys sock.”
Search dogs were able to trace Amanda’s scent from Larchmont Drive to Oliver Road. The scent then traveled to a a nearby McDonalds Restaurant at the drive through then east on Travis Boulevard to the westbound Interstate 80 on ramp. According to reports, the scent went on for a mile before stopping.
Investigators suspect that Amanda was abducted by a non-family member. They think she was placed into a vehicle and removed from the area when she was at Larchmont Drive and Salisbury Drive.
Two days after Amanda’s presumed abduction, a motorist reported spotting her inside of a vehicle in eastern Fairfield, about six miles away from her home. He described the vehicle as a faded yellow or beige colored late-1970s Datsun B-210 Compact Sedan. He stated the girl was screaming and crying inside of the vehicle. She also appeared to be tired up. The sighting occurred around 10:15 pm.
As a result of this tip, police and FBI agents searched the area where it was reported but found no evidence of the vehicle or Amanda. The sighting, however, solidified their belief that she was the victim of a stranger abduction.
On July 23rd 1992, an unnamed nine year old girl was abducted from the Mt. George Elementary School playground in Napa, California at sunset by an unidentified male suspect driving a red or burgundy colored late model compact two door car, possibly a Nissan Sentra. She was later found in the Solano Community College in Rockville, California. She had been raped and detectives believe the crime occurred at a residence near the college. The drive after the abduction only took ten minutes.
The girl also recalled they took frequent stops, apparently at stop lights on the road. The victim was blindfolded during a large duration of her abduction and said that she didn’t hear the noise of freeway traffic around her. This leads police to believe the house she was taken to was located on the west side of Fairfield and had a two car garage. The girl stated she was abandoned by the man at the college after being driven there in an older green colored vehicle with a stick shift and green interior.
The crime occurred in the same area of Fairfield that Amanda vanished from months earlier and detectives believe the Napa abduction and her disappearance could be linked. Based on the account of the victim, a suspect sketch of the kidnapper was created and distributed following the crime. Descriptions of the vehicles used in the kidnapping and abandonment were also included.
The suspect was described as being a Hispanic male who was between 25 and 35 years old in 1992. He stood at 6 feet tall and had brown or black hair. He had a mustache and hair on his torso, chest, legs, and appeared to have a slight pot belly. The man spoke in a deep voice with no trace of an accent. He was wearing a white tank top with a red logo design on the chest and green shorts.
A man was later arrested for the Napa abduction and rape but he was later released after it was discovered to be a case of mistaken identity and it was found he could not have been in Napa at the time of the kidnapping. He was a 33 year old college student whom the girl and witnesses initially identified as the kidnapper but it turned out not to be him.
In August 1992, it was announced the suspect could also be connected to another kidnapping and rape that occurred two months before the Napa crime. On May 26th 1992, a nine year old girl was near her school in Riverside County, California when a man abducted her in front of witnesses. She was placed in an older faded blue car and taken to another location where she was sexually assaulted. She was then released at a third location.
According to police, the suspects described in both cases are very similar, both girls said the abductors had deep voices and said the man had a pot belly. The locations between the two crimes were also an hour and a half in distance. The man’s identity remains a mystery and it’s unclear if the two abductions are connected to Amanda’s disappearance.
In December of 1992, Fairfield police named a 44 year old sewage plant worker, Timothy Binder, as the primary suspect in Amanda’s disappearance. He was originally questioned in the case in January after he was seen walking out of a ditch in Fairfield but was not named a suspect at the time. According to police, Amanda’s scent was found in Binder’s car and the ravine he was seen climbing out of in January 1992 was near Amanda’s home.
After being named a suspect, police searched Binder’s home for any evidence in connection with Campbell’s abduction but found nothing to indicate she had been there. Police were also searching his home for possible evidence in four other child abductions.
Investigators believed Amanda’s abduction might’ve be connected to others that occurred before she disappeared in other towns of the Bay Area. On June 3rd 1988, Amber Jean Swartz-Garcia disappeared from the front yard of her residence in Pinole, California. She was never seen or heard from again and it’s speculated she was taken as she played with a jump rope which also disappeared with her.
On January 30th 1989, Ilene Beth Misheloff was allegedly kidnapped by unknown individuals as she walked home from school in Dublin, California. She was the oldest of the abducted children, she was 13 years old. Her backpack which she was carrying was later found in an area that had already been searched. This leads investigators to suspect her abductor(s) likely placed it there sometime afterwards.
On February 4th 1989, 14 year old Alecia Christopherson was practicing her color guard routines with a wooden baton in the parking lot of the Cherrywood Apartment complex on Decoto Road in Union City, California. She noticed that a man jogged past her twice before he came up behind her and grabbed her in an attempt to abduct her. Alecia used self defense moves to wrench herself free of the man and ran to her parents apartment.
Alecia had been taught to fight back against anyone who tried to subdue her so she was well prepared for what the man had done to her. Investigators searched for the man by feet and helicopter but found no sign of Alecia’s assailant. The man was described as being approximately 30 years old in 1989. He stood at 6’0″ and weighed between 190 and 200 pounds.
The man had shoulder length and curly blonde hair as well as a blonde mustache. The man looked as though he had been in the sun. He was reportedly wearing a green baseball cap, a white long sleeved sweat shirt with “Athletics” written on it in green lettering. He was also wearing green sweatpants as well as blue and white tennis shoes.
Investigators have noted that the man sought in Alecia’s case bears a similar description to the man who abducted Michaela just two months earlier. The attempted abduction also took place in Union City, California which is where Michaela’s abductor drove towards after taking her. It’s unknown if the man who tried taking Alecia had anything to do with the other abductions but he remains unidentified.
Several people have emerged as suspects in all of these cases. Timothy Bindner quickly emerged as a possible suspect due to his odd behavior following each abduction. Just three days after Amber Swartz-Garcia went missing, he went to Amber’s house and spoke with her mother, Kim. He told her he was searching the woods nearby for her daughter.
Kim recalls Bindner saying “I wanted to be the one who saved her.” “I wanted to be the one to bring her home to you.” Kim said she wanted nothing to do with Bindner after he said they were “looking for a dead body.” But he was persistent and continued to offer his assistance in searching for Amber after her presumed abduction.
After Michaela was abducted, Bindner showed up to the home of Michaela where he talked with Sharon. He asked her if he could help her find her missing daughter. He said he wanted to go out and look for Michaela and he even brought a map and showed the locations he wanted to go to.
After Amanda went missing in 1991, Bindner’s name once again resurfaced in all the cases. Just months before her abduction, a couple in her neighborhood contacted police and told them that their twelve year old daughter was receiving odd mail. The mail was written backwards so it could only be read in a mirror.
The letter was from Bindner and it turned out that he was writing to a lot of young girls and often sent them birthday greetings. He told authorities he did this because all the girls seemed lonely. He was questioned by Pinole Police after he was seen repeatedly visiting the grave of 5 year old Angela Jane Bugay in Oakmont Cemetery. She was 5 years old when she was abducted from the apartment she shared with her mother and brother in Antioch, California on November 19th 1983. Angela’s body was found buried in a shallow grave a few days after her disappearance.
Tim was considered a suspect in Angela’s unsolved murder for years until it was solved over a decade later. In 1995, DNA testing revealed a semen sample found on Angela’s body belonged to a 44 year old man, Larry Graham. He was arrested for Angela’s murder and charged in April of 1996.
Larry once dated Angela’s mother and had a history of sexual offenses against children. He was their neighbor at the time of Angela’s murder. In 2003, Larry was convicted of killing Angela and was sentenced to death for the crime. He took his own life in his jail cell in 2009. He is not considered a suspect in the other cases.
Bindner repeatedly denied any involvement in all the cases he was linked to and said he had never met any of the missing girls before their abductions. He stated he was deeply affected by all the cases and wanted to try and help in any way he could. However, his constant presence in these cases were not the only noticeable things that popped up in the investigations.
Bindner once wrote a letter to law enforcement and speculated that the next child to be abducted would be 9 years old. Soon afterwards, Michaela was abducted from Hayward. On another occasion, Bindner sent a Christmas card to a FBI profiler with an image of a little girl holding up 4 fingers. Shortly after this, Amanda Campbell was abducted at 4 years old.
In 1990, Binder sent a holiday card to a FBI profiler. The card depicted a child holding up 4 fingers. Amanda’s presumed abduction took place in December a year later. He later sued Amanda’s hometown of Fairfield for defamation of character due to constant badgering from the media due to Fairfield police naming him as a suspect publicly in the case. He won a $90,000 settlement in the case. Binder has never been ruled out as a suspect in Amanda’s disappearance but he’s never been arrested or charged in connection with the crime.
Police bloodhounds also picked up the scent of Amber Swartz-Garcia at the grave of Angela Bugay. This was a red flag since Bindner often visited the gravesite, some agencies say he went to that location up to 90 times a year. Police dogs later traced the scent of Amanda Campbell to Angela’s grave as well. Police considered filing kidnapping charges against Binder for Campbell’s case but blood hound evidence doesn’t hold up in court.
A Mercury News Reporter wanted to interview Bindner about the cases. He accepted her offer but requested to be interviewed at Oakmont Cemetery in the middle of the night. She picked him up at 4:30 am and he asked to play his favorite song on the car radio. The song was “Jesus, Here’s Another Child to Hold.” They drove to the cemetery per the request.
The reporter asked him why he was so concerned over the missing girls. He replied that he saw them as his old children. He stated he cried for them, prayed for them, and that he spent a lot of his time thinking about them and dedicated himself to finding them. He then said something that came as shock.
Binder was asked what he thought happened to the girls when they were taken. He replied “Well, you know, one of them was sweet and shy and didn’t say a thing, but the other went kicking and screaming.’” Then, she said, he added, “‘I’m just guessing that that’s what they would have said.’” The reporter said she got chills.
Investigators and the families of the girls believe Bindner was toying with them. He noticeably went out of his way to convince the reporter that he was involved in the abductions of the girls. At the urging of police, Kim Swartz-Garcia formed a friendship with Bindner in an effort to learn more about her daughters disappearance.
She agreed that it all seemed like a game to him. She believes he got off on taunting her and her family. At his suggestion, Kim read a book called “Crime and Punishment” in which the character who keeps showing up turns out to be the man who committed the crime in question.
Bindner has called himself a “Good Samaritan” and said he was simply trying to find the missing girls. In 1989, Bindner was given a reward of heroism by the California Highway Patrol for assisting in the rescue efforts after the earthquake.
Investigators believe Bindner might have also been involved in the presumed abduction of Tara Lossett Cossey who went missing from San Pedro, California on June 6th 1979. She left her residence to go but sugar for her mother and never returned. There’s no evidence that Bindner is involved in this case but due to the proximity in location and time period, he is being investigated in the case.
Investigators at one point believed the cases were connected to another missing California girl. On June 10th 1991, Jaycee Lee Dugard left her residence in South Lake Tahoe, California to go and wait at the bus stop for her school bus to pick her up. Jaycee was abducted by an unidentified couple who pulled her into a car and sped off. She was 11 years old at the time of her abduction.
Jaycee’s female abductor was described as being a 32 years old in 1991 who stood at 5’5″. The woman had long black hair with a dark complexion. The vehicle that was used in the abduction was described as a late model 1980 gray Ford Sedan. Jaycee’s abductors remained unidentified for many years after her witnessed abduction.
James Anthony Daveggio has been considered a possible suspect in all the abductions for many years, including Jaycee’s. He along with his girlfriend, Michelle Michaud, were charged with the abduction, rape, and murder of Vanessa Lei Swanson in 1997. Swansons body was discovered just 5 miles away from where Jaycee was taken years earlier.
Both were previously charged with a few counts of sexual assault in unrelated cases in the mid-1990s. They were both convicted of killing Vanessa in 2002 and were sentenced to death for their crimes. Investigators interviewed them both about Jaycee’s disappearance and Michaud claimed she met Daveggio in 1996 so she couldn’t have abducted Jaycee.
However, Jaycee’s stepfather Carl Probyn who witnessed her abduction said that Michaud matches the description of the woman who grabbed Jaycee. There were striking similarities between the two of them. However, federal investigators created a timeline which tracked Daveggio and Michaud’s whereabouts over the 1980s and 1990s and this information deemed it unlikely that they and abducted Jaycee.
On August 26th 2009, Jaycee was found alive and safe in Antioch, California. She had been abducted by a sex offender, Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy. She was held captive in their backyard for 18 years and was isolated so she was unaware of the widespread search for her and the two people who took her.
Jaycee was sexually abused and raped while held captive and gave birth to two girls while being held. She and her daughters have since been reunited with Jaycee’s mother, Terry Probyn. After Jaycee’s rescue, investigators noticed similarities between Jaycee’s abduction and the abduction of Michaela. They both had similar appearances.
Garrido was previously convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman in 1976. He abducted her from South Lake Tahoe, California and took her to Reno, Nevada. His photo from that time matches the sketch of Michaela’s abductor. He had long hair and prominent cheek bones which bore a striking resemblance to Michaela’s abductor.
Investigators also located a car on Garrido’s property that matches the one that abducted Michaela years earlier. In 1988, Garrido resided in a halfway house in Oakland which was a short distance drive away from the store that Michaela was taken from.
Investigators searched the Garrido property for evidence and possible links to a string of homicides that occurred in the 1990s. Investigators also looked into the possibility that Garrido abducted Michaela and buried her in his backyard but found no evidence. Police also searched the property for Ilene Misheloff and Amanda Campbell but found no evidence of them being there.
During one of the searches, investigators found a small bone fragment. The bone was tested for any viable DNA evidence but none was found and investigators concluded the remains belonged to an ancient Native American burial site. Sharon called the police following Jaycee’s recovery and noticed the similarities in the cases as well.
Katrina also called Sharon after seeing the searches of Garrido’s property and saw an old dirty car that sat on his property. She said it looked just like the one that was used in Michaela’s abduction. Investigators questioned Dugard about the other missing girls but she didn’t recall seeing any other children in the Garrido home. Investigators have found no evidence that the Garrido’s were involved in the other cases.
A man known as Curtis Dean Anderson has also been mentioned as a possible suspect in Amanda’s case. He is also considered a possible suspect in the 1999 disappearance of Karla Rodriguez. In 1999, he kidnapped 7 year old Xiana Fairchild from Vallejo, California and held her captive for several weeks before he murdered her. He’s also bragged of kidnapping 11 other girls.
In 2007 he confessed to abducting and killing Amber Swartz-Garcia. He died a month after his confession while he served prison time. He stated that he forcefully abducted Swartz as she played in front of her home and took her with him to Arizona. He stated that Amber was sedated until he murdered her in a motel room near the Tucson area of Arizona. He allegedly disposed of her body near Benson, Arizona.
No evidence was found by investigators to corroborate his confession. They initially closed the investigation into her case but it reopened in 2013. He was not been charged in Amanda’s case before his death and investigators are unsure of his involvement in the case. It’s unclear if he was questioned about any possible involvement in the Campbell case but police have not said whether they ruled him out as a suspect or not.
In January of 2001, investigators received a tip that Amanda was lured to a house in her Salisbury Street neighborhood and murdered there. They also received information that her body was buried in the crawlspace of the home. The occupants in the home in at the time did not live in the residence in 1991 but a woman named Elizabeth Young said she did.
Young stated that Amanda actually stopped by the house a day prior to her 1991 abduction and asked to play with her two young nephews who also lived in the home at one point with her and their father. The boys had moved away by that point and Young reminded Campbell of this when she stopped by. Elizabeth denies that anyone in the household at the time could’ve committed any crime against Amanda.
Young said she was in the home all of the time and did not recall anything odd. The residence is described as a tri-level white stucco house. Young also said her family helped search for the young girl after she was initially reported missing. She said she was never contacted by police about the case in 1991 or when the tip came in. Police said no one in her family was a suspect in the case. A search of the home and crawl space yielded no evidence to support she was killed there.
In July 2023, Fairfield police reopened the investigation into Amanda’s cold case disappearance and announced they were looking into a new possible suspect in her abduction. 83 year old David Zandstra, a former pastor, was arrested and charged with the 1975 abduction and murder of eight year old Gretchen Harrington. She disappeared while walking to Bible School on August 14th 1975 in Marple Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Gretchen’s abduction garnered vast media attention and the search for her continued until two months after her disappearance when her body was found in Ridley Creek State Park. The medical examiner found her cause of death to have been the result of two or more blunt force injuries to her skull. Zandstra was the pastor at the church that neighbored Harrington’s church where her father was a pastor.
Zandstra was considered a close friend of Harrington’s family and even participated in search efforts for her shortly after her abduction. A break in the case finally came when a witness told police they saw Gretchen getting into a vehicle along Lawrence Road. After his arrest, Zandstra admitted that he invited Gretchen into his car on the morning of her disappearance and then asked her to take off her clothes. When Gretchen refused, David beat her to death before leaving her body in Ridley Creek State Park.
He faces charges of criminal homicide, murder, kidnapping of a minor and the possession of an instrument of crime. He was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia on July 17th 2023 for Gretchen’s murder and is currently awaiting court proceedings. Due to the nature of his crime and the fact that Zandstra has been free since killing Harrington in 1975, police have tracked his movements across the country to see if he could be linked to anymore cold cases.
According to reports, Zandstra was living in Fairfield, California at the time of Amanda’s 1991 disappearance. He was a pastor at the Fairfield Christian Reform School in 1991. While police are unsure if Zandstra was behind Campbell’s disappearance, the connection has not been dismissed and California police have asked for help from Pennsylvania and Georgia state police to determine if he could’ve been involved.
At the time of her disappearance, Amanda had just celebrated Christmas with her family. She had gotten a bunch of dolls and a new doll house as presents and her family said she had an amazing holiday that year. Her family said she has owned her bicycle for a year by the time she vanished and knew the area well. She also knew where to go and where not to go. Police and her family suspect she is deceased and hope she will be found. Her mother and siblings have since moved away from the area. Amanda’s abduction remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Fairfield Police Department 707-428-7355