Left and Right: Katherine circa, 1982
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 12, 1982
Missing From: Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: April 9, 1970
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 4’10” and 90 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Hazel eyes, Katherine is diabetic and insulin dependent, her blood type is B, she might use the nickname “Katie”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink t-shirt
NCMEC Number: 1156378
Details of Disappearance
Katherine or “Katie” was last seen in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 12th 1982. She was allegedly kidnapped from a sleepover and has never been seen or heard from again. According to reports, on July 11th Katherine asked her parents if she could have a sleepover with a friend, Tammy Gates, at her home located in the 2700 block of McElroy Drive. Her parents initially told her no but she begged to go and eventually got their approval.
In the late afternoon her father, Alan, drove Katherine to her friends home. The two had slept over together previously and were close friends so the Worsky’s felt they had no reason to worry. They never saw Katherine again after that night. Katie was discovered as a missing child the next morning. At 5:30 am Tammy’s mother, Carrie, called the Worksy residence and asked where Katie was and if she was there. Her parents immediately knew something wasn’t right.
Her parents called the police when they helped search the Gates house and found no sign of their daughter. By 7:00 am, the house and area was considered a crime scene. Investigators believe Katie was abducted from the home at some point between midnight and 5:30 am by someone she did not know. They quickly came up with a suspect in her disappearance.
The suspect Glenn Haslam Barker was 23 years old in 1982. He worked at a local gas station which Katie’s father frequently visited for coffee and cigarettes. Glenn had never actually met Katie prior to the night of her presumed abduction. Alan said he immediately knew something was wrong with Barker when he first saw him at the scene.
Investigators immediately suspected Barker since he had a romantic relationship with Carrie Gates prior to Katie’s disappearance. The relationship had ended by July of 1982. He admitted that he was the last person to see Katherine that night before she disappeared. He claimed he last saw Katie, Tammy, and Tammy’s little brother Eddie when they went to bed. He also admitted that he brought a six pack of beer to the home and he gave one to Katie and Tammy. Tammy later said they had more.
Barker said he read Eddie a bedtime story and tucked him into bed. He said he additionally checked on Katie and Tammy before leaving at 12:30 am. Investigators do not believe his story is real.
For days that followed, many people including police and volunteers searched for any signs of the missing girl. They searched woods, rivers, and areas that vultures landed in with no result. There were multiple areas named where her body might be located but none panned out. They still had Barker as their primary suspect.
Investigators were able to get Barkers permission to search his apartment. His apartment was located in the Hessian Hills Apartments on Georgetown Road. Inside, police discovered wet and blood stained clothing and towels stuffed between the mattress and box spring inside a cooler. Barker was there during the search and appeared shocked at the discovery.
Investigators had no viable testing such as DNA to prove the blood on the clothing matched Katie. They were able to determine that some of the blood belonged to Barker whose blood type was A. Katie’s blood was not typed before her disappearance. In January of 1983, her parents were able to find menstrual blood from Katie on her bed and turned it over to authorities. Her blood type was B, this matched the blood found in the apartment.
Several days after the initial search of his apartment, investigators searched again feeling they had missed something. Investigators found a pair of girls panties rolled up in socks in Barkers dresser drawer. There was a small spot of blood on the panties where Katie got her insulin injection.
Charges were initially not filed since the attorney didn’t want to rush charges at the time. On January 29th 1983, Barker was arrested charged with Katie’s abduction and murder. Investigators theorize that after Katie and Tammy became intoxicated, he carried the child to a downstairs living room and attempted to molest her and that she resisted and fell. Blood drops matching Katie’s blood were found on the carpet and coffee table on the room.
The trial went on for 6 months. Multiple people including Katie’s parents, the Gates family, and investigative persons testified against him. Forensic experts stated that hair found in Barkers car matches Katie’s hair and her scent was detected in the car by trained dogs. Barker even threatened police within days of the child going missing. Apparently, an officer warned a girl that Barker had been seeing about his criminal past and she left him as a result. This angered him greatly.
On July 28th 1983, Barker was convicted of 2nd degree murder in relation to Katie’s presumed murder. He was not charged with 1st degree murder because no evidence proved her murder was premeditated. He was sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison. He was paroled after 9 years in prison and released. He was arrested again in 1993 for illegal possession of a firearm after a pellet gun was found in his vehicle. He served an additional 6 months in prison for the crime before being released.
Katie was not Barkers first victim. In 1981, he was arrested after he abducted a teenaged girl at knifepoint. He knew the girl and admitted the crime. He plead guilty to assault but was released from prison prior to Katie’s murder. There’s been insistent rumors that Katie’s body was buried under a building known as Hardee’s at Pantops. The building was under construction at the time. This has not been confirmed and there’s no way they can search it.
Barker has also been mentioned as a possible suspect in other missing persons cases and murders. He has never been charged with any other deaths besides Katie’s. Up until his death in 2014, Barker maintained his innocence in her kidnapping and claimed police set him up and placed the bloodied clothing in his apartment to frame him.
At the time of her disappearance, Katie was the middle child of her family and had a close relationship with her father. She always wanted to go with him on fishing expeditions on Chesapeake Bay and she was adored by both her parents. Her family lived in an apartment in the Four Seasons subdivision off Rio Road.
Katie’s body has never been found but foul play is suspected in her disappearance and she’s presumed dead.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Charlottesville Police Department 434-970-3280
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children