Judy Ann Adams, 15, was last seen 05/11/78 walking home on Victor II Boulevard from a church fair in Morgan City, Louisiana. Her body was found 05/25/78.
She was one of seven children, and is interred at Morgan City Cemetery and Mausoleum.1
Judy was last seen 05/11/78 around 11:30pm walking home from the Central Catholic High School Fair with friend Bertha Yvonne Gould, 14.
A witness observed the girls getting into a white car and provided police with a partial license plate. It led them to Robert Carl Hohenberger, 35, who worked as a welder in Bayou Vista under the alias Frank Henry Green.2
It was initially believed the girls were runaways; however, that changed when Judy’s body was found 05/25/78 with that of Bridget Cantrell Sons, 19. Both had been bound and strangled, and left in a Bayou Vista welding shop’s industrial septic tank.3 4 5
Similarities to Other Abductions
Mary Leah Rodermund – On 03/02/78 at approximately 8pm the 16-year-old Morgan City High School coed was abducted from the K&B Drugstore parking lot on Victor II Blvd. Her car was found near the K&B parking lot. Later that evening her parents received a phone call, presumably from the kidnapper, demanding $5k ransom, and allowed Mary to speak with them briefly.4 5 She remains missing as of this writing.
Bridget Cantrell Sons – On 04/27/78 at approximately 10pm the 19-year-old was abducted at gunpoint from the Bayou Vista Convenience Store during a robbery, along with Gordon Mark Cannella Jr. Her body was found in the industrial septic tank with Judy’s.4 5
Gordon Mark Cannella, Jr – On 04/27/78 at approximately 10pm the 17-year-old was abducted at gunpoint from the Bayou Vista Convenience Store during a robbery, along with Bridget Cantrell Sons. His body was found 05/27/78 by a farmer in a Calumet sugarcane field, about five miles west of the septic tank.4 5
Suspects & Arrests
Authorities believe Hohenberger, ex-California volunteer reserve sheriff deputy,6 used his badge to gain the trust of his Victims. A Louisiana warrant was issued for his arrest charging him with two counts of kidnapping and one count of murder. He fled to Tacoma, Washington where he died 05/30/78 of a bullet wound to the head. Authorities in Washington located and attempted to arrest him, he scuffled with a deputy and his .22 revolver went off shooting Hohenberger.7
Hohenberger lived and worked at the welding shop where the bodies of Judy and Bridget were found. On 05/27/78 Morgan City Police arrested Sidney Harris, 38, on five counts of accessory after the fact of felony. Authorities at the time said his arrest was linked to the kidnapping and murders, as well as aiding and abetting. He was held on a $250k bond.5 Sadly, it appears as though the charges against Harris went nowhere, as he was arrested 03/21/80 for a 03/19/80 armed robbery in Nunez. He previously served three sentences on unrelated charges at Angola.8
Although probable that Hohenberger committed the heinous acts, his death prior to questioning and/or a definitive admission to the Morgan City crimes, means this case will forever remain unsolved.
Mother Hopes to Give Innocents a Voice
Pearl Adams Mott, Judy’s mom, told media “You have to ask yourself, `What kind of laws do we have to protect our children?′ ” In 2002 she wanted to “start a support group for local families whose children are missing or who have been exploited or killed…to lobby lawmakers for more stringent laws that would ensure that child abusers stay behind bars for longer stretches… I want to give the innocent a voice.”9
Morgan City Police Department is working to solve the Judy Ann Adams case and bring her killer(s) to justice. If you have information about this crime, please call (985) 380-4605.
Please submit corrections/updates here.Submit corrections/updates here.
- Find A Grave: Judy Ann Adams, accessed 11/02/20.
- Morgan City Daily Review: Murder Suspect Search Continues, page 1, published 05/29/78.
- Morgan City Daily Review: Runaways Reported; No News on Kidnap, page 1, published 05/15/78.
- Morgan City Daily Review: Two Bodies Found in Bayou Vista, page 1, published 05/26/78.
- Panama City News Herald: Body Discovered, 2 Teens Missing, published 05/28/78.
- Alexandria Town Talk: Suspect in Morgan City Murders Ex-Calif. Deputy, page B-8, published 05/27/78.
- Muscatine Journal: Buying a second car ends in fugitive’s death, page 17, published 06/01/78.
- Crowley-Post Signal: Robbery Suspect Nailed in Nunez, front page, published 03/23/80.
- Houma Today: Kidnapping sparks local interest, published 04/07/02.