Unsolved So. Oregon: The Vanished

MEDFORD, Ore. — “It’s the attack of the most innocent that we have in our community is children,” said Detective Brandon Amaya, Medford Police Dept.

A little girl vanishes on her way to school never to be seen or heard from again.

Her disappearance, now a 42 year investigation.

“When you have family members that obviously love their child and there’s no answers. That haunts people for their whole lives,” said Det. Amaya.

It was December of 1978.

6-year-old Christie Farni was living in a foster care home in Medford.

Her father was facing allegations of child abuse; he was later cleared.

Farni was only at the foster home for two days before she disappeared.

“These cases are very rare when you have a young child like that be seen one day and the next day they’re gone,” he said.

Det. Amaya says Farni testified in front of a grand jury hours before she disappeared.

At around noon, the 6-year-old was last seen walking down the steps of her foster care home all alone.

She’d never make it to school.

“It was several blocks that she’d have to walk North and several blocks that she’d have to walk South,” said Det. Amaya.

Police searched the neighborhood from the 100 block of North Peach St. all the way to Jackson Elementary School asking if anyone saw or heard anything.

It was all in an attempt, Detective Amaya says, to narrow down a specific block where Farni vanished.

But investigators had no such luck.

“Sometimes in other cases there may be a witness that saw someone luring the child in to a vehicle or into a house and in this case there was zero witnesses that saw what happened to her or even gave a lead to where she potentially might be,” he said.

Several family members were questioned.

Farni’s father took two lie detector tests before passing away in 1994.

To this day, Detective Amaya says there’s no evidence any family members were involved.

“It appeared that both parents loved Christie Farni, loved their kids, and it may have just been a little disciplinary issue that may have gone too far,” said Det. Amaya.

In the late 80’s, investigators travelled as far as Texas after a man confessed to abducting and killing Farni.

His name, Henry Lee Lucas.

Today, Lucas is the subject of a popular Netflix documentary called ‘The Confession Killer.’

“Henry Lee Lucas had admitted to killing hundreds and hundreds of people and during that time, officers and detectives from all over the nation were going to interview him but there were some major credibility issues with Lucas and his statements,” said Det. Amaya.

Convicted murderer Manuel Cortez was also known to prey on young girls.

In 1979, Cortez abducted and murdered two young girls at Southern Oregon University.

He’s now serving two life sentences at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Cortez has denied any involvement in Farni’s disappearance.

“It’s unknown if he was in the area of December 14th when Christie Farni went missing, but he did have ties to the Rogue Valley,” said Det. Amaya.

No suspects, no leads, no witnesses.

It’s a case that’s been passed from detective to detective, each hopeful they’ll break new ground and bring loved ones answers.

“As time goes on neighbors pass away, family pass away, so it makes it a difficult case to investigate,” said Det. Amaya.

So, what happened to Christie Farni?

Does she have a new name, new family, and no memory of her past life?

“There have been cases where kids have been abducted and more or less brainwashed about their early lives and so you never rule that out as a possibility,” said Det. Amaya.

Or was Farni abducted by a complete stranger.

Her fate, more grim.

“If a malicious act of abduction and murder usually follows with a child abduction, whoever did that knows,” said Det. Amaya.

Christie Farni’s disappearance is the oldest missing child case in Medford.

There are no new leads and no new suspects.

If you have any information contact the Medford Police Dept. at 541-774-2250.

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