After three years, Taos woman still missing

Private investigator explores clues she may still be alive including sightings in other states

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 5/20/19

Monday (May 6) marked three years to the day since Holly White, a former manager of the Taos Center for the Arts, was reported missing in Taos, but the private investigator hired to find her said …

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After three years, Taos woman still missing

Private investigator explores clues she may still be alive including sightings in other states

Posted

May 6 marked three years to the day since Holly White, a former manager of the Taos Center for the Arts, was reported missing in Taos, but the private investigator hired to find her said recently she believes White could still be alive.

“I’ve had a strong feeling she might be alive because there have been so many sightings of her in different places,” Elaine Graves said in an interview in late April.

She rattled off a list of places where people have reported sightings: Durango, Colorado; Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; among other locations.

That’s quite the reversal from a year ago, when Graves said she was convinced White had been murdered. Another popular theory is that White jumped to her death, since her blue Ford Escape was found parked at the Río Grande Gorge Bridge rest area after she went missing.

Although Grave’s opinion has shifted over the past year for other reasons she was not willing to disclose, she’s not ruling out the possibility that White is, in fact, dead, and that her body just hasn’t been found.

White’s disappearance is one of the more well-known mysteries that has captivated Taos County residents in recent years.

A tall, green-eyed, blond-haired woman, White was reported missing on May 6, 2016, just a few months before her 50th birthday and weeks before she had planned to relocate to Albuquerque to join her husband, Jeff White. She had a job lined up in the city. A farewell party was planned for her at the TCA, where she had worked for 22 years, but she ultimately didn’t show for either engagement.

The morning she went missing, White had been scheduled to go for a walk with her close friend, Cynthia Arvidson, but missed that as well. After White’s vehicle was found near the Gorge Bridge, law enforcement and river guides conducted multiple searches, but couldn’t find her body.

Many more searches have been conducted since – in the gorge and elsewhere around the county where tips have come in – but they’ve all been unsuccessful.

If White did jump from the bridge, Graves said it would likely mark the first time that a jumper’s body has not been recovered from the gorge, an anomaly in a long history of jumpers.

Over the past three years, Graves has also traveled to faraway parts of the country, following up on alleged sightings of White where her missing person poster has circulated.

But as those tips continue to lead her to dead ends, Graves keeps returning to one strategy she believes could still hold answers regarding White’s whereabouts: DNA testing, a method that has solved many cold cases over the years.

While the case remains with New Mexico State Police, which has tested fingerprints on White’s vehicle that turned up negative results, Graves said she is now working with a new partner whom she says has the means to assist her with testing for White’s DNA and possibly other people who could have been involved in her disappearance.

While Graves would not name who that partner is, she said they are looking to test several items found left behind in White’s home, along with a black shoe similar to one White had worn that was found in the Río Grande after she went missing.

Graves is actively looking for tips, and said she will also soon post White’s missing person information to a billboard in Taos.

To submit a tip, Graves can be reached at (575) 613-3415 or on the Find Holly White Facebook page at bit.ly/2PQVOSM.

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