COLD CASE: Chico mother seeks answers in daughter's death

Mar 10, 2016 11:27 AM by Cecile Juliette

"She was very smart, very warm hearted. A good person." Gretchen Ring holds a cardboard display, filled with pictures, cards, and concert tickets, showing glimpses of her daughter's Heidi's life in Chico. Gretchen says her daughter, 37 years old when she disappeared, was troubled. She says Heidi battled physical ailments, like migraines and seizures. She was also bi-polar, and very sensitive, which compounded her problems. Heidi was on many medications as a child and into her adulthood. "Her blood was like this chemical soup, I swear," says Gretchen. She was also prone to emotional outbursts. So when Gretchen learned Heidi was using meth, she because distraught. "It was like a snowball headed for Hell...As her mom, it was like watching a 3-year-old playing in traffic and not being able to do anything about it."

In the Spring of 2005, when Heidi disappeared, Gretchen says her daughter was hanging around with drug users, and was staying at the Torres Shelter and Jesus Center. Despite her situation, they kept in touch often. When Heidi went missing, Gretchen says she went to Chico Police, and set out with her two other adult children, following up leads, trying to find her daughter. She even hired a private investigator, depleting her resources. Says, Gretchen, "When a child goes missing, you throw all the money you have at it, and then you throw a lot of money you don't have at it."

Finally, in 2012, Heidi's skeletal remains were found in Ord Bend Park in Glenn County. She was positively identified through DNA. Finding Heidi's remains brought little comfort to her broken-hearted mom. She says, "How is it better, knowing that she's dead, and is never coming home? How is that better?" She says her one goal is now to find out how Heidi died. Gretchen believes she was either murdered, her body dumped in rural Glenn County, or there was some sort of accident. "She could have been doing drugs and started having a seizure and died, and they thought, 'what are we going to do?' and dumped her body. That could have happened also...I need to know what happened. I hope before I die to know what happened to Heidi. That's my goal."


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