Mom still haunted by missing girls

Cindy, Jackie never came home on July 31, 1974

Erma (Leslie) Prue of Kingman holds pictures of her daughters Jackie (left) and Cynthia, who disappeared on July 31, 1974. AARON ROYSTER/Miner

Erma (Leslie) Prue of Kingman holds pictures of her daughters Jackie (left) and Cynthia, who disappeared on July 31, 1974. AARON ROYSTER/Miner

KINGMAN - All Erma (Leslie) Prue of Kingman has had since her daughters have disappeared is hope, prayer and persistence.

Prue's efforts have led her missing daughters Cynthia "Cindy" Leslie and Jackie Leslie to be added to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children database, on ShopWise cards sent via mail to the community, and she has personally posted signs at law enforcement stations throughout the state.

"I just keep praying that someone sees a picture and remembers something that they forgot on July 31, 1974," Prue said.

The brown-haired, blue-eyed sisters have been missing since that date. Prue has kept every newspaper clipping where she has tried to get the word out about Cindy and Jackie.

"It would be wonderful if they were alive," Prue said. "I just don't know. I just want to know what happened. I'm sure someone knows what happened."

The Leslie family moved from Page to Desert Sands Mobile Home Park in Mesa in June 1974 after they found out that Jack, the patriarch of the family, had terminal cancer. Phoenix had the facilities to treat him.

"The girls always wanted to be with their father," Prue said. "They loved their dad dearly and I'm sure they loved me."

Prue said the girls loved water skiing and their father often took them to lakes.

Being summer, Prue's three daughters, Linda, Cindy and Jackie, hadn't started their classes but quickly made friends in the neighborhood.

According to Prue, the phone consistently rang the morning of July 31 for Cindy.

The note

Later in the evening, Erma and Jack went to church around 6:30 p.m. and left the girls under the care of Erma's mother.

Cindy, who was born on Feb. 21, 1959, and Jackie, who was born on Feb. 15, 1961, left later that night and left a note for their mother. "Mom, went to babysit at same place - Cindy -N- Jackie."

Prue said they might have gone to a party at a friend's house three blocks away from their home. The parents at the friend's house were not home at the time.

"I don't care what those people tell you," Prue said. "They had to have shown up with all those phone calls."

Prue also noted that the phone didn't ring once after the girls had left.

One of the girl's friends said they saw the girls at the party briefly. Others in attendance said they never saw them there.

Prue said that she didn't know about the party but would have taken them to it. She said in the short time since they moved there she always drove her daughters around with their friends and let their girlfriends have sleepovers whenever they asked.

"I guess they made friends a little too fast," Prue said.

Prue said her mother told her that neither girl brought any extra supplies when they left. Cindy, who is near-sighted, didn't even bring her glasses or wear her contacts.

"First thing she did every morning was put her glasses on and she'd put them down before she went to sleep." Prue said Jackie used to always brush her hair. She remembered her mother telling her that Jackie had taken her white hairbrush in the hip pocket of her Levi jeans when she left.

When Prue came home from church with her husband, she fell asleep on the couch in the living room. She woke up around 1:30 a.m. and noticed the girls weren't home and woke her husband.

"We didn't know anyone," Prue said. "You could call law enforcement, but they wouldn't do anything for 24 hours. Back then, there were no Amber alerts."

The news of the girls missing didn't hit the television news until Saturday, three days after Prue had last seen them.

Jack and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies combed the nearby cherry orchard but couldn't find anything.

"The girls' dad did so much to find them," Prue said.

Jack passed away the following year of the cancer without any knowledge of what happened and where the girls were.

"There's been a lot that's been going on for 32 years and there's nothing found," Prue said. "It's just heart-breaking."

Search continues

She has outlived careers of investigating detectives put on the case. Though they may be lacking the manpower to find the answers Prue is looking for, she continues her efforts.

"I don't want it closed," Prue said in reference to the case on her missing daughters. "I have tried to keep it open, tried to get the information out."

Prue has reached out to national and local groups, Arizona senators and law enforcement agencies in attempts to get the word out about her missing daughters.

"I'm praying that they would put it on America's Most Wanted or something nationally," Prue said.

Prue's daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughters have been supportive of her and her search for Cindy and Jackie.

"My granddaughter went with me to Alexandria, Va., to the NCMEC headquarters and told them, 'If anything happens to my grandma, the case is still open because I will continue on for her,'" Prue said. "She (her granddaughter Leslie) sure has been a lot of help to me."

Prue's support increased when she remarried. They had been married for close to 30 years before her second husband died of kidney failure on July 13, 2005. Prue described him as being supportive and helpful in her quest to find her daughters.

She has consulted a psychic who aided the Los Angeles Police Department and a Native American medicine man in hopes of finding answers. Neither could locate the girls, but both gave Prue hope by saying they were alive.

"I, myself, personally, don't feel like they're dead," Prue said. "I think they're alive. Maybe it's because I haven't seen them dead."

Anyone with any information concerning Cynthia or Jackie Leslie should contact The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 or the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at (602) 876-1011.

"I'll never give up hope and I will never give up looking for them," Prue said. "And I'll never stop trying to find out what happened to them as long as I have a breath in me."