Still few answers over year after missing Portsmouth mother found dead

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Since Katie Barham’s death nearly a year and a half ago, her father says her pictures are too difficult to see.

“I’ve had these pictures turned down for a couple of years because I can’t look at them every day,” David Barham told News 3.

He remembers her smile.

“There’s no words to describe. There truly are not enough words to describe that feeling,” he tearfully told News 3.

{Courtesy: Barham Family)

{Courtesy: Barham Family)

He’s now a man in search of answers: What exactly happened to Katie?

“I’m just sitting here in limbo with nothing going on. It’s a cold case, and it’s probably shoved to the back drawer. I’m very mad about that,” he said.

Katie Barham disappeared on May 27, 2015. Days later, her boyfriend, and father of her children, Rich Fegan, showed us the laundry room where he says Katie was washing clothes that night.

She never came home.

“I think someone took her, I know that she wouldn’t leave,” Rich told News 3 a year and a half ago.

For days, family and friends hung flyers throughout her apartment complex, but no leads.

Almost two weeks later, police found her body under a tarp, just a short walk from her apartment.

“When her remains were found, we took a hit. And we’re still taking a hit,” David said.

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David Barham

He blames the Portsmouth Police Department.

“They missed their window. They had 13 days. They may have been able to save her, or find out the ‘why,’ the ‘why’ would give you the ‘who,’ but they dropped the ball entirely on that. I’m really not a fan of Portsmouth police,” he said.

Katie’s body was found in the woods off Tejo Lane 13 days after she disappeared. When police found her, she was badly decomposed. The medical examiner was never able to determine a cause or manner of death.

Portsmouth Police admit they didn’t put a detective on the case until several days after Katie went missing. David says those days could have been a crucial time in finding her body.

The department refused to answer our questions on camera, but wrote us a response on why it took so long for a detective to be assigned to Katie’s case.

“Unfortunately, people who are not often reported missing are not missing, and do not want to be found at that time. An investigator was assigned to her case as soon as she was actually determined to be missing,” a spokesperson with the Portsmouth Police Department wrote.

“It makes me feel like my daughter was unimportant,” David said.

David says he has suspicions about what happened to his daughter, but no one has ever been charged.

Police tell News 3 they have a person of interest, but it’s considered a cold case.

“Her being laying in the woods, covered up with a tarp shows a sign of either regret, remorse, or compassion,” David said.

So, now, a year and a half later, pictures are hard to see – and answers are hard to come by.

Previous coverage:

Missing mother’s memorial taken down

Medical Examiner: Cause, manner of death for Portsmouth mother undetermined

Neighbors raise questions over missing mother, nearby homeless people

Lack of answers in missing mother’s death puts neighborhood on high alert

Body found Wednesday confirmed to be missing Portsmouth woman