Enoch Farrell Pennington Vanished in May 1987 But His Case Remained Hidden For Years

Underground Mysteries — January 27, 2023

Enoch Farrell Pennington had remained an unreported missing person from the year in which he vanished, 1987, until his siblings reported his missing, 2023. Because of the lapse of time since he has been missing, some memories his siblings hold have faded. To create awareness on this case, I helped his sister recreate his timeline, piecemeal, through record collections, general research, and input from his sister’s memories. After web untangling, I decided to annotate and shed light on this underrepresented, veiled cold case, in hope that it could bring forth clues to his whereabouts.

Enoch Farrell Pennington was just 23 years old when he disappeared under unusual circumstances. His sister, who lived in Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas at the time of his disappearance, may have been the last person to see him. She states that he traveled (possibly from his residence in Bentonville, Arkansas) to her house in Kansas for a visit or extended stay in or around May 1987. He showed up in a police car, as a police officer dropped him off. She did not ask him why an officer dropped him off. During Pennington’s visit, on an unknown date in possibly May of 1987, he and his sister’s boyfriend got in a verbal altercation. Pennington’s sister told him and her boyfriend that if they wanted to live together, that they needed to get along. (Pennington’s sister recounts that he may have wanted to stay at her residence indefinitely, but she cannot remember fully.) After the quarrel, Pennington rashly departed by foot. His sister recounts that she watched him walk away down the highway. She tried to follow him by foot, but could not catch up to him. That was the very last time she saw him. It is unknown if he had any money or identification in his possession at the time of his disappearance. He was a non-driver and typically got around by public transportation and walking; however, he was unfamiliar with Columbus, Kansas. His sister remembers that he was wearing blue jeans at the time she last saw him and that he did not have any bags in his possession, nor did he take any to her house when he had arrived. He had arrived to her house only about a week prior and left in the same clothes in which he had arrived.

Pennington’s sister believes that he may have returned to Bentonville after he left her house in Kansas, but she does not know if he lived alone at the time or if he had roommates — or if he even had a home. His living arrangements prior to his disappearance were less than stable, and he may have been living semi-transient.

Prior to Pennington’s disappearance, he had recently separated from his wife, who was due to have a baby in less than a month. He had previously been residing with his her and her father, until her father allegedly asked him to leave. Pennington’s former wife claims to have not seen him since he left her residence, which preceded his visit to his sister’s house in Kansas.

There is speculation that Pennington had a relationship with a woman named Mollie, whose last name I will keep private, around the time of his disappearance. He also had a female romantic interest named Tina. It is unknown which one, if either, he was dating at the time of his disappearance; because of how many years have passed, his sister cannot remember if they were ex-girlfriends.

At the time of Pennington’s disappearance, his sister did not have any contact with his [former] wife, as they no longer lived locally and were not tele-connected, nor did they know each other’s addresses. It was not until 2023 that Pennington’s sister and former wife finally reconnected. His sister also finally got to learn about her nephew, whom she had never met.

Both of Pennington’s parents both passed away prior to him going missing. This further added to the delay in him being reported missing; the only living relatives were siblings, whom had presumed he left on his own accord. With the internet expansion, it eventually became clear that he did not have a paper footprint of his existence since 1987.

In the months leading up to Pennington’s disappearance, he was arrested on a forgery charge. His sister believed at the time of his disappearance that he was going on the run from the police. He was due for court in a few days, and he had a court-ordered 7-day mental health evaluation scheduled at a Little Rock State Hospital, to which he did not show. His siblings were unaware that he had a pending hospital evaluation in 1987; they only learned about it after he went missing. (After they reported him missing in 2023, the detective discovered this information and shared it with them.)

Pennington’s siblings did not report him missing at first because they presumed he was on the run from the police and that he would eventually return. The police initially tried to locate him regarding his legal matter, but his charges were eventually dropped due to him never having been located.

Pennington’s siblings were also quite estranged from each other for many years after Pennington disappeared. Because the family estrangement ran strongly, they did not know if Enoch had made contact with any of the siblings, as they did not even have contact with each other. Now, in 2023, Pennington has two remaining siblings: his sister and an older brother. His other brother passed away shortly after his sister reconnected with him.

It is stated that Pennington used his stepfather’s name, “Carl Wright”, as an alias before he went missing. His stepfather had passed away in 1984, about three years prior to his disappearance.

Born on September 21, 1963, Pennington grew up in Rogers, Benton County, Arkansas. After high school, he got married and eventually moved to Bentonville.

Pennington can be described as a Caucasian male with brown hair and brown eyes. His height is around 5’6″ to 5’7″, and he weighed about 130 pounds when he was last seen. His sister states that he did not have any major dental work done and that she believes he still had all of his teeth when he went missing. He also has the following tattoos:

⚫ A tattoo on his right forearm of the initials “TM”,

⚫ A tattoo on his right forearm of a religious cross,

⚫ A tattoo on his right bicep of the name “Mollie” or the initials “MB” (hopefully I will gain clarity on this),

⚫ A tattoo on his right bicep of a bird,

⚫ A tattoo on his left arm with the initials “EFP”,

⚫ A tattoo on his left forearm of a cross, and

⚫ A tattoo of the word “love” on his left forearm.

The photo below was shared with me by Pennington’s sister, who states that her family member in Seattle, Washington took that photo. She believes that it is likely that Pennington may have traveled to Seattle after she last saw him, as she cannot recount him having ever traveling there prior to his disappearance. Because Pennington’s sister was not in contact with her relative who took that photo at the time — and now that relative is deceased — she is unable to estimate a timeframe on when the photo was taken.

I asked Penningon’s sister is she knew of his friends’ names, but she cannot recall him ever speaking of friends. She states that he only mentioned a few females, that she can recall.

Pennington’s case is an open investigation, and law enforcement officials are diligently working on trying to search for clues to his whereabouts. They were able to find that he does not have a death certificate on file under his social security number, nor has he collected any SSI/SSD benefits. They have checked extensive records, but his name does not show up in any public records since the time of his disappearance. Familial DNA has also been underway and set up by the detective for his case, which will be used to compare against unidentified remains.

Pennington’s sister plans to take a private DNA test in the future to have her DNA uploaded to Gedmatch.com, to compare against unidentified remains that are currently assigned forensic genealogy.

May 21, 1987 is the date that Pennington was last seen on a paper trail. This may be why his NamUs profile has this date listed. It may have been the very last day that he had a court hearing or legal matter to which he appeared in person. I did retrieve his old court case information, but I did not see the entire docket. The detective working on his case has sifted through all of his legal matters and determined the last date he was seen (on paper). To further clarify, Pennington’s sister does not remember the exact month or date she last saw him, but she believes it may have also been in the same month of his last court appearance, in May 1987. Pennington’s brother and former wife do not remember the last month they saw him. His sister believes that he could have seen other family members after she last saw him, but because she was already growing distant from her family at the time, she had not asked them at the time if they had seen him. It was only uncovered years later that they all realized no one had seen him. As aforementioned, Pennington’s brothers had not even seen their sister either for many years.

If you have any information on Pennington’s whereabouts, please contact Detective Lieutenant Hunter Petray at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at 479-271-1009, and please reference case number SOC22-005166.  You can also view Pennington’s NamUs profile by clicking here.

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