Cold Case File: Ara Johnson missing from Big Sandy, Texas

BIG SANDY, TEXAS. SEPTEMBER 26, 2020. COLD CASE FILE. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. HELP SOLVE A MYSTERY. When a child goes missing, a community springs into action to help find the child. Even after all these years, police in Texas have not given up hope in helping find a child who was 5 years old at the time of her disappearance.

For over 34 years, police officers in the state of Texas have exhausted all leads in the search of a missing child.

On April 2, 1986, the family of then 5 year old Ara Denise Johnson contacted police for help locating their child.


When law enforcement officials go to the family residence to investigate, they noticed the door of the family's home was open and Ara's orange bedspread was missing.

Officials noted that there were no signs of forced entry and that no immediate persons were found to be suspects.

The map above in the link is the general area where Ara was reported missing. Please note that the map is automatically generated from Google and the blue and red markers on the map are local landmarks and businesses created by Google. The red and blue markers are not an indication of an exact location of where someone went missing.

The initial investigation found no sign of strangers in the area.

As a result of their investigation, law enforcement investigators then began to believe that Ara was abducted by someone that knew the family and their habits.

Ara was born on March 26, 1981 and at the time of her disappearance, Ara was described by police as a 5 year old black female with curly black hair and brown eyes.

In 2020, she would be 29 years old.

She stood 3 feet 0 inches tall and weighs about 39 pounds. When last seen, she was wearing panties and was wrapped in an orange bedspread.

Ara, who had nicknames of Niecie and Neecee, had two lower front teeth missing at the time of her disappearance. Her back right molar tooth also had a silver filling.

If you have five seconds, copy and paste this PL8PIC link to social media, make a public post, tag several friends, and use the hashtag #FindAraJohnson to help this alert go viral. You never know. You might just help save a life.

If you have seen Ara or have any information about her case, please contact Detective Wayne Young with the Upshur County Sheriff's Office at 903-843-2541 and reference case number #8704-04. As always, your tip can be anonymous.


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Additional information about this case is updated at the bottom of this page.

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Ara is also registered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Her report number is #NCMC601780 and can be found below.

Have you seen this child? Ara Johnson

Missing From: BIG SANDY, TX. Missing Date: Wed, Apr 02 1986. Child was last seen in her bedroom at home, in Big Sandy, Texas, at approximately 1:00 A.M.

The Texas Department of Public Safety also lists Tara on their website.

TxDPS Missing and Unidentified Persons Online Bulletin

Missing Persons Home Page Search Missing Persons Database View Printable Poster Circumstances: Ara was last seen in her bedroom at home at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Lastly, Ara is also registered with the FBI in their National Crime Information Center with NCIC case number M7875311715.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC) | Federal Bureau of Investigation

The National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, has been called the lifeline of law enforcement-an electronic clearinghouse of crime data that can be tapped into by virtually every criminal justice agency nationwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It helps criminal justice professionals apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen property, and identify terrorists.