The Parkersburg Police Department has identified a person and vehicle of interest in relation to the disappearance of Gretchen Fleming.
The 27-year-old was last seen in the early morning hours of December 4, 2022, at the My Way Lounge & Restaurant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She was reported missing to the Parkersburg Police Department by her family on December 12, 2022. Gretchen’s story was featured earlier this week in Dateline’s “Missing in America” online series.
On December 29, Dateline spoke with Parkersburg Police Chief, Matt Board, who provided an update in Gretchen's case. "We have a person of interest that we believe has information in regard to this case pertaining to Gretchen," Chief Board said. "This person, we know was at the My Way Lounge the evening that Gretchen was there and we have cause to believe Gretchen left with this person." Chief Board told Dateline that in order to preserve the integrity of the case, the authorities are not releasing the person’s identity at that time.
The chief urged anyone who was at the My Way Lounge into the early morning hours of December 4, 2022, or frequents the establishment, to reach out if they believe they have information that may help move the case along. "Our investigators are still actively sorting through all of the tips,” Chief Board said.
Gretchen’s father, David Fleming, told Dateline last week that the community has been very supportive to their family during this tough time, and that he is extremely grateful to Detective J.M. Zimmerman, who he says is “working around the clock” on Gretchen’s case. He stressed to Dateline that he just wants to let the Parkersburg Police do their jobs to help find his daughter.
Chief Matt Board reached out to Dateline on December 30, 2022, with further details in the case. He confirmed that the unnamed person of interest is the last person the Parkersburg Police Department can definitively determine Gretchen was with the night she disappeared. According to the chief, video surveillance from the My Way Lounge shows Gretchen and the person of interest exiting the establishment together.
He stressed that it is possible that something happened following their interaction, but "in regard to our investigation, that's the last person we can put her with through an admission -- through a statement of his own."
Chief Board said the person of interest told authorities that he provided Gretchen with a ride that evening. The video from the lounge does not show anyone getting into a car. "His story is that she departed prior to arriving anywhere, and then his story became inconsistent," Chief Board said. He added that the person of interest is offering police no further information.
Through additional footage acquired around the Parkersburg area, the Parkersburg Police Department was able to identify a car that they believe drove towards the person of interest's residence that night: A Black Nissan Rogue 1. There is no license plate on the car, but there is a Pittsburgh Penguins plate frame. There is also an "OBX" sticker on the upper right side of the back window and a Darth Vader sticker on both the left and right sides of the car.
Chief Board shared photos of the vehicle with Dateline and encourages anyone from the area who has video surveillance, to go back and review it if they're able to. "Whether it be at a business or residence, whether it's close to the downtown area or not," he said, the police would like to see it.
The chief specifically asks that people review footage of the early morning hours of December 4 through the evening hours of December 5, 2022 to see if anything that looks like the vehicle pictured can be seen.
Chief Board also confirmed that there is now a reward of up to $15,000 being offered. A reward of $7,500 is being offered to anyone for substantial information leading to the current physical location and return of Gretchen. A separate reward of $7,500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in Gretchen's disappearance and/or physical harm to her. Anyone involved in, or assisting anyone, involved in a criminal act against Gretchen Fleming is not entitled to recover these rewards. If multiple individuals are entitled to receive a reward, the same shall be paid pro rata, meaning the total amount to be paid on each reward is $7,500. The Parkersburg Police will have input into the approval of awarding any reward. All decisions are final and to be made at the sole discretion of those facilitating this reward.
Gretchen is between 5’ and 5’2” tall and weighs 100-120 lbs. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She is now 28 years old.
Anyone with information regarding Gretchen’s case is asked to contact Detective J.M. Zimmerman at (304)-424-1072 and reference case number P2207164.