Annita Maria Musto-Price

“We just want to find our mom. It’s been 42 years, and we want to be able to put her to rest properly, and we just want answers.”

It was around 8:45 pm on May 5, 1974, when 27-year-old Annita Price left her apartment on 4th Street in Benwood, WV in order to go to work at the Flamingo Club. (I was able to locate an address, if this is, in fact, the same club, of 1446 Marshall Street, also in Benwood. It may possibly be named Undo’s Little Italy now.) She was driving her boyfriends early 70’s model AMC Gremlin, and although the drive would have only taken her around 4 minutes… she never made it.

The next morning, the AMC Gremlin she was driving was located along State Route 2 at 12th Street in Mc Mechen, Wv. (Which completely by-passed Marshall Street.) Also, just for the sake of being thorough, State Route 2 is the major north/south thoroughfare along the Ohio River between Moundsville and Wheeling, WV.

There were no apparent signs of a struggle. Her purse and wallet were found in the car, along with some of her makeup which was found lying in the seat.

Three days later she was officially reported missing. Since that night, there has been no record of her social security number being used.

At the time of her disappearance, Annita was going through a bitter divorce and custody battle for her 2 children. After she went missing custody was given to the children’s father, Leonard. He never really spoke about Annita with the children, always choosing to tell them that she ‘left and didn’t want anything to do with them anymore’; and if the children spoke about their mother, they were punished… At the time, LE said there was no evidence linking him to her disappearance.

Also, I just want to note that her boyfriend at the time was cooperative with the investigation and was cleared of being a suspect.

Leonard has since passed, and with his passing the children, who are now grown were finally able to reunite with their mothers side of the family, and together they’re hoping to find answers.

I actually did reach out to the daughter, but she wasn’t open to speaking to me at the time. If she ever decides she wants to, I will be right there to listen to whatever she wants to say.

In 1974, LE did a very cursory investigation into Annita’s disappearance, and when I say cursory, I mean they didn’t even look at the car she was last known to be in. I’m sure at the time they said ‘she’s an adult and can walk away anytime she wants to‘, which sadly is the case in many early disappearances. Thankfully her case was officially reopened in 2009.

There has been many tips over the years. In 2002 one came in that suggested she’d been shot with a small caliber handgun and then buried along Route 2. Danny Swiger from the WV State Police: “We excavated in an area south of Moundsville, the tip indicated the body was buried under power lines running parallel to W.Va. 2 – but we found nothing.”

In 2016 another tip came in about her remains possibly being located near the CertainTeed Gypsum Plant in Proctor, WV, which is around a 20-minute drive along State Route 2 from where the car was located.

Annita’s family members along with crews from the Center for Missing persons, WVU Forensic Department, WCU Forensic Archeological, criminal studies departments, Scott Wheeler Development, Tyler County Search and Rescue, and volunteers from Ghent and Mount Hope fire departments and teams of cadaver dogs came in to do a search.

The dogs had been run through the area several times, and always indicated at the same location. A dig was started but soon had to be postponed as they ran into a problem with a drain that would need to be relocated in order for them to continue. They’re still trying to raise the funds to have the drain re-routed, a gofundme page is located HERE if you feel like lending a financial hand.

All in all, I feel like the husband is probably the best route to take in this case. I may be completely wrong, but the fact that he’d punish the kids if they mentioned Annita is a big indicator to me. Surely a loving father with nothing to hide, wouldn’t chastise his children for missing and wanting to know what happened to their mom? Right?

If you think you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Annita Maria Musto-Price, please contact the Crimebusters Tipline at 1-800-862-BUST, West Virginia State Police 304-329-1101.

The Charley Project
Crimewatchers
WTRF
WTOV9

Leave a Reply