Missing Since 04/11/04 from Maury County, Columbia, Tennessee

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Photo of Amber Elizabeth Cates at 16-years-old.

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Amber has naturally brown hair but was known to dye her hair lighter at times. According to one of the last people to have seen her alive, she had purchased hair-dye the day of her disappearance.

Amber Cates, then 16, was a teenage girl who grew up in Spring Hill, TN and moved frequently to several States including Georgia and Texas before ending back up in Tennessee where she settled down in a foster home.

According to family and friends, when Amber hit her mid-teens she started rebelling and hanging out with the wrong crowd. She would drink and even occasionally experimenting with drugs, so it wasn’t a surprise that when she went missing in 2004, police considered her just another runaway. However, many who knew the missing teen immediately knew this wasn’t the case.

On April 11, 2004, Amber was seen leaving her mother’s Maury County home with a male friend, James Gordon.  She was supposed to go on a two-day Spring-break trip but when she failed to return a missing persons report was filed with Maury County Sheriff’s Department. Gordon was questioned and he told police that the two of them left her mother’s Tracy Lane home in his car, a gold Mazda. They stopped at a store so Amber could purchase hair-dye and then she met-up with another male friend, Ronald Inzurriaga, who is also known by his street name “California” Inzurriaga.

Authorities tracked down Inzurriaga in an Alabama prison where he was serving time for an unrelated case. He told them he picked up Amber and the two hung out for a short while and during that time the two stopped at a store where Amber purchased hair-dye and he dropped her back off in Columbia with another guy who he didn’t know.

MCSD  were at a dead-end and brought in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help aid them in this case but despite the added help, this case remains unsolved.

  • Some reports say James Gordon became Amber’s legal guardian several days before she disappeared while other reports say the teen’s sister was her legal guardian.
  • Amber never used her Social Security account number
  • She had a driver’s license, but there’s been no record of any infractions.
  • Some websites list Amber Cates as “Endangered Runaway” but she is considered “Endangered Missing” by both the police, FBI and major missing children websites like NCMEC and Charlie Project.
  • NCMC1110243 Amber’s National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Case (ID) Number.

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Age-Progressed photo of what Amber Cates may look like at 22. She will be celebrating her 24th birthday in several days on 02/03/13
Date Of Birth: February 3, 1988
Age Then: 16 Age Now: 24
Height: 5’5″
Weight: 100-125 pounds
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Hazel
Race: Caucasian
Gender: Female

Case Number: 2007-C-02299

Amber Cates Missing FBI Poster is posted on the FBI website which also has contact information for anyone with information regarding the case.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to please contact:
Maury County Sheriff’s Department at 931-380-5733 or 931-388-5151
and/or
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 
1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)

Source:
FBI Website
Charlie Project
NAMPN
Project Jason
NCMEC