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Crime News Cold Justice

Authorities Zero in on "Obsessive" Ex-Boyfriend 25 Years After Texas Woman Vanishes

Kelly Siegler and Abbey Abbondandolo join the Beaumont Police Department in their investigation into the mysterious 1999 disappearance of Kimberly Langwell. 

By Jax Miller

It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since 34-year-old single mother Kimberly Langwell vanished, and authorities in Texas are a giant step closer to getting her loved ones answers.

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Kelly Siegler teamed up with Homicide Investigator Abbey Abbondandolo and headed to Beaumont, Texas — about 80 miles northeast of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico — to investigate Langwell’s 1999 disappearance. They joined investigators from the Beaumont Police Department (B.P.D.), including Detective Heather Wilson, Lieutenant Mitch Sliger, and Sergeant Jesus Tamayo.

“Kim was really pretty with a magnetic personality,” said Siegler. “She raised her 15-year-old daughter, Tiffani, on her own, and after recently ending a relationship, she had a new boyfriend, and she was excited about the next chapter of her life.”

Tragically, as covered by Cold Justice, airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen, Langwell would never be seen again.

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Kimberly Langwell never made it home

Kimberly Langwell featured on Cold Justice episode 707

On July 9, 1999, Langwell planned to meet her new boyfriend, Ken Weatherford, and her teen daughter after returning from her job at a local chemical plant. She left work at 5:00 p.m. and called Tiffani about 15 minutes later, explaining she had to stop at the home of her ex-boyfriend, then-42-year-old Terry Rose, but expected to be home at about 6:30 p.m.

According to Det. Wilson, Langwell told her daughter she planned to help Rose hang up boards as part of a home remodeling project Rose had undertaken.

When Langwell failed to return home that evening, Weatherford traced the route Langwell would have taken. He found no sign of his girlfriend, but he found her lone car in the parking lot of an Eckerd pharmacy, Langwell’s purse and keys still inside the vehicle.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that Kim stopped at the drug store on her way home and was abducted by an unknown suspect,” Abbondandolo told Cold Justice. “But the investigation always centered around the known suspects in her world.”

A Look at the Ex-Boyfriend

Ken Weatherford, Langwell’s current boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, was quickly ruled out as a suspect. But investigators looked into two others, including Rose, whom Langwell lived with for seven years. Rose managed a wrecking yard and towing operation in Beaumont, and he and Langwell broke things off about six months before Langwell vanished.

Sgt. Tamayo said witnesses called Rose “infatuated” and “obsessed” with Langwell. It was also documented that Rose once admitted to slapping Langwell across the face.

“Apparently, [Rose] had an affair with one of Kim’s friends, which prompted the breakup,” according to Det. Wilson.

Though Langwell and Rose broke things off, Rose regularly gave money to Langwell, perhaps as a means of continuing a relationship with his ex. Not only did he give Langwell a phone, but he’d also gifted her $500 to take a trip to Cancun, Mexico, which Rose purportedly believed was with a group of female friends.

But before the Cold Justice team looked deep into Langwell and Rose’s post-breakup interactions, they investigated Langwell’s coworker, then-49-year-old Frank McCormick. McCormick worked as one of Langwell’s supervisors at the chemical plant, a married man with a reported “obsessive crush” on Langwell, according to Det. Wilson.

In 1999, McCormick sent Langwell numerous love letters, which Langwell left with a friend for safekeeping. 

Family and friends on Terry Rose

Abbey, Local Law enforcement And the Victims Boyfriend featured on Cold Justice episode 707

Wilson and Tamayo paid a visit to Langwell’s now-adult daughter, Tiffani McInnis, who lived with Langwell’s sister, Susan Butts, following Langwell’s disappearance. She recalled the first few years being the “hardest,” describing the pain of reaching milestones throughout her teenage years and early adulthood without her mother by her side.

When asked about Terry Rose, Tiffani said, “I didn’t want him around.”

“I had a huge problem with Terry, and she knew that,” Tiffani said. “He would be forceful with her to let her know that he can be in control, so I was uncomfortable with him.”

According to Butts, Rose was upset because he lent Langwell $500 for the Mexico holiday, a trip Langwell said she planned with her girlfriends from work. Instead, she took the trip with her new boyfriend, Ken Weatherford, and Rose caught wind of her alleged deception.

Later, Weatherford sat with Det. Wilson and Inv. Abbondandolo, explaining he and Langwell met at work had been dating for three months before she vanished. Weatherford said they’d just returned from Cancun and remembered Langwell wearing a Cancun shirt on the day she disappeared.

“She didn’t want to be around [Rose] anymore, she told me that,” said Weatherford.

Friends, including Terry Griggs Bowers, said they knew about Rose’s possessiveness over Langwell.

“Terry was always hounding her,” Bowers said. “I mean, he would not let go… I know that he intimidated her a lot.”

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to 40 Years for Financial Crimes: "I Am Filled With Sorrow"

A Deeper Dive Into an “Obsessed” Boss

Investigators said McCormick penned numerous letters to Langwell, many of which McCormick professed his love. McCormick even offered to set aside thousands of dollars so that Langwell and Tiffani could take a trip to Europe.

However, McCormick had an alibi: receipts from 1999 placed him at a local grocery store. Even in interviews with Cold Justice investigators, McCormick confirmed that he purchased chips and other items for a poker game he’d hosted, an alibi supported by witnesses.

McCormick admitted he had “a little” crush on Langwell, claiming he couldn’t remember writing the letters after so many years. 

“I think his emotional response was odd, but there was nothing that came from the interview that led me to believe that he had any part in her disappearance,” Abbondandolo told Cold Justice.

Cold Justice interviews Terry Rose

Investigators retraced Langwell’s steps and looked closer at where her car was discovered at the Eckerd parking lot, despite Langwell never entering the pharmacy. They also visited Rose’s former residence — which doubled as his wrecking yard business — where one worker reported seeing the victim’s car on July 9, 1999, at 5:50 p.m.

By 6:20 p.m., Langwell’s car was no longer there.

“If Terry killed Kim in his home, he would need to get rid of that car quickly to avoid suspicion,” said Inv. Abbondandolo. “As an experienced wrecker driver, Terry would have access to a tow truck, the skills to hook up a car quickly, and transport it inconspicuously the short distance to the Eckerd shopping center parking lot.”

Rose initially told detectives that at the time of Langwell’s disappearance, he was home alone before heading to The Corner Pocket pool hall at around 9:45 p.m. The pool hall shared the same parking lot as the Eckerd pharmacy, where Langwell’s car was found.

Abbondandolo called it “one hell of a coincidence.”

Investigators reminded themselves that Langwell made no mention to her daughter about stopping anywhere else besides Rose’s home. Since the pharmacy was off Langwell’s regular route, Abbondandolo said they could “eliminate the theory” that an unknown assailant abducted Langwell.

Did “a perfect storm” drive Rose to kill?

Siegler and company spoke with Langwell’s close childhood friend, Ingrid Dunn, as well as Dunn’s mother, Esther Randall.

“He [Rose] seemed to be a very nice guy, but then as time went on, he just started getting kinda crazy, possessive… It was just kind of a toxic relationship,” said Dunn. “She finally had enough, and she knew it was time to go.”

Randall, who was like a mother to Langwell, said something similar. She added that Langwell tried to leave Rose on multiple occasions and that Rose would physically prevent her from walking out the door.

“He told her all the time, ‘If you leave me for anybody else, I’ll kill you,’” Randall said.

Randall stated that on July 9, 1999, Langwell called her to say she planned to stop at Rose’s house to pick up some of her jewelry and belongings. Randall told Langwell not to go, but she did so anyway, allegedly claiming it’d been some time since she felt pestered by Rose.

Investigators theorized Rose resented Langwell for using the $500 to go to Cancun with Weatherford and was perhaps triggered by seeing her in the Cancun shirt when picking up her things on the evening of her disappearance.  

“It sounds like the perfect storm, signaling to Terry that Kim might have moved on,” according to Siegler. “That may have pushed him over the edge.”

The team visited Terry Rose, though the suspect kept his answers short, as seen in bodycam footage published by Cold Justice. It appeared to detectives that he was trying to “dodge” them by trying to drive away from his new wrecking yard as investigators approached.

Rose denied any argument between him and Langwell.

“She wasn’t angry or nothing like that,” said Rose. “Once we broke it off, I figured just leave her alone.”

Contradicting his 1999 statements when Rose claimed Langwell visited him to help hang up boards for his home remodeling project, Rose told Cold Justice Langwell stopped by to pick up her belongings. He also denied lending Langwell $500 for Mexico, which also contradicted the claims of Langwell’s sister, Susan Butts.  

He further denied ever slapping Langwell, opposing former admissions investigators had on record.

Langwell’s family gets a significant update

Kelly sits with Local Law enforcement, the Victims Sister and Daughter on Cold Justice Episode 707

Back at the drawing board, it looked increasingly likely that Rose was their prime suspect. 

Investigators believed McCormick remained cooperative with authorities and had a strong alibi for the night of the disappearance. He was cleared as a suspect.

Terry Rose, alternatively, had “the greatest motive of anybody who exists,” according to Abbondandolo. It seemed Rose could have been triggered by Langwell’s new romance and his footing the bill for their Mexican getaway, which was enough for the B.P.D. investigators to submit the case to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

They felt “optimistic” that the case could go before a grand jury.

Kimberly Langwell’s body has never been found.

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