Hue and Cry

The Disappearance of Holly Alcott White

The Disappearance of Holly Alcott White

Location: Taos, New Mexico  |  Year: 2016

Holly Alcott White was 49 years old and living in Taos, New Mexico in 2016. She went missing just a few months before her 50th birthday. Holly had been the manager at the Taos Center for the Arts for 22 years but was preparing to relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her husband Jeff White had just started a new job there, and Holly was about to start one as the office manager at a dentist’s office.

Holly Alcott White (Find Holly White FB)

On Thursday night, May 5, 2016, Holly came home from work and spoke to her husband and best friend Jill Gustafson. Jill said that although Holly seemed stressed about the move, she was still her cheerful self. She was last heard from at 9:20 pm. According to Jeff, their conversation was cheerful and nothing seemed amiss, as they had planned for Jeff to come into town the following day for a farewell party the TAC had planned for her.

The next morning on May 6, Holly was scheduled to meet a close friend, Cynthia Arvidson, to go on their daily morning walk with Holly’s dog Rosie. The two had walked together every morning for 8 years. However, Holly failed to show up that morning. Concerned about her whereabouts, Cynthia, who had keys to Holly’s house as she often house sat for her when she was away, went to Holly’s house. Inside the house, Cynthia found Holly’s purse and cell phone in the kitchen and Rosie sitting inside waiting to be walked. The only thing that was missing from the house was Holly’s car.

None of it made any sense. Holly always had her purse with her. And she would never leave her dog. That dog Rosie, she was like her child.

Cynthia Arvidson, friend of Holly Alcott (NBC News)

Later that day, her blue Ford Escape was found parked at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge parking lot, which was 10 miles west of Taos and spanned the entire Taos Gorge. Her keys were still in the car’s cup holder and a vendor at the bridge said that the car was already there when she arrived at 6:15 am.

A week after Holly’s disappearance, Law Enforcement with the help of a dive team and river raft guides, searched 12 miles of the Río Grande Gorge. They found no body, but did find a women’s black Skechers shoe floating in the water. Some of Holly’s friends said the shoe belonged to her, but theories have also come up that someone may have hurled it into the river to confuse investigators.

Jeff was not considered to be a suspect in the case, as he was in Albuquerque that night, passed a polygraph test, and their marriage by all accounts seemed to be a stable and happy one. Holly and Jeff had been together for 27 years and married for 20 of those years.

Holly White and her husband Jeff White (Santa Fe New Mexican)

The family and all of Holly’s close friends maintained that she would not have committed suicide without leaving a note, or left without telling anyone. If she had jumped from the bridge, her body would have been found by divers, as an extensive search was done after her disappearance.

New Mexico State Police pulled fingerprints from Holly’s car, one from the rearview mirror, and one from the passenger side door, but both were insufficient in leading to any identification.

Holly’s father Ray Alcott has hired the family’s own private investigator, Elaine Graves, to look into Holly’s disappearance and she is still actively working on the case with her partner.

Podcasts about this case

Comments on this case

Also on Hue and Cry

All images and videos used for this story are not the property of The Hue and Cry. They are property of their original owners/publications. Photos are from Santa Fe New Mexican, Taos News and the Finding Holly White Facebook page.