Meet John Mark Byers. You may remember him from petty crimes in Cherokee Village, Arkansas. But you may remember him easier from 1993. John Mark Byers adopted Christopher Mark Byers, who was born on June 23, 1984.
Christopher Mark Byers was 8 years old and attended school just down the street from his residence in West Memphis, Arkansas. Christopher and his friends, Michael and Stevie were murdered on May 5th, 1993.
According to the families of the three boys, they were last seen together between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the evening of 5 May 1993. The three boys had finished school for the day at Weaver Elementary School at 3:00 p.m. Steven Branch went home but left shortly afterwards, according to his mother Pam Hobbs. Christopher Byers’s step-father, John Mark Byers, arrived home at 3:10 p.m. but Christopher was not there, his brother Ryan arrived home at 3:30 p.m. Chris did not have a key to the house and was expected to wait outside until Ryan arrived to let him in.
John Mark Byers drove Ryan to the courthouse for a 4:00 p.m. appointment. After dropping Ryan he drove to pick up his wife, Melissa Byers from work. They both arrived back at their home at 5:20 p.m. to find that Chris was not at home, although there was evidence that he had been there. Soon after, John Mark Byers left home to pick up Ryan, but on the way he found Christopher riding a skateboard. He took Christopher home where Byers gave him "2 or 3 licks" with a belt, in the presence of Melissa, as punishment for not staying at home as instructed. Before returning to the courthouse to pick up Ryan, Byers instructed Christopher to clean up the carport area. He was last seen doing this at 5:30 p.m. by Byers.
At 6:30 p.m. John Mark Byers claims that he arrived home from the courthouse with Ryan to find that Chris was again not at home. Melissa was inside on the phone with her boss and had not been aware that Chris was gone again. John, Melissa and Ryan Byers left their home at 6.30 p.m. to drive around the neighborhood in order to find Chris. During the course of this search Byers informed a police officer of his son’s disappearance. According to Byers, he was told to wait until 8:00 p.m. before making an official report with the police. Byers explained to the officer that the reason he was so concerned was that Chris had never disappeared like this before. This statement was later contradicted by Melissa Byers, during an interview on 25 May 1993, when she told police that Christopher had disappeared on several other occasions for hours at a time.
John Mark Byers called the West Memphis Police Department at 8:00 p.m. to report that his step-son Christopher was missing. In response to this report Officer Regina Meek (the officer who failed to follow up on the Mr. Bojangles Call) went to the Byers' home. Fifteen minutes later, Diana Moore spoke with John Mark Byers, informing him that she had seen the three boys at 6:00 p.m. Byers stated that this was the first time he had been aware that Chris was not alone. Together with Diana Moore, Melissa Byers and Ryan Byers, John Mark Byers began to search the Robin Hood Hills area, the last known location of the boys. It was already dark by then, according to Byers. At some time between, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Byers went home alone to change out of the shorts and thongs that he had been wearing, into a pair of overalls and boots. At the time that he left, the search party consisted of Ryan Byers, Ritchie Masters, Brett Smith and his sister, along with many others. They were soon joined by Officer Moore from the West Memphis Police Department, who continued to search with them from 10:20 until 11:00 p.m.
|Blue Beacon Truck Wash #38 |
3904 Petro Road
West Memphis, AR 72301
I-40/55, Exit 280/4
|Looking west from the discovery site. The trail on the right goes to the southeastern corner of the Blue Beacon lot. The trail on the left joins the trail to the pip (see below). Note, in the interior of the woods, the trails are well-defined.|
|Aerial View of Robin Hood Hills, Pipe where bikes were found.|