Regina Renee Cox, age 18, vanished from Somerset, Kentucky on August 23, 1997. She was last seen at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station at approximately 11:30am. I am unsure of the exact location of this recruiting station – looking at the US Military website, it would appear that it is now located at 3844 US-27. At the time, it may have been located at 3697 US-27, but I cannot be certain. Her car was found early the following morning, with several of her belongings, including her purse, inside the car. Her keys, however, were missing. The car was located by Regina’s mother in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Sources differ as to whether this Wal-Mart was directly across the street from the recruiting station, or a mile away.
No suspects have been named, although law enforcement does believe she was taken against her will. It has been suggested that her case could be connected to the disappearance of Erica Fraysure, which also occurred in Kentucky that same year, and has some similarities.
Although he has never been publicly named as a suspect in Regina’s disappearance, local rumor points to a possibility that a former recruiter may have been involved in her case. For the time being, I’m going to refer to him only by his last name, Forbes, but his full name and story can be read here. I’m refraining from naming him here, not only because he hasn’t been named a suspect, but also because with my lack of military knowledge, I’m not sure if he’s a reasonable person to suspect. I’m hoping someone with some military knowledge might stumble upon this case and shed some light on my questions.
Forbes was a recruiter at the Naval Recruiting Station in Somerset, Kentucky from 1995 until February 1997, when he was transferred to administrative duty due to allegations of the kidnap and rape of multiple young recruits. According to the victims, who, according to articles, did not know each other, Forbes took them for long drives into remote areas and raped them. Forbes was eventually tried and convicted of kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, and other related military infractions. He was sent to Leavenworth Prison and was there for several years, before being exonerated on a technicality. These incidents of rape were alleged to have happened in late 1996, and the victims came forward in early 1997, resulting in his being transferred to administrative duty. He was convicted in August 1998.
So, my questions:
Regina did not go missing until August 1997 – six months after Forbes had been transferred to administrative duty. Could he have still been at the recruiting station at that time? Are there administrative positions in a recruiting station?
Regina had already joined the Navy, and was scheduled to report to the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in September 1997, one month after her disappearance. Given that Forbes was no longer a recruiter as of February 1997, could he have had contact with her before he was transferred? Would she have begun the enlistment process prior to February?
Looking at Google Maps, it does not appear that there currently is a Wal-Mart across the street or within sight of either of the possible addresses I have identified for the Recruiting Station. It would be useful to know how far her car actually was from the Station, as it would help to gauge the likelihood that her abduction was related to the Station in some way.
Regina was driving a white Chevy Cavalier at the time of her disappearance, and was wearing a tie-dye shirt, blue jeans, and black sandals. Her mother continues to search for answers.
The Charley Project
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department
The Ledger Independent
01/26/2021 – no updates available