WASHINGTON - Seven years have now gone by since Pamela Butler vanished from her Northwest D.C. home under suspicious circumstances. Her body has never been found and there has been no arrest.
Now, the family of the government computer specialist is on the verge of declaring her legally dead.
Derrick Butler will tell you that within days of his sister’s disappearance in February 2009, he knew in his heart his sister was dead. He said Pamela would never have vanished on her own. Although some in her family have held out hope that she was still alive, they have come to the conclusion she is gone and will never come home.
But that is not all. Derrick believes someone killed his sister and he wants to know why.
Seven years have gone by since he arrived at his sister’s house on 4th Street and found an unsettling and deeply troubling scene. The doors were locked, the alarm was off and the house was a mess. It was not nearly the way Pamela usually had kept it.
"I never thought that Pam would just walk away,” said Derrick. “I always felt like it was foul play there.”
And here is why – Pam Butler had a sophisticated surveillance system installed in her house, and after she went missing, the family went through every minute of it.
She was seen on tape entering the house two days before Valentine’s Day and was never seen leaving.
“All we ever saw was the UPS man coming to her house to deliver things, the mailman would come and her ex-boyfriend,” said Derrick. “Nobody else ever came up to her front door or even around the house. Nobody else ever came into the yard other than those three people.”
The surveillance system showed Pam’s ex-boyfriend coming and going from the house at odd hours and for several days.
“It seemed very suspicious because he constantly kept coming and going, coming and going,” said her brother.
About three months after Pam disappeared, Derrick Butler took us inside the house and showed us something the family found odd.
"We came in – this blind was raised up,” he described. “She would never pick the blinds up. She would lower them from the top down so you couldn't see inside the house.”
It is also the only side of the house that was not under video surveillance. Derrick suspects that is how his sister’s body was carried out of the house.
At the time of her disappearance, FOX 5 spoke more than once with her ex-boyfriend, who told us he had no idea what had happened to her. He said they had broken up and he was only removing his belongings from the house.
Police questioned him several times, but he was never charged.
With no arrest seven years later, the family still wants answers. But they also wants to move on.
"We are at a point right now where we haven't heard from Pam in seven years,” said Derrick. “We really feel like she is not with us, so we are at the point right now where we are going to declare her dead shortly after the prayer vigil.”
Her house on 4th Street has been sold – looking little like it did seven years ago.
On Saturday afternoon, the Butlers will join family and friends in front of the house where they will remember a woman who would have been 54 years old.
After her family declares her legally dead, they will hold a church memorial service. It is something they have never done.