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Element of a Woman

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Since I have been interested in missing persons cases one thing that has always stuck out in many of them is a husband or a partner of the missing person claim they ran off, either to start a new life or be with another person. Missing mothers or wives have these same sets of circumstances, getting up one day and leaving their lives behind. Since I started the blog, I have written three different stories where the missing person is portrayed in this light. The reasoning often lies in infidelity, with the disappearance often casually explained away. My question is how many women have done this? I am sure there are some, but do all these women just get up and leave their children? In this story the same sorry excuse is put on the table. The "I came home, and she was just gone". This element has plagued missing women across the county for decades and it is time to finally put this pitiful explanation to rest.

I would like to thank Jessica, Teresa’s only daughter, for speaking with me and answering any questions I had about her mother’s case. Jessica was only thirteen years old, but she vividly recalls the day she last saw her mom, as well as the days and weeks afterwards. She knows if anything, her mother would never have left her behind.

Teresa Davidson was born on May 15, 1965. Her mother, Evon, raised her only child until she married her husband, and they raised Teresa along with her step siblings. Evon describes her daughter as a wonderful and bright child. Teresa did well in school and after high school she would marry Steve (her children’s father). They had two children together, their son Justin and their daughter Jessica. Jessica and Teresa were extremely close. Not only mother and daughter but were best friends. Soon the marriage broke, and Steve and Teresa divorced. Teresa moved to Florida where her mother lived. Soon she would make another move to California with her stepbrother Chris. Chris and Teresa had a tight bond. Teresa would make her way to Kent, Washington where she had a roommate, but soon their friendship blossomed into a relationship. With this stable relationship she was able to get many things together. She was able to obtain her GED and had a great job at Boeing.

Steve, Teresa, Jessica & Justin

Teresa moved to Puyallup, Washington, and during this time Teresa’s father passed away. Her father left Teresa an inheritance as well as his gun collection. At some point she met her second husband, Richard Murphy. They married quickly in July of 1998. It was at first a whirlwind and the couple found themselves deeply in love. When Teresa’s father passed, Richard convinced Teresa move to Rainier, Oregon. Teresa was reluctant because she really wanted to stay in Puyallup. She established herself there, with a job and a life she loved. Eventually Richard convinced Teresa the move to Rainer would be best for them because they would be closer to his family. In July of 1999, the family made that move.

Teresa & Jessica

On October 7, 1999, Theresa dropped her daughter off for a weekend sleepover with her friend and volleyball teammate. On October 9, 1999, Jessica called the house and spoke to her mother. Teresa also spoke to her stepbrother Chris, Chris and Teresa had a tight bond since childhood. The phone call seemed odd to Chris. He later explains it as it sounded as if someone was listening to her conversation. Chris did know that Teresa was having trouble in her marriage to Richard. Theresa had previously told Chris since the move to Oregon her husband changed, and she also started to notice certain things she was not aware of before. One such thing was a tattoo of a pentagram. She started to get spooked by Richard as a person. The phone call, prompted Chris to ask Teresa to meet up with him that weekend so that way there she could tell him everything that had been going on. Also, if Teresa wanted to leave her marriage, he would help her gather her things immediately. Teresa never made it to their meeting point.

Teresa & Richard

Teresa was supposed to pick Jessica up the following afternoon on October 10, 1999. Jessica was confused when her mother didn’t show up but tried calling the house every chance she could. The attempted phone calls would last days until one day Richard picked up. Jessica wanted to know where her mother was. Richard said he had not seen her since before he left for his weekend camping trip at Brown's Creek in the Olympic National Forest. He told Jessica he could come get her, eventually, but it would be a couple days. When Richard finally picked Jessica up, he was bad mouthing her mother. He said Teresa left that weekend and hadn’t returned. Jessica noticed all her mother’s belongings were still at the home, including her car. Oddly, her car keys were in the ignition. It was later learned by Richard that one of the guns Teresa owned was missing. (To date that is the only item she seemingly took with her. A 1991 Colt 1911 A-1 .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun, serial #275178)

Nothing else seemed amiss but something did catch Jessica's eye. Richard told everyone he went away that weekend on a camping trip alone. Richard’s camping gear did not move its spot. Jessica noticed this and that is a memory that has stuck with her for decades. Teresa’s family were made aware of her absence and contacted the police to report her missing. Although Teresa was last seen on October 7, her missing date is listed as October 23. This is because during this time someone phoned in a tip that Teresa was not a missing person and was last seen in another town. Fortunately, police did not let the report go unfiled for longer than it did. When the police started to investigate her disappearance, they started at the family home. Richard allowed the police to look around the home and property, but only once. When they returned at another time, he threatened them with harassment. He also refused to take a polygraph. Things seemed to change quickly, Jessica was sent back to live with her father and brother. Richard moved on romantically and started dating his new girlfriend. The house Teresa shared with Richard shortly became vacant, and all her belongings sold in yard sales, wiping any existence of her away.

What happened to Teresa Davidson on October 9, 1999? Although no one had seen her that day, she did speak with her daughter Jessica and her stepbrother Chris over the phone. However, she was last seen on October 7, 1999, the same day Richard claimed to go on his solo camping trip in the Olympic National Forest. How did Richard camp if he never moved his camping equipment where it was stored at the house? Decades later, one thing is for certain and that is police cannot verify his camping alibi. He was offended by any questioning or searching done after the first day of the police investigation. Is there a possibility Teresa took off? Maybe her marriage to Richard was going downhill and she needed to get away. We have to keep in mind this was not Teresa's first marriage. Which means she would more than likely go about things in the same way she did with her previous divorce, which did not include the element of abandoning everything, including her children. Her son was living with his father, but Jessica only had her mother in Oregon. She might walk away from her life with Richard and any future she hoped they would have, but would she leave it all behind? Law enforcement did release they believe Teresa is no longer alive, thankfully they did not buy into the stereotype, an element of a woman.

If you have any information, please come forward. It is not too late.

Contact Crime Stoppers:

Oregon State Police:


Like & Follow the Facebook page set up for Teresa's disappearance:

Give a listen to a podcast on Teresa's case:

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