Middle Tennessee Mysteries is dedicated to shining a light on cold cases, unsolved murders and missing people in Tennessee.

Dickson County: Martha Leanne Green

Jul 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm by Michelle Willard

Martha Leanne Green

The disappearance of Martha Leanne Green has been called the biggest mystery in Dickson County.

On April 15, 1987, the 17-year-old girl vanished into thin air from a broken-down car on Highway 46 in Dickson County, Tenn.

Her family and the community at-large in Dickson County have searched over the intervening years.

As her mother held vigil in the days following her daughter's disappearance, she prayed Leanne would be found before Easter Sunday.

"Then we could praise God," Margie Green told The Tennessean from her home in White Bluff.

She died without knowing what happened to her daughter.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Dickson County Sheriff's Office at 615-789-4130 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 615-952-4989.

The Missing Person

A junior at Dickson County High School, Martha Leanne Green was described as "just a real nice person," one of her classmates told reporters. She was quiet, attended White Bluff Church of Christ with her family and worked as a hostess at Holiday Inn in Dickson.

Her mother said she never worried about Leanne because she was responsible and always let her family know where she was or where she was going.

The family said they couldn't think of a single person or a reason why someone would want to harm her.

At the time of her disappearance, Leanne was described as having long brown hair, standing 5'6" tall, weighing 120 pounds. She had green eyes but wore brown-tinted contact lenses. She has a birthmark on her chest and her ears are pierced.

She was wearing a white sweatshirt, faded jean capri pants and white high-top Reebok sneakers.

Leanne is pictured above at 17 years old, left, and in an age-progressed Center for Missing and Exploited Children, right.

The Disappearance

Her twin brother Lawson Green had picked up Leanne from her job and were headed home in a borrowed car. They had begged the 1979 silver Monte Carlo from a cousin to attend their high school prom, which was the next night.

It was just after 9 p.m. April 15, 1987, when the car ran out of gas on the two-lane dark road near the Pomona community.

A family from Hickman County, returning home from church, pulled up and offered help when they saw the car's hazard lights.

Leanne decided to stay put as Lawson left to get some gas.

He was only gone 15 minutes.

But in that time, Leanne disappeared, leaving her purse and the keys in the car. There was no sign of struggle.

"We feel she's been abducted. She's not the type of girl who would run off," Dickson County Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Hayes said a few days after she disappeared.

The Investigation

Teams of searchers from local police to the public combed 10 square miles around the area where Leanne had disappeared.

They walked the woods, checks motels and stopped at interstate rest areas.

"We hit every place we thought was likely," Dickson County Rescue Squad Chief Johnny Tummins said at the time.

They interviewed and reinterviewed witnesses. They called in the TBI. They even set up a roadblock to suss out information to no avail.

"Everything's a dead end," one investigator said.

Within a month, the reward fund had grown to $12,500. 

They only found a few clues.

A pile of clothes found nearby but the blue jeans, socks and white sweatshirt were determined to be men's clothes and not hers. Police also searched for a rust- or wine-colored Ford that was reportedly seen in the area.

Citing a lack of leads, police called off the search for Martha Leanne Green just three days after she disappeared.

One member of the Dickson County Rescue Squad said the teenager was not in the area and there were too few clues to point them in the right direction.

Over the years, investigators tried every lead they found.

They even compared Leanne's disappearance to that of other young women abducted from cars along roadways and later murdered in Arkansas and Oklahoma. No connection could be found.

The Dickson County Sheriff's Office hasn't given up hope although the case is officially cold. Investigators still follow every lead and checks every report of unidentified human remains found in the midstate, according to WDKN.

The Suspect

A Florida inmate confessed to the murder but investigators couldn't be corroborated before he recanted and was stabbed to death in prison.

The inmate was in a Florida jail on a charge of rape. After his confession, investigators took him to several spots where he claimed to have buried Leanne's body but no evidence was found.

He is still considered the prime suspect.

Her disappearance remains unsolved.