The 16-year-old girl who headed out her front door for a quick run to the cleaners on June 24, 1983, was one of East High School’s brightest students.
Terri Allen, who lived at 2639 Park Ave., was the kind of learner who like to sit smiling at the front of the class, teachers said back when her death was still painfully fresh.
She was a good student, and a good daughter and sister. Her mother quickly became concerned when she did not return home that evening.
Allen had told her mother that Friday evening, about 5:45 p.m., that she was simply running to pick up a load of clothes.
By the next morning, according to accounts at the time, many of her friends had mobilized and gone in search of her.
They found a grisly scene at 9 a.m. about a mile away from her home in a bushy field near a radio transmission tower at 22nd Street and Woodland Avenue.
Her body was partially nude. The coroner determined she had been strangled.
The investigation of her death quickly ran cold. No suspects. No established motive.
A month later, the Police Department issued a public plea for help in generating more leads.
“We believe that someone out there must know something that could help us solve this case,” a police spokesman said at the time.
That same plea echos faintly today, 34 years later. But the Kansas City Police Department lists Allen’s unsolved murder at the top of its cold case website.
Someone knows what happened to Allen, whose teachers and friends at East spoke adoringly of her personality and her smile.
She wasn’t the school’s most talented athlete, but one of its hardest workers, they said. She ran track as a 100-meter sprinter, was a cheerleader, was a student manager of the football team and statistician for the basketball team.
She did all that — and excelled in school — while working downtown at a hamburger restaurant.
And on Sundays, she sang in the junior choir at the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church.
She is buried in Lincoln Cemetery, her murderer still unknown.
Name: Terri L. Allen of Kansas City
Circumstances of the crime: Last seen at 5:45 p.m. June 24, 1983, leaving her home in the 2600 block of Park Avenue in Kansas City. Her strangled body was found at 9 a.m. the next morning in a bushy area near 22nd Street and Woodland Avenue.
Suspect information: No identified suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to call: The Kansas City Police Cold Case Squad at 816-234-5136.