Sayre death being called ‘suspicious’
Human remains found Aug. 18 have been identified as those of Christina Green, 46, who had been missing from her Sayre home for almost exactly three years.
Beckham County Sheriff Derek Manning said in a news release that the case is being treated as a suspicious death.
The remains were found west of Sayre along the North Fork of the Red River by men working on property along the river. Miss Green’s father, A.R. Green, had reported her missing after last seeing her on Aug. 12, 2015. News reports at that time said her vehicle was found at her house along with personal items.
Her remains were identified this week by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office in Oklahoma City.
Quoting the Beckham County Sheriff’s Office, television station KFOR (Channel 4) said in 2015 when her disappearance was reported that she had personal and medical issues which caused her family to fear for her safety, as well as what appeared to be a hand-written will dated Aug. 8 that was found in the house where she lived.
Sheriff Manning’s press release said the house was on property owned by her father, who said he typically saw her there every day or so.
“This is an investigation into a suspicious death, and our office treats all suspicious deaths as a homicide until the facts indicate otherwise,” said Manning. “Because of that, we will be careful what details we release during this process, and we are keeping our minds open to all possibilities.”
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to help with the case.
While he wasn’t yet in office when Miss Green went missing, Sheriff Manning said the initial investigation revealed some things that seemed suspicious about her disappearance.
“Over the next several days and weeks following her disappearance, deputies searched the Green property where Christina’s house was located and the surrounding area,” said the sheriff’s press release. “They also followed up on different leads, but Christina Green was not found.”
The sheriff credited one of his deputies who was not named in the press release with asking him to take up the case again after he became sheriff in 2017. That deputy “indicated there were still some things about the investigation that could be revisited,” said the release.
Then, quoting the sheriff directly, it said, “Because of that deputy, this office has never really quit working on the case to some degree or another. Soon after I became sheriff in early 2017, we went back and reviewed the case and began to investigate other leads and conduct further interviews.”
Sheriff Manning, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper, believes he and his staff came “frustratingly close” to discovering Miss Green’s remains in early 2017. In February of that year, the release said his office enlisted the aid of OHP’s aircraft division, which brought its helicopter out to assist with an aerial search of the property and the surrounding area along the river.
“Even though it had been about a year and a half at that time (since Green’s disappearance) OHP’s chopper had some very high-tech equipment,” said Manning, “including forward-looking Infrared cameras and high-resolution cameras. This equipment has been used in the past to locate shallow graves that were more than a year old. OHP helped us do a very thorough search of the area, but we just weren’t quite in the right spot.”
The release said the location where the remains were eventually found was less than a mile outside what had been the helicopter’s search perimeter.
“It was extremely frustrating,” said the sheriff. “On one hand, we realized we had been proactive and on the right track, but on the other hand we realized we had come so close to making the discovery so much earlier in the investigation.”
Manning said his office is coordinating with OSBI and the office of District Attorney Angela Marsee in order to move the investigation forward as carefully and efficiently as possible.
“We have a good working relationship with our DA and the OSBI, and it’s going to require all of us working together to find the truth about what happened to Christina Green,” he said. “One of my detectives said it best recently when she told me that we now have to be the advocates for Christina. She’s right about that, and this office takes that duty very seriously.”
While the medical examiner’s identification of the remains did not come as a surprise to those familiar with the case, the press release said it was not what the Sheriff’s Office was hoping for.
“I think we were all working under the assumption that it could be her, based on the location and some of the circumstances,” said Manning, “but you always hope that a missing person is going to turn up alive somewhere. That just wasn’t what happened this time.”