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Missing Christopher Gene Cummings
Christopher, circa 1992; John Christopher Peeler
Missing Since 12/19/1992
Little Rock, Arkansas
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 06/20/1975 (45)
Age 17 years old
Height and Weight 5'2, 110 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Sandy brown hair, brown eyes.
Details of Disappearance Christopher was last seen in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 19, 1992. He had recently been grounded for poor grades, but because his grades had improved, his parents decided to let him go out. He told his parents he was going out to watch a movie with a school friend named "Amy" and would be back later. He never returned home and has never been heard from again.
He had no prior history of running away, and was never more than fifteen minutes late for his curfew. In spite of this, for two years, he was listed with law enforcement as a runaway juvenile.
In December 1994, a friend of Amy Blankenship Peeler called the police to say Amy had said her husband, John Christopher "Chris" Peeler, had killed Christopher before they married. The police arrested Amy, who gave a statement implicating her husband. John was charged with kidnapping and capital murder in Christopher's disappearance.
Amy was fifteen years old at the time of Christopher's disappearance, and John was eighteen. Amy had been a classmate of Christopher's and they had passed notes to each other and talked to each other during lunch. (Christopher's stepmother said Amy and her stepson had dated, something Amy denied. She was dating John at the time.) Amy said that Christopher came to her and her father's house while she was home alone, and raped her. She told no one at the time, except for John and his mother.
John was in the Marine Corps in 1992, but he came home on leave for Christmas. While he was home, he arranged for Amy to set up a meeting behind Sawyer's Grocery Store at 10:00 p.m., after the store was closed for the day. Amy drove to behind the store with John hiding in the backseat of the car.
When Christopher got into the car, John attacked him. Amy helped him tie up Christopher and put him in the trunk of the car, then John drove her home. She said she didn't realize Christopher would be killed, but the next day John told her he'd murdered him, and that it "took forever for him to die." He said he'd taken the body to a place near Scott, Arkansas and dumped it in the water. John's grandparents owned property near Scott where they fished. The Arkansas River backwater and slough areas are near their property.
In June 1993, on Amy's sixteenth birthday, she and John got married. They lived together for a year and a half, but then Amy left her husband because she could not go on "living a lie" knowing what he had done to Christopher. She confided to her friend, who notified the police.
Amy pleaded guilty to Christopher's kidnapping in 1995, and was sentenced to seven years of probation and a $250 fine, and she agreed to testify against John. As part of the terms of her probation, she had to mail $1 to Christopher's family on the 19th of each month for seven years after his abduction.
John was convicted of Christopher's murder in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, although he maintains his innocence. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
Christopher's body has never been found.
Investigating Agency / Department