Mother and daughter had just spent the day together. The date was September 24, 2015. That evening, Twen Barton and her mother, Joan Rebar, sat down together for dinner. A month earlier, Barton and Rebar bade farewell to Rebar’s mother, who had passed away on August 19. “It was difficult, but my grandmother was 93,” said Barton. After enduring the difficult personal loss, Barton said her mother was beginning to feel she could move forward with her life again. “She was in good spirits.”
This was the last time Barton has seen or spoken to her mother.
Law Enforcement in Kansas issued a Silver Alert for Rebar on September 30 after concerned neighbors and friends reported her missing. Barton said her mother suffers from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (C.O.P.D.), and high blood pressure. She is also an amputee and uses a prosthesis. In Kansas, Silver Alerts are issued in cases involving at-risk senior adults over 65 with medical or mental conditions that may diminish their ability to survive without assistance.
Joan M. Rebar, Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, is 70-years-old. She is an enrolled citizen of the Sac-n-Fox Nation in Kansas and has previously served on tribal council as secretary and chairman during the 90s. Barton said her mother has resided on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation since 1983.
Barton, also a former tribal chairman of the Sac-n-Fox, described her mother as a fun, happy person. “She smiled all the time.” Barton said her mother, whose former husband served in the U.S. Navy, was an active member of Veterans of Foreign War (V.F.W.) and the We-Ta-Se American Legion Post 410 Women’s Auxiliary on the reservation. “She’s a very social person.”
Rebar was last seen in the early morning hours of September 26 at the V.F.W. in Meriden, Kansas, a small, rural community located about 20 miles east of the Prairie Band Reservation. Rebar was a regular visitor to the V.F.W. in Meriden. “Everybody knew her,” Barton said. “The bartender said she did not have much to drink.” Rebar left the V.F.W. shortly before 2 a.m. The last ping from her cell phone was from a tower in Meriden.
On October 7, a week after authorities issued the Silver Alert on Rebar, authorities arrested Jerry Dean Curlee, 56, an ex-housemate of Rebar’s, in Kansas City, Missouri on an unrelated charge of felony D.U.I. Barton said Curlee and her mother had lived together for seven years, but Curlee had frequently been in and out of jail during that time. Barton said Rebar ended the relationship and kicked Curlee out in August. “Being the big-hearted person she was, she tried to help him,” Barton said.
Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse said that Curlee’s whereabouts have been accounted for, and he is not now a person of interest in Rebar’s disappearance. “We’re not having any luck at this point.”
Barton said the case has received multi-jurisdictional assistance on land and air from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County and Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police. On October 4, local concerned citizens also conducted a search of the Meriden area and the Potawatomi Reservation.
Barton said she is satisfied that Curlee is not involved in her mother’s disappearance. “He was staying at a homeless shelter.”
Rebar is described as 5 feet, 6 inches, 230 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. She drives a 2005 silver, Chrysler Pacifica. Barton said she fears her mother had an accident. “We encourage everybody to keep her in their prayers, and pray that she’s not suffering and she’s found soon.”
Anyone with any information on Rebar’s whereabouts or circumstances is asked to contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at (785) 364-2251 or the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police at (785) 966-3024.