Name: Holly Cantrell
Age: 40 years old
Last seen: January 20, 2017
Location: McAlester, Oklahoma
Status: Found deceased in 2018
Disappeared: Season 9 Episode 7 “In Broad Daylight”
40-year-old Holly Cantrell was last seen on camera in McAlester, Oklahoma January 20, 2017, leaving her job at the McAlester Regional Health Clinic for lunch.
In March 2018, human remains were found on a secluded peninsula near the Cardinal Point Recreation Area in Pittsburgh.
In February 2020, the remains were officially identified as Holly.
Holly Cantrell was born on July 12, 1976, in Sacramento California and she lived in McAlester, Oklahoma.
She graduated from Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton and had worked as a teacher at William Gay and Emerson Elementary Schools for six years. At the time of her disappearance Cantrell worked as a physical therapy assistant at the McAlester Regional Hospital.
She married Tommy Cantrell on February 23, 2001, in Van Buren, Arkansas and had three three sons, ages 12 to 19, and two stepchildren with him. She was five months pregnant at the time she disappeared in January 2017, according to her family.
Holly was said to love animals and enjoyed taking care of her cows, goats, mini-horses and mini-donkeys and loved living in the country.
On January 20, 2017, Holly Cantrell left the McAlester Regional Health Center, where she was working as a physical therapist, at approximately 11:56 a.m on a lunch break.
She was seen, on surveillance video, talking to someone in the parking lot of the hospital, before getting into a green, short wheel base truck.
At 12:20 p.m, Holly Cantrell was seen at Braum’s, an ice cream and dairy restaurant, at 625 S. George Nigh Expressway, along U.S. Highway 69 in McAlester, about a seven-minute drive from her workplace.
She never returned to the clinic and has not been seen or heard from since.
In the evening, concerned when she hadn’t returned home, Cantrell’s husband took a ride over to the hospital but found no signs of her with her vehicle parked still at the health center parking lot.
Authorities interviewed Cody Ketchum, a local man confirmed to be the driver of the green truck. He claimed they had arranged a meeting earlier, he had taken Cantrell to a local restaurant where she was supposedly meeting with friends for lunch but forgot to go back and pick her up.
In the area of the restaurant, video footage of the surveillance camera couldn’t confirm his testimony. Furthermore, police were unable to find any single friend who was supposed to meet Cantrell for lunch nor any evidence of Cody’s truck even driving there.
Moreover, the pair were said to be having a recent affair. Cody took a polygraph test and had been cooperative with investigators but remained a strong person of interest
On February 25 2017, a hunter came across a purse belonging to missing Cantrell at the Cardinal Point Recreation Area, near Lake Eufaula in Pittsburg County.
The purse contained Cantrell’s credit cards, identification and some personal belongings. However, her cell phone was nowhere to be found.
In March 2017, a group of 100 volunteers combined with the OKCM Search and Rescue Team in an effort to search for Cantrell whereabouts in the area where her purse was previously found a week earlier.
Pieces of clothing and papers were identified on location and confirmed by the family to belong to Holly Cantrell.
February and March 2018
Skeletal remains were discovered on a secluded peninsula near the Cardinal Point Recreation Area of Lake Eufaula in Pittsburgh, Oklahoma on February 25, 2018, less than two miles from where her purse was originally located.
Authorities discovered bones and a partial skull scattered over an area of about 50 yards by 50 yards. They also recovered a bra and fragments of green clothings, in the same kind of scrubs Holly Cantrell was last seen wearing.
Additionally, Cardinal Point was about 12 miles north of the Braum’s restaurant, where Cantrell was reportedly last seen alive. The remains were sent for testing to the National DNA Database for Missing and Unidentified Persons at the University of North Texas.
Three years after her disappearance, Cantrell was officially identified as the located remains, in February of 2020, and the case became a homicide investigation.
Cody Ketchum Arrested For Holly’s Murder
In October 2022, Cody Ketchum was arrested and charged with first degree murder in the homicide of Holly Cantrell and destroying evidence.
After the positive identification of her remains, the case was taken to a grand jury who issued the indictment and arrest warrant for Ketchum. Not many details have been released, but authorities say evidence from Ketchum’s phone led to the indictment.
Caucasian female. Brown long hair and brown eyes. She is 5’ 6” inches tall and weighs about 145 pounds.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Holly Cantrell please contact the McAlester Police Department (918) 423-1212 or call the CUE Center for Missing Persons (910) 343-1131 or call the CUE Center 24-hour tip line at (910) 232-1687.
Resources & Further Information
About Holly Cantrell – Facebook Page
News & Media Links
Oklahoma Physical Therapist Vanishes After Leaving Work – Huffpost 01/17
Volunteers find potential leads in case of missing Pittsburg County woman – 8 ABC Tulsa 03/17
Human remains found in Pittsburg County – 8 ABC Tulsa 02/18
Family of missing Pittsburg County woman finds human remains near Lake Eufaula – 8 ABC Tulsa 03/18
Still no answers in Holly Cantrell case – KJRH – 01/19
DNA wait agonizing for family – 8 ABC Tulsa 01/20
Remains Found From Holly Cantrell Case – KJRH – 02/20
Holly Cantrell Case: Police Say Oklahoma Body Is Missing Mom | Crime News – 02/20
Human remains found in 2018 identified as Holly Cantrell – 8 ABC Tulsa 02/20
Videos & Flyers
Tim Landers says
I saw the story of the Holly Cantrell case on “Disappeared”. I realize not all the details of the case were aired on the show, but it seems to me that the police went out of their way to NOT solve the case. They did not follow up on many obvious leads. For example: Cody, the boyfriend said he dropped her off at the fast food place to meet some friends from work, yet no friends ever recalled such an arrangement. Yes, the lot where he supposedly dropped Holly had no camera coverage, but did police check other security cameras on businesses that were on roads leading up to the restaurant?
A lot of leads seem to not have been followed.
I agree. LE seemed to go out of their way to way to avoid following obvious leads here in regards to the boyfriend Cody. It makes me wonder who he might be connected to and I feel like I would want FBI and/or State Police followup in regards to his interview. It’s frustrating for citizens, but excruciating for the family to have to wait for eventual cold case detectives to come along and do the work in these cases.
Holly Lacy says
Rip Holly Cantrell. I hope you and your family get justice my love.
I know, it’s so obvious who did it. Just look at the last person she was with. I’ve heard this same story line a lot in murders. A woman has an affair, gets pregnant and boyfriend doesn’t want baby so he kills her. They seem to just go off of this guy Cody’s word with not much follow up.. it’s weird.