Real Name: Annie Laurie Hearin
Nicknames: Annie Herrin (alternate spelling)
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Date: July 26, 1988
Date of Birth: 1915. Age was 72 at time of kidnapping.
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female, brown hair, pierced ears, stooped gait from scoliosis and arthritis.
Details: Shortly after neighbors reported seeing a suspicious white van with Florida plates driving by her home, Annie Laurie Hearin, the wife of wealthy businessman Robert Hearin Sr., was abducted on the afternoon of July 26, 1988. The kidnapper(s) left a typewritten note containing many grammar and spelling errors which read "Mr. Robert Herrin, Put these people back in the shape they was in before they got mixed up with School Pictures. Pay them whatever damages they want and tell them all this so then can no what you are doing but dont tell them why you are doing it. Do this before ten days pass. Don't call police." The note then listed 12 franchisees of School Pictures, a nationwide business owned by Robert, who had been sued by the company.
On August 7, Robert held a press conference pleading for his wife's return. On August 15, Robert received a letter in his wife's handwriting postmarked Atlanta, Georgia. The letter said "Bob, if you don't do what these people want you to do, they're going to seal me up in the cellar of this house with only a few jugs of water. Please save me. Annie Laurie." Fearing for his wife's safety, Robert agreed to the kidnapper's demands and sent checks worth nearly a million dollars in total to the twelve people mentioned. Half of the checks were sent back.
Despite paying the ransom in full, Annie was never released and the kidnapper(s) never contacted Robert again.
In 1990, Robert died of a heart attack. In August 1991, Annie was declared legally dead.
Suspects: Starting in August 1988, authorities began searching for Newton Alfred Winn, a civil attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida. Newton was the owner of a Florida-based School Pictures franchise, Four years before Annie's abduction, Newton had been sued by the company for over $153,000. He had been one of the twelve names listed on the ransom note and among the ones that sent their money back to Robert.
A month before the kidnapping, Newton had purchased a van that matched the description of the one neighbors of Annie saw around her house the day she was kidnapped. The descriptions of the van's driver also matched Newton's appearance.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the November 9, 1988 episode. The case was also featured on Cold Case Files and FBI Files.
Results: Unresolved. In March 1989, Newton Alfred Winn was arrested. Though he maintained his innocence throughout, Newton was convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, extortion, and perjury in 1990. He was sentenced to nineteen years and seven months and was released from prison in April 2006. No one has ever been formally charged with the actual kidnapping of Annie Hearin nor has Annie ever been found. In 1990 Robert Herrin died of a heart attack, and a year after, Annie Herrin was declared legally dead.