TN Missing: Maury County teen never makes it to spring break destination

MAURY CO., Tenn. (WKRN) — A Middle Tennessee teenager who was supposed to be spending spring break with a relative never made it to her destination.

18 years later, his family is still desperately searching for answers. Amber Cates was last seen in Maury County on April 11, 2004.

Amber Cates has been missing since 2004. (Photo courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Cates left her mother’s house in a gold Mazda with one of her male friends.

“She was on her way to spend spring break with her friends and family and never made it,” said Matthew Foster, FBI assistant special agent in charge.

When asked about Cates’ disappearance, the friend said he left her with another friend.

Authorities later located the second man in a federal prison in Alabama. He claims he dropped Cates off at a garage in Columbia after buying hair dye, and he doesn’t know what happened to him next.

“Since then we have been looking for Amber, looking for advice and someone to tell us if they were close to her,” Foster continues, “or if they became close with someone later who realized We want to hear from these people and our partners at the Maury County Sheriff’s Office want to hear from them as well.

Cates was originally considered a runaway, but her social security number hasn’t been used since 2004.

No traffic violations have been reported and his mobile phone has not been used since his disappearance.

“If we can’t bring a loved one home safely, we want to at least bring some peace to this family,” Foster said.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to Cates’ recovery. If you have information, contact 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit


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