Bridget Lee Pendell-Williamson’s life in her late teens and early-20s seemed to be a fairytale.
She was an aspiring model, daughter, and sister who had everything going for her. That all changed, however, when Bridget got involved with a bad crowd. Her life took a turn for the worst, and what happened next was something no one could have expected…
Early Life Of Bridget Lee-Pendell Williamson
Bridget lived a great childhood, growing up in Plattsburgh, N.Y. and graduating from high school before going on to modeling school. Being such a beautiful girl, Bridget’s family thought her career in modeling would be promising until the cost of weekly tuition became too high.
Bridget switched careers and decided to earn her registered nursing degree at a community college. Just as Bridget was getting on track with her career, she met the man of her dreams. Shortly after meeting, the couple got married and had a beautiful child together named Sasha. Despite Bridget’s seemingly great life, she somehow became involved with a bad crowd…
The Grateful Dead
Bridget met some friends who followed the Grateful Dead, and she too, began following them all over the country. As most people in that environment do, Bridget began abusing drugs and it was something her husband just didn’t understand. This was not the marriage he signed up for.
Bridget’s new lifestyle began tearing the couple apart and eventually led to their divorce. Following their separation, Bridget wandered between Kansas, Florida and New York, sometimes with or without her daughter Sasha. She started abusing heroin and cocaine and by 1996, she was a hooker sleeping on the streets.
When she wasn’t on the streets or in ratty hotels in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Bridget was trying to get her next fix of drugs. At this point, she was unable to take care of Sasha, as she couldn’t even take care of herself. So, Bridget’s sister came out to the West Coast to take Sasha to stay with her grandmother.
Her Last Chance
Bridget’s mother, Marie Pendell, took Sasha in while Bridget continued to live and work in California. The family decided that the only way for Bridget to get clean was to enter her into a two-month drug rehabilitation program. If she refused this, no one was sure what would happen to Bridget. It was her last chance…
Bridget decided to accept the help she so desperately needed, and in 1996, she was entered into the Seton Health System rehab center. A doctor’s report explaining Bridget’s status read: “Above average in intelligence.” Due to this outstanding report, Bridget was able to leave the program two days early and she headed back to live in San Francisco. Sasha stayed with her grandmother until the family was certain Bridget was clean.
It turned out, that shortly after getting out of rehab, Bridget was arrested for prostitution. The scary part was, this was not Bridget’s first arrest either- she was busted three times previously in the last two years. In her earlier arrests, Bridget never showed up to her court hearings, so the family wondered if she would show up this time…
No Word From Bridget
Bridget’s family waited patiently to hear from her, but they never did. When they couldn’t find her, they contacted authorities who said that Bridget never showed up for court. The family panicked and continued to try to get in touch with her. They were unsuccessful and Bridget’s sister, Jackie Horne began to worry.
Where Was She?
Jackie flew to California and began looking for her sister on foot by walking around the streets of North Beach. When Bridget didn’t turn up there, Jackie ventured into the most dangerous alleys of the Mission District- she was desperate. Bridget didn’t have a stable residence, and she wasn’t answering the one phone number the family had for her so they panicked…
The Search Begins
While Jackie was in full panic mode, she handed out missing persons posters with Bridget’s face on them and asked homeless people on the streets if they could help her. Most of these people were cracked out on drugs as they had their own demons working against them, so getting a straight answer out of them was pretty hard.
The Streets Of California
Jackie wound up having to rely on the information homeless people had given her, as this may be her only chance in finding her sister. As Jackie began to meet more and more people, they each had a different story about Bridget…
Jackie met one prostitute named Crystal who told her, “I saw her [Bridget] a couple of days ago, I swear…She works this street. Shoots up heavy.” Another man named Pirate believed Bridget’s new name was Butterfly and explained she left to work at her “nice office job.” A third man named Joe told Jackie, “She’s probably dead.” While the possibility that Bridget was dead crossed Jackie’s mind, it was something she didn’t want to believe, but she decided to contact authorities just to make sure.
Did She Die?
San Francisco authorities explained to Jackie that sadly, every year, hundreds of homeless people die in the city. They usually find about 160 bodies that they can identify and approximately 2 bodies that they can’t. Thankfully, the authority shared the good news that Bridget’s body did not show up at the morgue, but this didn’t mean that Bridget wasn’t in another state…
While Jackie tried to get her head around this harsh reality, she became convinced that her sister was still living in Santa Cruz. She decided to return home, however, as the search for Bridget was becoming mentally and physically exhausting. She needed to give her head and heart a rest.
“Limitless Yet Bound”
After returning home, Jackie sat with her mother who was heartbroken about the news of her daughter. Marie was used to hearing from Bridget at least once a month, even in her worst times. Before Bridget left for San Francisco in 1996, she left a bag at her mother’s doorstep and in it was a couple of photo albums and a book of poems Bridget wrote herself. One poem was called, “Limitless Yet Bound,” and it read: “Kneel next to me, at the bedside of madness…I’m tainted, forever, due to you, and your evils.” The family looked at every page trying to piece together clues to help find their beloved Bridget…
Several other people came forward offering information about Bridget’s whereabouts. Some were convinced that Bridget resembled a homeless woman known as “The Crier.” “This woman is known to walk around the city weeping and no one knows why. Another possible theory is that Bridget got tribal tattoos on her face so that she could not be recognized anymore. Many people told the family, “Maybe Bridget doesn’t want to be found.”
The family, however, says there’s one true way to identify Bridget and that’s by a unique blue cat tattoo she has on her abdomen. Investigator Hartman says: “It’s under how under the radar Bridget is…I know a lot of people might not be sympathetic to Bridget because of her prostitution and her drug use, but that doesn’t mean you don’t look for her…She had a life and family.”
Sasha Misses Her Mom
Sasha is the most devastated by this despite maintaining straight-A’s in school. She doesn’t know much of the life her mother led, but she did know her mother was on drugs. “Maybe she feels bad…maybe she doesn’t want to come back into my life while she’s on drugs…but if I could see her, I would tell her I wasn’t mad.”
Since April 2003, Investigator Hartman has traced hundreds of leads all over the nation, and they usually led back to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Another possibility is that a known rapist, Jack Bokin killed Bridget, as he was convicted of attacking prostitutes where Bridget worked. Jackie reaching out to him, and he denied ever killing Bridget. It is still unknown what happened to her and if she is still alive.