The Doe Network:
Case File 1535DFOK

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Left : Dittmeyer, circa 1996;  Right: Age-progressed by NCMEC to age 23.

Crystal Gayle Dittmeyer
Missing since June 13, 1996 from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

Circumstances of Disappearance
Dittmeyer was last seen at her residence in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 13, 1996. She was reported missing after her mother returned to their home at the Pickwick Apartments, 2701 W Interstate 240, and found a small bloodstain on her daughter's bedroom carpet. Crystal’s friend reported she was last seen at the apartment swimming pool with an injured hand. None of Crystal's personal items were missing.

Crystal’s stepfather Benjamin Crider II was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in 1998 and brought back to Oklahoma from Kentucky. Crider and Crystal’s mother, Tammy Austin, had been married only a few months. They divorced in 1997. Crider had been a suspect in Crystal’s disappearance from the start. His trial lasted seven weeks. Crystal's half-brother told police that the day Crystal disappeared, he saw Crystal "laying on her back, motionless, with her eyes open, looking straight up with her legs out." The boy told his stepfather and a foster parent that he couldn't understand why Crystal was a missing child when she was dead in the apartment.

Detectives believe Ben Crider, who was a registered nurse for the state Health Department, used his state vehicle to remove Crystal's body from the apartment. He was accused of hiding Crystal's body in a garment bag, moving her in his state car, then moving her again two days later in his truck to a creek near Yukon. The area was searched but Crystal has not been found.

Mr. Crider had bite marks on his arm shortly after her disappearance, leading police to believe that he was involved. Police found DNA evidence in the vehicle consistent with Crystal's blood type. In the apartment, they found a blood-soaked towel and blood on the carpet, a table leg, jeans, a bra and a bedspread. During a second search of the apartment, officers found an empty bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Prosecutors told jurors Crider struck Crystal after catching her breaking a rule forbidding showers in his bathroom.

In 1999, Benjamin Crider II was found guilty of murdering his stepdaughter and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Oklahoma City Police Department

Agency Case Number: 9605952

NCIC Number: M-937272596

Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

Source Information:
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The Shawnee News-Star
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

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