Missing mom - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Missing mom

To many, Donna Cupido seemed to have it all...three beautiful children and a hard working husband.

Brian Cupido says, "I saw her at church and I said I'm going to marry that girl."

But despite her "picture-perfect" grin investigators say Donna Cupido's life was anything but "picture-perfect".

Chief Randy Stringer with the Iuka, MS police department says, "I don't think it was any secret that it was an unhappy marriage."

Brian and Donna Cupido left the bright lights of Alberta, Canada 8 years ago for the small town charm of Iuka, Mississippi.

When the family business hit a rough spot, so did the marriage.

Brian Cupido says his wife began having an affair and was cheating on him the day she disappeared.

Cupido says, "Up and just vanished in the middle of thin air."

Investigators say on the morning of October 21st, 2004, Donna Cupido took her daughter to school then vanished.

In a town of fewer than 3-thousand people, it took investigators two days to find her car.

An officer discovered it parked behind a church.

Chief Stringer continues, "It appeared it was parked locked, walked away from and just left.  Mother's don't just leave their kids."

Brian Cupido believes something sinister happened to his wife.

He showed Action News Five maps of his own search efforts, including Bear Creek where fisherman found parts of Donna's wallet two months after she disappeared.

No money was ever taken from her bank accounts.

Cupido says, "What I'm told is, Brian all we deal with is facts I know you have theories, but we have to have facts and I said well what about these facts?"

Police admit they took very little evidence from Donna Cupido's car.

Inside, police found an unopened carton of cigarettes which suggests to her husband she didn't leave voluntarily.

Cupido continues, "Donna just seems to be swept underneath the carpet."

Police say they worked the case until it ran cold.

Chief Stringer continues, "I think we poly graphed a total of 7 people and I think we have excluded all of those...but one who did not pass it."

That person...now has an attorney...and refuses to be tested again.

Brian Cupido passed the polygraph.

The man Brian suspects was having an affair with his wife also passed.

Police say the man who failed knew Donna and may know more about what happened to her.

"I can't go on assumptions you know you've got to have evidence and we just don't have that at this point," continues Cupido. 

Brian and his daughters, Michelle and Jocelyn, have since moved to Allen, Texas.

Their son Jason lives in Guntown, Mississippi.

Jocelyn Cupido says, "I do miss Iuka and I miss being there and seeing all the things that my mom did for people."

Donna's things sit in boxes throughout a home she's never seen.

Michelle Cupido says, "Its just hard to even look at these pictures."

Harder still for her children-- to accept the idea their mom may never return.

Michelle Cupido continues, "Most definitely move on that's what we're trying to do it's so hard though."

Hundreds of miles from Memphis, Brian Cupido continues to monitor the investigation of his wife's case. And he has a message for anyone who might have had something to do with her disappearance.

Cupido says, "I hope your mind just rots away buddy because I know you've done something and you know who you are."

Until police in Iuka, Mississippi know, Donna Cupido's fate remains a mystery to family members who have been able to move away, but unable to move on.


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