Family, friends remember Sioux City victim of Colorado cold case

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Annette Schnee was 21-years-old when she was killed 39 years ago. She was raised in Sioux City but living in Colorado at the time.

Her friends and family said that although there hasn’t been a conviction, an arrest is something they almost gave up on.

“I met Annette in spring of 1976 out on Morningside Avenue at the McDonalds,” said Scott Smith.

Smith was Annette Schnee’s high school boyfriend.

“I was instantly drawn to her. She was a beautiful girl. Annette was loyal and just really loveable. I mean, everybody really liked her,” said Smith.

After high school, both of them left Sioux City. Smith said he wrote Schnee ins December of 1981, wanting to visit her. However, he never heard back and that’s when he began to worry.

“Annette’s mom called me up and she said, ‘Scott, what did you mean when you said you were worried about Annette?’ And I said, ‘Well, I haven’t heard from her, and I was just a little concerned about her.’ And she said, ‘Well, Annette’s roommates have called and said she didn’t show up at work last night and she hadn’t showed up at their house.'” said Smith.

Schnee was reported missing for months.

“We had to wait six months until we got news that Annette’s body had been found. She’d been found lying face down on the edge of a creek.”

Schnee died from a single gunshot wound.

“She is somebody I always looked up to. She would do my hair, and she would do my makeup and paint my fingernails. She acted more like a caregiver. She was with me a lot babysitting me,” said Cindy French, Schnee’s sister.

French describes her sister as outgoing and goofy. French and Smith said after nearly 40 years, the news of an arrest in the case came as a shock.

“I think my jaw literally hit the floor. When they say it’s jaw-dropping, I think that’s exactly how I would describe it. I couldn’t believe it. days went on and it was a shock, and I’m still having a hard time believing that it’s happening and that there was an arrest,” said French.

For Schnee’s mother, it’s the start of a path to closure.

“She’s like, ‘Oh Scott, can you believe it? Can you believe it?’ she says. I’m just in a state of shock, she said ‘I really, I really thought my time was going to run out before I found out.’ So she got to find out. We all did,” said Smith.

Alan Lee Phillips, 70, is accused of kidnapping and murdering Annette Schnee in 1982.

“It’s going to be a real interesting next 18 months on this thing, but we waited 39 years, we can wait another 18 months,” said Smith.

French and Smith said they want to know what really happened the day Annette Schnee was killed and why. They say she’ll always be with them, but they look forward to putting the rest behind.

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