NIAGARA FALLS, NY - One year almost to the day, a Niagara Falls woman and mother of three, went missing. Loretta Jo Gates, 30, was brutally murdered and parts of her body dismembered.
2 On Your Side has learned Niagara Falls police have a person of interest in the case.
On Aug. 25, 2012, Gates, of Niagara Falls disappeared. She left an apartment complex on Niagara Avenue in the falls around 11 p.m. to go to a store across the street.
She didn't come back.
Police say Gates was murdered at an unknown location and her killer severed her arms and legs.
"It's still tough, it seems like it was yesterday, it's just so hard to comprehend, that she's gone in the way she went," said Arthur Gates, Loretta's father.
Canadian police found Gates' torso four days later in the Niagara River. Then, Niagara Falls police were alerted to a bag of her remains at Duck Island in Hyde Park. After her death, police said the attack was not random and that Gates may have known her killer.
Without naming who it is, Niagara Falls police captain William Thompson says the person of interest is one of two men Gates had children with. Thompson adds the man has been investigated, but authorities don't have enough evidence to make an arrest.
Thompson says the person of interest was cooperative with police at the beginning of the investigation, but has now become uncooperative.
"To know that someone could do this and could be walking up to you and saying 'hi' to you, it's hard," said Gates.
Police say Gates had been living a dangerous life. She was involved in prostitution and had been fighting a drug addiction.
Investigators say Gates was using cocaine at the time of her disappearance.
"The biggest thing is why? Can somebody do something so wrong that they would have to do what they did to her, I just can't understand it," said Gates.
Police tell 2 On Your Side one of the biggest challenges they've had with finding Gates' killer is that her family didn't report she was missing until six days after, parts of her body were found.
The family acknowledges they should've contacted police sooner.
If you have information on Gates' murder, you're asked to call Niagara Falls police at 286-4553.