Who Is Amber Evans? Activist Found Dead In Columbus, OH

Amber Evans disappeared in January. This week, her body was found in the Scioto River.

Who Is Amber Evans? Instagram

Amber Evans, the executive director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition in Columbus, Ohio disappeared after leaving work on the evening of Jan. 28, 2019. After months of searching and begging for information, she has finally been found. This week, police positively identified a body found in the Scioto River as Amber. They have not released any information about her cause of death.

Amber was a graduate of Ohio State University and had a masters degree from Kent State University. She had returned to Columbus in 2015 to work for the Juvenile Justice Coalition, and to be closer to her family. Her mother Tonya says: “The only reason why Amber returned back to Columbus, Ohio was because of her siblings’ graduations. She loved her siblings. She loved family. She loved it all. She was doing this so we could have a better life. She was fighting for everybody to have a better life.


Amber’s death has left her family distraught. Fining her boy ends the search but it does not answer the question of what happened to her.

Who is Amber Evans and what happened to her? Read on to learn more.

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1. Activist

Amber has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in library and information sciences from Kent State University. it was at Ohio State that she found her passion for organizing for social justice. In 2011, she got involved with Occupy OSU, a group inspired but the Occupy Wall Street movement. In 2015, she took a job with the Juvenile Justice Coalition in Columbus and was recently promoted to executive director.


While she loved the mission, her mother says “The work was getting to Amber. She was taken off the spectrum of organizing and being in the heart of it all, to the administrative side.”

In their last conversation, two days before Amber disappeared, Tonya recalls that Amber was thinking about making changes in her career.

“I said, ‘Amber, tell me what your life is going to be -- your 30 and 40-year-old life -- and how that looks for you.’” Tonya told Dateline that Amber said. “Mom, I want to go back to Paris and teach the children English again.”



A post shared by A. Jones (@a1_jay_jones_) on Mar 3, 2019 at 8:17am PST

2. Vanished

On Jan. 28, Amber finished out her workday with a meeting and then left the office, telling coworkers that she wasn’t feeling well. Security footage at a local store shows her buying cold medicine and a candy bar, then leaving the shop. She wasn’t seen at all after that.


Later that same evening, her car was found Scioto River in downtown Columbus, Ohio, with her purse in the trunk but no sign of Amber.

3. Domestic issues?

The car was found following a report of a domestic dispute between Amber and her boyfriend of 10 years. Between that report and the descriptions of her state of mind as she left her office, police were concerned and referred to her as a “distraught missing person.”


Her boyfriend was reportedly cooperating with police while Amber as missing but her family was wary of him at that time. Her mother told Dateline, “He was very much at every dinner, event, function that we had for our family. The only time he wasn’t, was when he had to work.”

But since Amber disappeared, they hadn’t been as close. “We have not been on good terms at all,” said Tonya. 

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A post shared by Chaka Sol (@healer_4_the_nomads) on Feb 1, 2019 at 5:15pm PST

4. Search

The search for Amber was complicated by weather factors. Attempts to search the river itself were thwarted by snowy conditions in the days after Amber vanished.


At the time, police were using dogs, helicopters, divers, and officers out on foot, all to no avail. Continued attempts by dive teams to search in the water were slowed by currents and water levels through the winter.



A post shared by Sleuth Coup (@sleuthcoup) on Feb 6, 2019 at 4:48pm PST

5. Found

On March 23, police finally found Amber in the water. According to the official statement “On Saturday, March 23, 2019, members from the Columbus Police Special Victims Bureau were working in conjunction with the Columbus Police Dive team on the Scioto River. Through the efforts of the detectives and dive team members, a body was recovered from the water. The Franklin County coroner’s office was called in to work with the detectives. Additional information will be available pending the outcome of the Coroner’s investigation and identification.”


They eventually updated the information to say that Amber had been positively identified, saying “While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we understand this brings closure for the family. Our thoughts & prayers go out to them.” 

Amber’s father simply said, “I am just happy that we have found her.”



A post shared by Halal Wadi (@360juvenileadvocates) on Mar 26, 2019 at 2:06am PDT

A memorial vigil is planned for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at the Scioto Mile in Columbus.


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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.