THE on-off girlfriend of OJ Simpson has disappeared without trace from her Florida home, it emerged yesterday.
Authorities forced their way into Christine Prody’s apartment after reports claimed she had not been seen by friends for about a month.
A neighbour called detectives to say a foul smell was emanating from her apartment. Police eventually retrieved a dead cat from the property and said the flat had been burgled.
"The apartment appeared to be ransacked," said Miami-Dade Detective Joey Giordano. Clothes and partially-packed suitcases were on the floor.
A Florida police spokeswoman said: "Investigations are under way and we are searching for Miss Prody."
No further details were immediately made available.
Simpson, a former American football hero and film star, has had a stormy relationship with Miss Prody, a 27-year-old restaurant worker - who slightly resembles his murdered ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman were slashed to death on the driveway of her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles.
Simpson was acquitted of the double murder in a criminal trial, but was later found responsible for their deaths by a civil jury and ordered to pay 21 million compensation.
Two years ago Ms Prody was publicly urged by her mother to break up with OJ because, she claimed, he seemed to treat her as he had treated Nicole.
The relationship between Simpson and his lover has been plagued with problems and mystery for over a year.
The pair were first seen together on the doorstep of Simpson’s mansion in Brentwood, California, in 1996.
Four years later, Ms Prody accused the disgraced sports legend of breaking into her property in September 2000. Ms Prody filed a police report claiming Simpson broke into her home with a set of keys that he was not entitled to have, erased a message on her answering machine and made off with a letter.
The report says Ms Prody told officers she confronted Simpson over the phone and that he admitted he broke in because he wanted to erase a message he had left for her.
Then in October 2000, Ms Prody gave an interview to the National Enquirer and claimed her former lover had confessed to his ex-wife’s murder. She also claimed to have been stalked by Simpson since splitting up with him.
Ms Prody said: "For years I could never admit that the man I loved could have killed his ex-wife in cold blood.
"But I no longer believe in his innocence. He has treated me the same way he treated Nicole during their break up. He is totally capable of killing.
"I won’t go back to him. That’s why I’m finally revealing what happened. I want it to be over forever. It sounds incredibly stupid and insensitive, but OJ talked to me for years, hour after hour, about Nicole, blaming her for getting killed and sticking him with raising his children Sydney and Justin alone. It’s not what he wanted. It interfered with his golf games and social calendar."
Nicole also accused him of stealing the keys to her house, according to her best friend Faye Resnick’s book Nicole Brown Simpson, The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted.
"Nicole rummaged around in a drawer looking for the set of spare keys," writes Resnick. "After a moment she said ‘The keys are gone. OJ’s got them. He must have taken them last week when he was here seeing the kids’."
Despite Ms Prody’s onslaughts, she is believed to have stayed in touch with Simpson until recently. In May 2000, Simpson claimed he was just another single father trying to live a quiet, normal life, while never escaping a cloud of suspicion. He denied his affair with Ms Prody was serious, claiming he had no time for serious relationships.
"I am the last guy on earth that some beautiful young girl should be wanting to date," he said in an interview. "Not because what you think but because I don’t have the time to get to a beautiful, young ... I’m a single parent with two kids.