Missouri Missing – Amanda Jones

Photo courtesy of FBI.com

A pregnant woman nearing her due date vanishes after a surprise meeting with the uninterested father of the unborn child. Although the man was named as a person of interest, he hasn’t been named as a suspect. Who could have taken this mother? Why is this case still unsolved fourteen years later?


August 14, 2005, Amanda Jones from Festus, Missouri, received a call from the man she claimed was the father of her baby. Although he wasn’t interested in a relationship with her, she hoped he would be interested in the child. Up until that point, he had shown no interest in either mother or baby.

It was a humid Sunday morning, and Amanda was on her way to church. She told the man she would meet him at the Hillsboro Civic Center around 1 pm after the Sunday Morning service. After church, Amanda drove her four-year-old daughter to her grandparent’s house. She told them she would be back in two hours and was never seen again.

Around 1:15 pm, Amanda received a phone call on her cell phone and wasn’t heard from again. According to Bryan Westfall, he met with the pregnant woman around 1 pm. They talked for an hour, then she excused herself to go to the restroom, and she never returned. He claimed he went out to his car around 5 pm and seen her sitting in her car.

Why would a pregnant woman sit in a hot car without an air conditioner for three hours?

Although this story is questionable, to say the least, Westfall hasn’t been officially named a suspect. He supposedly cooperated with the initial investigation but won’t talk about it anymore. A preliminary search was conducted on the family farm, but a thorough search needed a warrant. Police are hoping someone will come forward with the evidence they need to obtain the search warrant, but nothing has come in.

The family feels they already know who killed their daughter, but the police need evidence before they can do anything. If you have any information about this case, please contact your local FBI office.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

True Crime Daily

KSDK


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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Trafficked – The Christina Whitaker Disappearance

Photos used with family permission

Stumbling along through the night, suffering a panic attack, the 21-year-old redhead couldn’t find a ride home. She eventually found one, but the driver had evil intentions. Christina Whitaker wouldn’t be seen by her family again.

November 13, 2009, Christina goes out to a local bar in Hannibal, Missouri, to celebrate with friends. It was the first time she’d been out since giving birth six months earlier. The night took a turn for the worse when Christina has one too many drinks and starts causing a ruckus at the bar.

Christina Whitaker suffered from bipolar disorder, anxiety attacks, and fibromyalgia for years. She had been on medication for three years, trying to get her life back together. Unfortunately, those medications didn’t mix well with alcohol. It is unclear what happened at the party, but Christina was asked to leave. Her friend refused to leave the party and give her a ride home. Now, this left her alone on the street just before midnight. The new mother was at the mercy of the night, and unfortunately, a predator lurked in the shadows.

Christina was very childlike and naive, making her the perfect target for someone to exploit her. Reports say she wandered about trying to find someone to give her a ride home. She asked all of her acquaintances and a few strangers. Everyone refused to provide the troubled woman a ride.

The next morning, Christina’s live-in boyfriend calls Christina’s mother, Cindy. Christina never returned home. Cindy filed a missing person report.

Timeline:

11:45 pm – Christina is asked to leave Rookie’s Bar

Shortly after – Christina enters the Sportsman’s Bar asking for help. She was seen running out of the back entrance in tears.

Her phone was found in the 200th block of 7th St. near 7th and Church St. This is a few yards away from the Sportsman’s bar where she was last seen.

Trafficked:

Within two weeks of her disappearance, an informant gave the Hannibal police a lead. Christina was taken by a group of guys who dealt in drugs and prostitution. The witness claims she was taken two hours away to Peoria, Illinois, and sold into the sex trade.

Several possible sightings have come out of Peoria, leading the authorities to step up their investigation. A waitress claimed to have seen Christina when she went into the Raedene’s Country Cafe, asking for help. The waitress tried to ask what was wrong, but Christina left quickly before the lady could get help.

Another sighting was by a local police officer. He claimed to have seen her and tried to approach her. He said she seemed terrified and fled before he could talk to her.

At one point, a witness comes forward with valuable information. This woman was a patient in the local mental hospital when a woman fitting Christina checked herself in for treatment. She told the witness that she had been kidnapped and was being forced to work as a prostitute. She had gotten pregnant and was beaten so severely that she miscarried. She also claimed they were forcing her to take drugs. The witness went straight to the police, but by the time they arrived, Christina had vanished once again.

What happened to this poor, mentally disabled woman? Who is taking advantage of her? What terror have they struck in her heart to where she’s afraid to run? If you have any information on the disappearance of Christina Whitaker disappearance, please contact the Hannibal Police Department 573-221-0987


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Further Reading:

Christina’s Facebook Pg

Lostandmissing.org


Recommended Reading: 

Read more about Christina’s case in this book. Steffen Hou interviewed her mother for the chapter about Christina.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

Dana Bruce – A Mother Taken

Photo courtesy of Sedalia Democrat

She was a disabled single mother snatched from her children and family, first by him, then by drugs, and finally physically. What happened to Dana Bruce from Sedalia, Missouri?


October 4, 2008, a single mother broke away from her typical pattern and decided to take a night off. She leaves her toddlers at a babysitter’s house and goes out for a much-needed break. Dana Bruce, 23, was a devoted mom. She had no hobbies and no significant social life. Her life quite literally revolved around her two children.


Dana was once a fun-loving, somewhat mischevious teenager, but once she was introduced to Nathan Dotson, her life changed. She became a mother, and she was introduced to a drug-filled world. While Dana was disabled with multiple learning disabilities and blind in one eye, she had two little people who loved her unconditionally. Those two babies meant the world to her, and they were always with her.


Her relationship with the babies’ father was abusive and complicated, so Dana eventually ended up getting herself an apartment. Alienated from her family and many of her friends, Dana, became a target. Who targeted her? Eleven years later, we aren’t sure. Someone took the 98-lb woman, and she was never seen again.


September 2008, Dana broke down and called her stepmom, Rebecca. Although they weren’t blood-related, no one called her a step-mother. Everyone knew Dana as Rebecca’s daughter. Dana and her mother had lost touch a bit after Dana met Nathan, but she knew she could call mom if she got into trouble. That is exactly where she found herself in September. Her disability check had been stolen. She was out of diapers, her ex had broken her apartment window, and now she was being evicted. The worried mother had no idea that ten days later, her sweet Dana would disappear forever.

Public Timeline: October 4, 2008

  • Dana leaves her children at a babysitter’s house and heads out for a few drinks
  • She is seen leaving Malone’s Night Club around 11:30 pm
  • She leaves with a man in a RED Ford F-150
  • Dana stops by the babysitter’s house and asks if the kids can stay the night. She pays the sitter the extra fees and leaves with the man in the red truck
  • She is never seen again

Dana was seen with a man named Joe Rich from Atlanta, Georgia, at one point during the evening. He would become a “person of interest” after her disappearance. Police would even travel to Atlanta to question him, but nothing ever came of it. It was later revealed that Rich drove a WHITE truck. He claims he parted ways with her BEFORE she returned to Malone’s.

The rumor mill claimed she was with two local boys, and one was driving a borrowed red truck. Although law enforcement has followed dozens of leads, it seems they are no closer to solving this case than they were back in 2008. The rumor mill in the rural town has produced a horrific tale surrounding this mother, however.

Theory:

Dana Bruce was supposedly at a woman’s house with several other individuals. She had a few drinks with people she thought were her friends. A group of guys came in and shot her up with drugs inadvertently overdosing her. In a panic, they rolled her up in a carpet and threw her out by the road to die.

Although this is a very plausible story, family and law enforcement officials haven’t been able to find this poor woman. Where is Dana? All she wanted was to fit in and to be loved. Was she taken by drugs and then disposed of by people she thought cared about her?



Missing in Missouri is a podcast produced by a husband and wife team. They are from St. Louis County, MO and they are doing a great job digging into this case. I highly recommend everyone to listen to this podcast series if you’re interested in the case of Dana Bruce’s disappearance. Keep up the good work Zack & Morgan!

Listen to the series of podcasts here:

Missing In Missouri Podcast on Podbean


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Further Information:

Youtube

Cached Site

Charley Project

Missing In Missouri Podcast

Missing In Missouri Facebook Page

Reddit

Recommended Reading: This Week’s Amazon Bestselling True Crime Books

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

Double Amputee Goes Missing -Prosthetics & Wheelchair Left Behind

alsup_rebeccaPhoto courtesy of the Charley Project website

She suffered through heart troubles and received a pacemaker then shortly afterward became a double amputee due to complications. Before she could even learn to use her new prosthetics, Becky Alsup disappears. Her prosthetics and wheelchair were both left behind.


Rebecca Alsup’s story is a tragic tale from the beginning. After living through her mother’s horrific murder as a child, Becky would suffer greatly and eventually find herself bound by drug addiction. This would lead to serious heart problems. Although she was only in her early thirties, Becky had to undergo surgery to receive a pacemaker for her condition. As if this weren’t enough to deal with, the woman suffered more complications that would lead to becoming a double amputee. She would require prosthetics or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, no one realized the trouble lurking around the corner for the poor woman.

On February 15, 2017, Becky spoke with a friend and hadn’t been heard from since. It is believed that Becky was in the Poplar Bluff area at the time of her phone call. At the time of her disappearance, Becky lived with Craig A.Wood in the Williamsville area. He claims Becky got into a white truck and drove away with someone he didn’t recognize. This has not been verified, however. Considering his drug use and criminal record, Wood’s statement cannot be taken at face value.

After all the surgeries, Becky had gone to live with her sister for a while and tried to battle her addiction problems. Unfortunately, bad influences convinced her to return to her old stomping grounds a short time before her disappearance.

Years earlier, Becky was in a relationship with another man named Cody. With him, she had two boys. They now live with their grandmother and wonder why their mother doesn’t come by anymore. How do you explain that to a child? What has happened to this poor woman? Have you seen Rebecca Alsup? Do you know anything about the mysterious white pickup? If you have any information about this case, please contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department at (573) 224-3219.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Crime Watchers

NameUs

Websleuths


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

101 Safety and Self-Defense Tips: Lessons From The Experts

Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision, 2-Way Audio, Works with Alexa

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Seriously Stupid Criminals: Complete Collection


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Gambling with the Mafia – Paul Douglas Cappo Mystery

paul_douglas_cappo_1 photo courtesy of The Charley Project

Gambling addict leaves for Vegas in fear and is never seen again. What happened to Paul Douglas Cappo in June 1980? Between his ties with organized crime and his $75,000 gambling debt, Cappo knew his life was at stake. Why in the world would he go to Las Vegas if he knew death was near?


Paul Douglas Cappo, 28 told his wife goodbye on June 10, 1980, and drove off into the horizon. Cappo was nervous about his trip to Vegas and told his wife that his friends would rather “stab you in the back than look at you.” Mrs. Cappo was to contact his attorney immediately if her husband missed a scheduled call.

In hopes of taking care of his family, Paul took out a $50,000 life insurance policy with an additional $50,000 accidental death clause. Why was this poor man so nervous? The answer might lie in his organized crime contacts, or perhaps it could be the $75,000 gambling debt he owed to the Tropicana Casino? Who knows?

Cappo was last seen driving a dark blue 1977 Plymouth 4-door car. The car had Kansas City license plates and had a damaged front fender. Perhaps the gambler had a premonition, but whatever the case neither Paul Cappo nor his car was ever seen again. Unfortunately, no one knows who he was going to meet in Sin City, and very few leads have come in on this case over the past 39 years.

If you have any information on this case, please contact Sgt. Benjamin Caldwell with the Kansas City Police Department at (816)234-5136.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

The Charley Project

The Doe Network 


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

Blog sign up

SIGN UP HERE 


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.


The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen


SABRE Pepper Spray & Stun Gun Self-Defense Kit— Police Strength SABRE Red Pepper Spray PLUS a SABRE Stun Gun with Anti-Grab Technology & Flashlight


paul_douglas_cappo_1

Missouri Missing – Luther O. Boyt

luther_o._boyt_3


In the middle of moving back home to care for his dying father, Luther Boyt disappears without a trace. He was last seen at a local gay bar having drinks with friends. Witnesses say he was happy and although he had a couple drinks, he wasn’t drunk. What happened after he left, and why did authorities find his car abandoned in a local park?


Luther Boyt, a Louisiana native had moved to the Kansas City area in 1966. He worked as the director of Vital Statistics at the city hall until retirement in 1989. Boyt lived in a beautiful home on Janseen Place and loved to throw lavish parties. His hobbies included buying antiques and traveling.

During the summer of 2000, Boyt sold his manson and planned to assist his mother who was caring for his ailing father. By the end of November the move was nearly complete. on November 25, 2000, Boyt was seen at the Buddies’ Bar having drinks with friends. He was happy and seemed fine. Around 2:30 am on the 26th, Boyt leaves the bar and is never seen again.

Later the same day, movers arrive at the house to finish moving the last of Mr. Boyt’s furniture, but the owner never arrives. Friends become worried and begin searching for Luther Boyt. His car is found in Penn Calley Park the next day. Everyone said there would be no reason for Boyt to drive to the well-known gay hookup spot.

Strangely, inside the car was $360 which Boyt had apparently stashed under the floor mat. A friend later recalled he had said something about stopping by an ATM and getting cash to pay the movers.

Sadly, three days after Boyt’s disappearance, his ailing father died. It was on what would be Boyt’s 60th birthday. Family and friends are adamant that Boyt would not have willing gone to that dangerous park alone at night, so what happened to him and why was his car abandoned there? Whatever the case, Mr. Boyt’s friends and family need answers and nineteen years later they are still searching.

If you have any information about this cold case, please contact the Kansas City Police Department at (816) 234-5136.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Reddit

Charley Project

Missouri Missing – Facebook 


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.


Self-Defense for Women: Fight Back


Fox Labs, 11FTK-PK 5.3 Million SHU – Pink (Flip Top) Keychain Pepper Spray (In Retail Packaging)


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Missing Mother – Sarah Burton

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Mother of two goes missing in America’s heartland, and the police still have no answers. What happened to Sarah Burton after visiting the Payless shoe store with a friend? Why did said friend stop by Sarah’s mother’s house to drop off Sarah’s purse and a shoe a short time later?

On July 16, 2018, Sarah Burton was dropped off near 10th Street and Rex Avenue. She never returned home from this trip leaving her two small boys behind. Sarah’s parents and grandparents are looking after 3-year-old Xander and 8-month-old Zane while police search for the young mom. Although Sarah had a troubled past, family members are adamant that she would not have left her boys.

Burton was battling an addiction to drugs at the time of her disappearance. It has been reported that this former high school cheerleader had been a victim of a violent crime and began using drugs as a way to cope. Whatever the reason, 2018 found a determined young mother battling her demons and struggling to make a better life for her sons. Burton was seeking long term drug treatments, attending all of her court dates and working with an attorney to help with her legal issues. She had held a job for a year, but somehow trouble with her sons’ father caused her to lose this position. I would love to have more information on this incident, but there isn’t much available online.

Sarah stayed at the Lafayette House in September and October of 2017. The Lafayette House is a sanctuary for domestic violence victims, sexual abuse victims, and for those recovering from substance abuse. It seemed Sarah was finally getting her life together, but strangely when things appeared to be going well, she vanished without leaving a trace. The Joplin Police Department has constantly chased leads and conducted two searches over the 2018 holiday season trying to find the missing woman. Captain Trevor Duncan graciously answered my questions for this post. He states the case is active and ongoing and hasn’t grown cold. Joplin investigators followed lead #66 last Friday and were working on #67 yesterday. These leads have included several surrounding counties and the states of Oklahoma and Kansas. Joplin P.D. is actively searching for answers for the Burton family.

If you have any information, please contact the Joplin Police Department at (417) 623-3131

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

Don’t Forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter and receive her ebook Grim Justice as a free gift.

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#SarahBurton – #BringSarahHome – #MissinginMissouri – #TrueCrime – #UnsolvedCase

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Sleepover Nightmare: Tracy Pickett Cold Case

tracy pickett

She spent the night with a friend and was never seen again. Police have had a suspect for 26 years, but without a body, justice for 14-year-old Tracy Pickett seems impossible.


It’s a parents worse nightmare and unfortunately, Glenda “Kay” Blaser cannot wake up from it. On August 11, 1992, Blaser agreed to let her daughter spend the night with a friend. Another girl was coming too, and Blaser knew the three girls would have a great time. If she had known who would show up in Webb City that evening, Blaser would have kept her little girl home. Two ex-convicts showed up to the girls’ party. One guy was dating one of the girls, and he brought along a friend named “Al.”

The sun broke over the horizon on August 12, 1992, and Blaser expected to see her daughter soon. Instead of her sassy little girl bounding through the front door, Blaser received a strange voicemail. It almost sounded pre-recorded. The female voice was unfamiliar to the worried mother.

“Tracy is on her way home to change her clothes”

This strange message was sent twice, but Tracy never showed up. Blaser went to the friend’s house searching for her daughter and found Tracy’s shoes in the closet, but didn’t find her little girl. “Al” was nowhere to be found, but witnesses claim he was the one who gave Terry a ride home to get new clothes.

Police discover “Al” is an ex-con named Lowell Andrew Billy. He drove a black van with Oklahoma license plates. The van had louvers down the side windows and boasted two sunroofs. Witnesses say they saw a gun inside. It took police a week to track him down, but by then “Al” had left the state by then. He claimed to have dropped the teenager off in front of a pawnshop in downtown Joplin on the morning of August 12th.

Neighbors claimed to have seen a young girl running down the alleyway screaming “leave me alone,” on the next morning. There was a possible sighting of the van near Carthage, MO. Witnesses say they saw “Al” cleaning out the van around noon, but authorities were unable to verify this sighting.

A year later, “Al” was arrested in Oklahoma for kidnapping and forcible rape of an Oklahoma woman. Police claim Lowell “Al” Billy is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Tracy Pickett, but there isn’t enough evidence to arrest him. “Al” spent time in jail for his crimes in Oklahoma but was released after a few years. He was re-arrested a short time later for failing to file as a sex offender and was incarcerated.

In 2005, police attempted to drain a mining pit in the local area without results. In July 2018, the Joplin police department began searching local ponds following leads on the other ex-con that showed up that night. Ernest “Michael” Hensley was dating one of the girls and was friends with “Al.” Police are looking into the now-deceased Hensley in hopes of finding evidence as to what happened to Tracy Pickett.

If you have any information in this case, please contact the Joplin Police Department (417) 623-3131

Further Reading:

Joplin Globe

The Charley Project

Joplin PD Facebook


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Missing In Missouri: The Phoenix Coldon Mystery

phoenix_lucille_coldon_4

A black SUV slowly pulled out of a driveway in Spanish Lake, MO. The vehicle is found 25 miles away in the roughest part of St. Louis. The door was slung open, the engine left running, and the driver was missing. What happened to this beautiful young college student? Seven years later her grieving parents still pray for answers.

Phoenix Coldon, 23 had recently moved back into her parent’s home in the Spanish Lake suburb of St. Louis Missouri. The deeply religious family upbringing had sheltered the young woman from the dangers of the world around her. On the outside, the smart, outgoing Phoenix had a bright future ahead of her. She was a fencing champion, a talented pianist, and made friends easily. She was surrounded by love, how could this sweet girl go awry? I wish I knew.

On December 18, 2011, Phoenix and her mother attended morning services at their local church. The pair made a stop on their way home but arrived in the early afternoon. Around 3 pm, her father noticed Phoenix walk out to her black SUV and pull out of the driveway. He didn’t think much about it until she didn’t return. What happened to his lovely daughter? Phoenix had lived away from home for a while, but as long as she lived under their roof, she never stayed out past 2 am. The next morning Phoenix was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, when Goldia Coldon tried to file a missing persons report she was informed her daughter was of age and the report wasn’t taken seriously. Goldia tried to explain that her daughter still lived at home and had always come home on time. Finally, the report was taken, but that wouldn’t be the only obstacle the parents would face. They quickly found that getting media attention was nearly impossible.

Within three hours of the SUV leaving the driveway, the vehicle was found abandoned in one of the roughest places in East St. Louis. The location was only 25 miles from her home, but it was a world away from the quiet life she led. No one could understand why she would go to East St. Louis. The vehicle brought on more questions, a few conspiracy theories, but unfortunately no answers.

For seven years it has been told this way:

The 1998 Chevy Bronco was found parked in the traffic lane on the corner of 9th St & St. Clair Ave, East St. Louis, Illinois. The driver’s door was open, and the engine was running. The initial reports claimed there wasn’t anything left in the vehicle. The 911 call came it at 5:27 pm on December 18, 2011, and the officer arrived on the scene at 5:35 pm. Here is where the problems begin. For seven long years, people were working with this story with these facts. It leads people to believe that poor Phoenix was pulled from her vehicle in a violent way. The Bronco was found next to Interstate 70 which is known as the human trafficking highway. This made investigators immediately think of this possible scenario. I’m not so sure, and I will tell you why.

When conducting interviews for the documentary “The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon,” the hosts speak with the first officer on the scene. This interview would shake up the entire investigation. The attending officer claimed the vehicle was not running when he came upon it, and the driver’s door was not open. Where did this story come from then? Who knows?

The Double Life of Phoenix:

Investigations tend to kick up all your dirty little secrets and seems Phoenix wasn’t as saintly as initially described. Everyone has their problems, and it appeared the 23-year-old was struggling with her share of difficulties. Phoenix was homeschooled for most of her education and many wonder if she was too sheltered and just decided to break out and try something new. In fact, she did move out of the house when she started college. But, if her home life was so restricting and terrible, then why would she move back into her parents’ home in early 2011. This theory doesn’t hold water with me. There are many other ways to leave the nest.

Phoenix was leading a double life of sorts. After her disappearance, her parents discovered she kept a separate cell phone just to speak with friends she thought her parents wouldn’t approve of. Also when she had rented an apartment earlier, she wasn’t living with a female friend. Going against her religious upbringing, Phoenix was living with her boyfriend; Michael B. Supposedly, she was on the phone with Michael B. on the day she disappeared, but frankly, nothing seems for sure in this case. If Michael B. was the last person to talk to her, then why do investigators adamantly claim he wasn’t involved in her disappearance. It’s strange to hear an investigator say that they are 100% sure someone wasn’t involved. Maybe the guy was in jail, or in the hospital, I don’t know. But everything was so vague, and it’s hard to understand why the police wrote him off as a person of interest.

Continuing with Phoenix’s secrets, we also find out that she had been dating another man from school also named Michael. We will call him Mike#2. It was later determined that Mike #2 had a violent nature with women when his ex-girlfriend came forward to talk to investigators. She would eventually have to file a restraining order against him. Could Mike #2 have anything to do with Phoenix’s disappearance? The ex is unsure. He did seem to be overly interested in the case but said it was just because he had known her.

“Why are you worrying about someone who’s dead?”

Those are the words that fell from the lips of Mike #2 when his ex-girlfriend continued to question him about his interest in this case. How did he know she’s dead? More importantly, what are investigators doing about it?

Phoenix’s Best Friend:

When interviewed by the investigators for the documentary, Phoenix’s next door neighbor and best friend came forward to talk with the hosts. She claimed to know some things about her friend and had been afraid to say anything in the beginning. This friend claims Phoenix had grown paranoid in the last few months before her disappearance. She claimed Phoenix talked about leaving and even said she was afraid something terrible was going to happen to her. She claimed Phoenix was driving around with a large knife tucked in beside the drivers’ seat of her Bronco. Strangely, this knife wasn’t found in the abandoned vehicle.

Honestly, I don’t know what to do with this. Yes, there is evidence to show that Phoenix had gotten mixed up with a rough crowd, but why would the friend just now be showing up to talk? Why would she talk on camera if she were so afraid? She didn’t even ask for them to hide her identity. I don’t know. Maybe she is legit, but I find it funny when someone who’s afraid to come forward suddenly jumps into the limelight of television.

The Fateful Video:

When the hosts spoke with the family, they were given a bunch of evidence and documentation the family had collected over the past seven years. In this pile of evidence was a “selfie video” of Phoenix. In this video, we see the true nature of Phoenix’s mental anguish. She felt like she couldn’t turn to anyone and she just wanted to start over. After watching the film, it is apparent that Phoenix’s life was spiraling out of control. What had she gotten involved with? Why did she say she would have been better off to stay the way she used to be?

Investigators came back to the poor parents and said they believe the runaway theory. Of course, if this is true, she sure did a great job hiding her identity for seven years. I still think if she’s alive she was lured away by someone. I don’t believe she would go through all of this without stashing away some clothes and building an identity for herself ahead of time. Her family still thinks she was forced into the sex trade. They even interviewed local prostitutes and visited the strip clubs hoping someone would recognize their daughter.

Tragedy upon Tragedy:

During the most difficult time of their lives, the Coldon family should be surrounded by loving friends and supportive strangers. Instead, their misfortune has been compounded by grief upon grief. A few days after Phoenix went missing, Goldia received a phone call from a female claiming to be her daughter. Police tracked down the caller to find it was a 14-year-old prankster from California. Who would do such a thing?

If that weren’t bad enough, the Coldons spent every dime they had trying to investigate their daughter’s disappearance. When they had spent their savings and were nearly wiped out they got a tip out of Texas claiming their daughter was in a prostitution ring. This caller needed money to buy her out. Of course, the grief-stricken parents gave them the money only to find out it was another horrid hoax. This one left them nearly homeless. Their family home was behind, and the lender was threatening to foreclose. A stranger stepped in and helped negotiate a quick sale for the family. Although they avoided foreclosure, they still lost their family home.

“It’s just money, and it’s just a house,” Goldia said. “It wasn’t a home when she’s not there.”

Sightings & Rumors:

To make this case even more bizarre, the private investigator says there is evidence that Phoenix had been taking money from her parents’ safe and had found out she had two separate birth certificates. One certificate was with the Coldon name, and the other was with her mother’s maiden name. The parents’ deny this, but why would their own private investigator say this? Also, when tracking down the maiden name theory, investigators found a person by that name living in Alaska. They made the trip up there only to find out the person at the given address had never heard of Phoenix. Could that be a coverup? Could Phoenix really have run away and used a random address? Who knows.

If that’s not enough twists for you, here’s another one. Two years after Phoenix went missing one of her church friends was on an airplane coming home from Vegas when she saw Phoenix in a group of well-dressed women. She called out her name, and strangely the woman looked at her.

“Do I look like someone?” was the woman’s response. Two men were with the group, and the crowd moved past the stunned friend. Was this really Phoenix? The concerned woman immediately reported the incident to airport security. The entire place was searched, but no one found Phoenix or the group of people. Was this really Phoenix? Were the ladies high priced escorts and the men their bouncers, or was this a random group of people?

Through all the chaos, hoaxes, and turmoil Goldia and Lawrence Coldon are still searching for their precious baby girl. Where is Phoenix Coldon? Who took her? Did she go on her own? Is she still alive? These questions and more torment the poor mother causing panic attacks and even a heart attack. If you have any information or if you have seen Phoenix, please contact the St. Louis County Police Department 314-615-5317

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The Hollow Gaze – The Linda Sherman Mystery

linda sherman

Outside a popular Mexican restaurant, nestled beneath the Yucca plant peered the hollow eyes of a human skull. The morbid sight caused two customers to call over the manager who quickly phoned the police. A nearby cemetery was being relocated at the time, so the skull was placed on a shelf in the mortuary and nearly forgotten until an anonymous letter arrived at the Vinita Park Police Department a year later.

“Bridgeton P.D. has L. Sherman’s Skull.”

Who was the anonymous tipster? Why was Linda Sherman’s skull strategically placed in front of her husband’s favorite drinking spot? Was it to intimidate him, or was it because he couldn’t remarry since she hadn’t been officially declared dead?

This fateful tale began a decade earlier with the marriage of two high school sweethearts. Linda Lutz and Don Sherman decided to marry after Linda became pregnant. Neither teenager had graduated high school, but both were determined to make it work. Don graduated a few months later and went to work at a gas station to help provide for his family. Linda gave birth to a baby girl during summer vacation that year and named the child Patty. When the fall semester rolled around, Linda was back in school determined to complete her senior year. The couple rented a house next door to Linda’s parents, and Patty stayed with Linda’s mother. Life was difficult, but the couple seemed to be happy in the first few years.

Between the strain of young love, parenthood, and financial woes the couple’s relationship quickly became toxic. Linda repeatedly left Don and took their daughter only to reconcile a short time later. Linda even went as far as to file for divorce once, just to then call it off. At one point Linda got a restraining order taken out against her husband claiming he was mentally unstable. Somehow, Don always found a way back into his wife’s good graces, and life moved on. Things would take a drastic turn in the spring of 1985 however.

The couple worked opposite shifts, and Don became increasingly paranoid about his wife’s activities. Her brother, Dennis reported his brother-in-law was obsessed with Linda’s every move. A short time before her disappearance, Don claimed to have seen Linda at a restaurant with a male coworker and another female. Was this a casual lunch with two coworkers, or was she cheating on him? No one would ever know for sure because Linda filed for divorce again. Eleven days later she would disappear altogether.

On April 22, 1985, Linda arrived home around 2:15 am from her night job. Don claims they had a discussion about her late arrival before she fell asleep on the couch. Early the next morning, Don takes their 9-yr-old daughter Patty to school. Patty recalls this was very odd because her mom always dropped her off at school. Patty told Unsolved Mysteries that her mother was still on the couch facing the back. The thought it was strange when her mother didn’t get up and kiss her goodbye. The child had no way of knowing that she would never see her mother again.

Don claims he returned home later that evening around 6 pm to find Linda in a panic because she was running late for work. She took off in her ’71 Volkswagon Beetle in a hurry. Linda never reported to work that evening, and after prodding by the family, Don files a missing persons’ report two days later. He claims his wife had left him again and said an overnight bag was missing from the house. While Linda had left him before, there was one major difference this time around. Linda always took Patty with her. This time Patty was left behind with her father.

Four days later, Linda’s Volkswagon Bug was found abandoned at the St. Louis Lambert Airport. The doors were locked, and some of her belongings were inside. The police opened the unlocked trunk half expecting to find the missing woman inside, but she wasn’t there. Five years passed without any movement on the case. It looked like Linda was lost forever.

June 28, 1990, two TSA workers were having lunch at the popular Casa Gallardo restaurant near the airport when one of the women noticed an eerie gaze peering out from under the well-manicured sidewalk area. There between the gravel and Yucca plants were the hollow eyes of a human skull. The restaurant manager quickly called the police, and soon the place was swarming with crime scene investigators. Coincidently, the nearby graveyard was being relocated to expand the airport at this time, and investigators thought this could be a prank. The Bridgeton P.D. checked their missing persons’ reports and didn’t have a missing female, so they simply placed the skull on a shelf at the mortuary.

A year later the Vinita Park Police Department received an anonymous unsealed letter. It contained one sentence stamped in purple ink. There were no fingerprints and no DNA. It read, “The Bridgeton P.D. has L. Sherman’s skull.” This sentence had been stamped on the back of a flyer for the Casa Gallardo restaurant.

The investigators were skeptical at first. How could a police department ten miles away have Linda’s skull and they not know about it? All skepticism flew out the window however when they made the phone call and found out the truth. Ten days later the skull would be identified as Linda Sherman’s using dental records.

Police suspicion had always been on the husband, but now it was falling harder on Don’s shoulders. To make matters worse, the Casa Gallardo was one of Don’s favorite drinking spots. He visited the restaurant at least twice a week and had even been there the night the skull was found. Could this be a coincidence or was someone trying to taunt the man?

Don gave the police several different theories as to his wife’s disappearance and demise. First, he claimed she had run off with another man and abandoned her child. Then, he claimed she had gotten mixed up in drugs, and someone killed her because she knew too much. None of Don’s theories held weight with the authorities, and although several sites claim he has been cleared as a suspect, I could not find evidence of this. When the police chief was interviewed for Unsolved Mysteries, he clearly stated that Don Sherman was the one suspect that he could not clear. Even Patty believes her father killed her mother.

Strange fact about Don Sherman: While it has no official bearing on the case, just before Don’s marriage to Linda Don’s mother was convicted of shooting and killing Don’s father. Could this violence have damaged Don psychologically and caused him to be abusive to Linda? Who knows?

After watching the Unsolved Mysteries episode, I found one thing strange about the interview with Don Sherman. Every time he mentions Linda he refers to her full name. Who calls their deceased wife by her full name as if talking about a stranger?

The official theory: Don killed his wife when he found out she had filed for divorce again. When Patty saw her mother on the couch, she was already dead. He takes Patty to school, disposes of his wife and continues. Five years later, he isn’t granted a divorce because Linda hasn’t officially been declared dead. Suddenly, her skull shows up outside his favorite drinking hole. When the investigators don’t connect the dots, an anonymous letter arrives at the police station.

An ex-girlfriend claims Don admitted to her that he had killed Linda, but there wasn’t enough evidence to prove it. Police Chief Michael Webb spent his career chasing leads in this case but died in 2009 never knowing what happened to Linda Sherman. His son said it has become a family obsession and hopes it will be solved one day. Don died in 2015, and Linda’s brother Dennis died in 2016. It would seem this mystery will outlive the participants. Where is Linda’s body? What happened to this young mother?

If you have any information, please contact the Vinita Park P.D. 314-499-6090

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

Further Reading:

The Occult Museum

The Riverfront Times

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Unsolved Mysteries

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