A 10-year old girl vanishes on 4-block walk home from a friend’s house in McLeary, WA–home to only 1,500 people. There’s no evidence of a kidnapping, a struggle–of anything. Another little girl, literally, gone without a trace.
Lindsey left another friends’ house where they had been swimming with a group of friends a little after 8PM. She and her friend Michaela went to Lindsey’s home so she can shower and change before going to Michaela’s house to see if she can spend the night. Lindsey’s 12 year-old brother Josh decided to accompany them.
Lindsey had brought along her brother’s bike, which did not have a chain. She pushed herself along on it until they reached the Shell station, where she decided she was tired of it and left it there. Lindsey and Josh fought about who should get the bike and take it home.
A few houses down from Michaela’s, Lindsey sees one of her mom’s co-workers and asks her to tell Josh to go home. (This is different from various news reports that a family friend “intervened,” but is based on search warrants released by the police which identify this woman–obviously after interviewing her.) Josh balked, but the girls asked her to tell him again, which she does, and he left.
Lindsay and Josh
Lindsey and her brother often fought–some residents say it could get quite physical and that Lindsay was afraid of Josh. Even their mom made a statement to the press that Lindsay would have fought back against whoever might have tried to take her, using her long fingernails that she certainly wasn’t afraid of using on her brother.
But other residents say they were typical siblings. We do know Josh wasn’t your typical, happy-go-lucky 12 year old and seemed to have no real friends. We also know from a comment on her MySpace page that Lindsay was happy her brother was sent to juvenile detention a few weeks prior to this, for a felony he pleaded guilty to. (Details of which are unknown since he’s a minor.)
For these reasons, some have speculated quite openly about whether he could have been involved. But police said early on that everyone in the family had been cleared and was not a suspect. And it seems highly unlikely that he could have committed such a “clean” crime, by himself, leaving nary a trace.
According to Michaela’s mom, the girls decided to see about Lindsey staying at their house on the way over. Michaela’s parents both said no to the sleepover for various typical reasons. So Lindsey was only there briefly before her friend’s father told her she should get going before it gets dark.
Lindsey apparently decided to not call her mom for a ride and to just walk home. That was somewhere between 9:15PM-9:30PM. The friends’ parents say they didn’t think anything of it because it was still daylight. (Note: it apparently didn’t get dark in McLeary until around 10:30PM that day.)
Michaela watched her friend walk down Maple Street, until trees got in the way. One witness saw her on Maple Street, and a neighbor on her way to work spotted her about 2 blocks from Lindsey’s home–and that was the last time she was ever seen.
By 10:00PM (curfew time), Lindsey’s mom Melissa got nervous. She tried her daughter’s cell, found it in the charger and home, and set out on foot to find the girl. Initially, she thought Lindsey must have run into friends along the way.
Melissa reaches Michaela’s mom around 10:25PM, who with her husband, joined the search by car. Finally, her mom called police around 10:45PM.
Police initially theorize that she ran away. Melissa says there’s no way, for several reasons:
- She was afraid of the dark and always refused to go outside anywhere near “the Witching Hour” between midnight and 1AM
- She had no change of clothes or cell phone
- She’d clearly been expecting to spend the night with her friend, so why would she decide to run away 2 blocks from home?
This is truly a case of vanishing without a trace as police have NO physical evidence to even investigate–including nothing unusual on her computer or cell phone.
Speculation and theories have swirled around potential “persons of interest” including local pervs, her brother and an alleged fellow teen she was chatting with online from Pennsylvania. We know from search warrants for the online “friend’s” IP address that he was accessing his account from Reston, VA for several weeks–but stopped 2 days before Lindsey disappeared. And when he finally did log on again several weeks later, it was from an IP out of Bellvue, Washington.
There were also reports Lindsey claimed a white SUV or van appeared to be following her sometimes. But again, nothing more has come of it yet.
The police are still trying to identify strangers from a recently released video taken at the Shell gas station she would have passed that night, although she did not appear on the surveillance tapes there either coming or going. One guy did come forward and explain he was passing through town. But apparently the others remain unidentified.
In all, police had conducted lots of searches, but still have no real clues as to what happened to the young girl.
The FBI is urging neighbors to think about anything unusual they may have noticed about people they know–strange behavior, strange injuries–and both the FBI and police seem to think someone in the community probably took her.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons recently announced it will launch a campaign geared toward getting hunters in the McLeary area to search parts of the dense nearby forests they are familiar with.