Before getting on the school bus home on April 26, 2010, 16-year-old Alexandria Lowitzer (known to her friends as Ali) called her mom JoAnn to say she’d forgotten her key to their Spring, TX, home but was going to walk over to Burger Barn just a half mile away to pick up her paycheck anyway.
Video surveillance showed she got off the school bus just 3 houses down from her home. She then texted a friend–telling her the same things she told her mom and asking if she wanted to get together that afternoon.
But Burger Barn employees say she never made it there and she has never been seen again.
After trying to reach her by cell later that afternoon, Ali’s mom went to the home of the teen’s new boyfriend, who was also worried about being unable to reach her.
Although Ali has been missing for almost a year, police still have her classified as a runaway because there was “no sign of foul play.”
This despite the fact she …
- Never picked up her paycheck from Burger Barn
- Left her purse, $30 in cash and cell phone charger at home that day
- Never showed up at friend’s 16th birthday party that she had helped organize
- Never made it to an important tournament game for her softball team
- Usually sent about 4,000 text messages a month but never used the cell phone again (nor has it pinged anywhere) after that message to her friend
- Has not logged into her MySpace or Facebook accounts
- Made plans with a friend for that afternoon
Also, several sites have mentioned an attempted abduction of another teenage girl shortly before Ali went missing.
Ali’s dad John says investigators decided she ran off because of entries in an old journal talking about wanting to run away. But that journal was up in her bedroom closet and the handwriting clearly shows these were not recent–and in fact may have been as three years before. (And please, what teenager hasn’t thought about running away at some point?!)
The search for Ali has been stymied by the runaway classification, which prevents access to Amber Alert, the Texas Rangers, FBI, search dogs, helicopter searches, Crime Stoppers and other potentially helpful resources. And of course, few local law enforcement resources have been allocated to the case.
So Ali’s parents have coordinated many of the search and spread-the-word efforts on their own–fliers, advertising in the local Val-Pak, etc. They also hired a PI shortly after she went missing and, fortunately, the Laura Recovery Center has also stepped in to help.
So What Happened to Ali?
Surprisingly, there’s been little attention given to this case by mainstream or online missing persons sites so I haven’t seen too many theories, only a few comments that some locals are suspicious of the Burger Barn, which closed a few months after her disappearance.
One local member of Websleuths said she had called police before Burger Barn closed about that street corner because it had turned into something of a red light district–with an adult video store opening next door, possible illegal gaming and other “shady” activities.
Also, a mother posted a comment to a local news website that one of the Burger Barn owners had assaulted her teenage daughter when she went to pick up her paycheck that January. At the time of the May 2010 post, she said the case was still pending in Harris County court. (I have not been able to find more information about it, but given that it involves a minor, that’s not too surprising.)
Hopefully, the local police will finally get a clue and enable some additional resources to be dedicated to bringing Ali home.