Monday, October 3, 2022

The Disappearance of Joan Cook

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Joan Renee Cook vanished in Salem, Virginia on January 24th, 2010. The then-44-year-old was last seen leaving her husband's residence on Elderwood Rd. Joan and her husband, Mike Cook, were separated at the time of her disappearance, but Joan often spent weekends at his home so she could spend more time with their daughter. According to Mike, Joan left the residence around 11:00 PM after saying she was going to walk to a friend's house. She never returned and has never been seen again. 

After Joan was reported missing, it was determined that her phone was used one final time at 5:00 AM. A text message from the phone was sent to the friend that Joan was reportedly going to see that night. The message simply read, "I love you". Both Joan's phone and bank accounts have not been used since her then. 

Joan's disappearance was quickly deemed suspicious by both investigators and family members. Joan's loved ones described her as a dedicated mother who would never leave her daughter behind. Due to this, and due to the fact that Joan had not accessed her phone, bank accounts, or social media, investigators believe that foul play was responsible for her disappearance. 

To this day, no suspects or persons of interest have been publicly named in Joan's case. However, there are a few potential theories about what happened. Joan split her time between her boyfriend's home and her husband's home. She also worked and interacted with several different people on a daily basis. There were several things going on in Joan's life prior to her disappearance that have led to a few different theories. 


From an outsider's perspective, it appeared that Joan Cook had a fairly typical life. She had a daughter whom she loved, and she had a consistent job. Although Joan was separated from her husband Mike, it appeared that they were on decent terms prior to her disappearance. They were co-parenting and seemed to be getting along. 

However, a closer look at Joan's relationship with Mike reveals that there were several troubles throughout their relationship.

The marital troubles.

Before her disappearance, Joan had been married to Mike for 22 years. According to Joan's sister, Carol, the marriage between Joan and Mike had been troubled from the start. In 2018, Carol was quoted telling Dateline, "They were never happy. It was more of a comfort thing for both of them."

One positive result of their marriage was their daughter. As previously noted, Joan was a dedicated mother and loved spending time with her daughter. 

Image source: Roanoke Times

Joan, Mike, and their daughter all lived together in Salem, Virginia up until 2007. At that point, Mike moved to Des Moines, Iowa to look for a new job. Joan and their daughter remained in Virginia. The plan was for the three of them to reunite in Des Moines once Mike was settled.

Unbeknownst to Mike, Joan made other plans. After her husband left for Des Moines, Joan started a new job and met a man whom she began dating. Joan initially kept her new boyfriend a secret, but Mike found out about his wife's new relationship about three months after he moved to Des Moines.

Learning about his wife's affair prompted Mike to move back to Salem. Still, Joan remained in a relationship with her new boyfriend even after Mike returned. According to Joan's sister Carol, Mike then began engaging in some troubling behavior. He reportedly would go to Joan's workplace and wait for her and her new boyfriend to come out of the building together. He also was allegedly caught putting nails under Joan's car tires. 

Life with a new boyfriend.

Joan and Mike remained separated following his return from Des Moines. By the end of 2009, Joan had moved in with her new boyfriend. Mike and their daughter remained at the family's home on Elderwood Road. Carol explained to Dateline that her family members felt Joan should have legally split from Mike before moving in with another man - but at the time, she could not afford the divorce. 

Joan's new boyfriend had a child from a previous relationship. Every other weekend, the boyfriend had visitation with his child. During those weekends, Joan would stay with Mike and their daughter at her old residence. The arrangement initially appeared to be working out well. 

Joan's disappearance.

Joan was staying at Mike's house on the evening she vanished. As previously stated, she was last seen at the residence on Elderwood Road around 11:00 PM on January 24th, 2010. Mike would later tell authorities that Joan left the residence on foot to visit a friend at a nearby house. 

According to reports, the friend whom Joan was supposedly going to visit was not home at this time. Said friend did receive a text from Joan's phone a few hours later, but to this day it is unclear if the text was sent from Joan herself. The phone has not been located.

Joan's family members learned that she was missing a few days later. Carol received a call from Joan's workplace stating that Joan had not shown up to her last few shifts. Knowing this was unlike Joan, Carol contacted Mike to ask if he had seen her. It was then that Mike explained that Joan had left his residence on foot on the evening of January 24th. Carol immediately thought this was odd, as the night of the 24th had been cold and rainy - and it did not seem like Joan would want to go on a walk in such conditions. 

Mike also told Carol that he did not report Joan missing because he did not know she was missing. When she did not return to his house, Mike simply assumed Joan had gone back to her boyfriend's residence. This did not seem like a stretch, since Mike and Joan did not see each other every day. Still, as the last person to have seen Joan, there are inevitable suspicions against Mike. 

The investigation.

Although Mike immediately appeared to be a potential suspect, it was necessary for detectives to investigate the other people in Joan's life, as well. As such, Joan's new boyfriend was looked into, but he was quickly ruled out when it was determined that he was out of town with his child. Detectives were able to rule out other people in Joan's inner circle as well. 

At this time, Mike has not been ruled out. He denies involvement in Joan's disappearance. Mike told police that he and Joan were not arguing that weekend, and nothing unusual had happened between them prior to her disappearance. Police also interviewed Mike and Joan's daughter, who was only 7 years old at the time. She told detectives that she did not witness or hear anything loud or out of the ordinary that weekend. 

Cadaver dogs were brought to Mike's home, but apparently nothing of interest was found. There was no blood, or any other evidence of a struggle found around the home either. It appears investigators were unable to find any physical evidence at the home that suggested Mike was involved in Joan's disappearance 


The most prominent theory in the case is that Mike is responsible for Carol's disappearance. Theories on how, exactly, he was involved remain varied. Some believe that Mike intentionally killed Joan and disposed of her body. Others believe that Mike accidentally killed Joan and covered it up. Even with the lack of physical evidence that Mike was involved in her disappearance, there are still plenty of other reasons to suspect him - especially since they had marital issues AND he was the last one to have seen Joan before she vanished. 

However, since years have passed without any charges against Mike, it's worth looking into other theories as well. As previously noted, Joan's new boyfriend was determined to be out of town at the time of Joan's disappearance - so he has been ruled out. 

It's possible that Joan became a victim of opportunity by a violent stranger. It's also possible that Joan became injured and/or disoriented on her walk and succumbed to the elements. This theory seems less likely, because it does not explain the text that was sent from Joan's phone at 5:00 AM. If Joan was a victim of foul play, it seems more likely that the text was sent by the perpetrator. 

Many people believe that Mike knows what happened to Joan. Carol told Dateline that she believes "something happened between [Mike and Joan]" that lead to Joan's disappearance. Mike has never been charged with anything related to Joan's case and he continues to deny involvement in her disappearance. He has since moved back to Des Moines with his and Joan's daughter. 

Where the case stands today.

Joan Renee Cook remains missing. Her loved ones are holding out hope that she will someday be found. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Roanoke County Police Department at 540-562-3265.

Charley Project
NBC News
Roanoke Times

The Disappearance of Nadia Kersh

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Nadia Kersh has been missing since November 2008. The then-21-year-old lived in Homewood, Alabama at the time of her disappearance. Nadia is originally from Russia, and she spent the first few years of her life in an Russian orphanage. Despite this rough start, Nadia grew into a well-rounded young woman. She is described by her loved ones as reliable and independent. However, Nadia's loved ones also said that she could be too trusting of others. It's possible that this trusting nature led to Nadia's disappearance on November 3rd, 2008.

Nadia was last seen shortly after 1:00 PM as she left her job at the local Tria Market. She planned to go pick her one-year-old son up from daycare, but she never arrived. Nadia has never been seen or heard from again. 

Surveillance footage of Nadia leaving her workplace. (source: WVTM News)

The day after Nadia was last seen, her vehicle was found abandoned in an alley in west Birmingham - located approximately 5 miles away from Homewood. A few days later, Nadia's purse was found about 100 yards away from the car's location, under an overpass on the railroad tracks. These findings seemed significant, but they did not provide any information about the whereabouts of Nadia herself.

Police identified a man named Joacques Haywood as a person-of-interest early into the investigation. According to reports, Nadia dated Joacques at some point before her disappearance. In May 2010, nearly two years after Nadia vanished, Joacques Haywood was charged with capital murder in her case. Police were finally able to move forward with these charges after a witness testified that she saw a man in a black SUV parking in front of Nadia's apartment building and then walking inside. A short time later, the witness said she heard the sound of a crash and someone crying. 

Joacques Haywood. Source:

Prosecutors subsequently announced that they believed Joacques had killed Nadia during a botched robbery. However, the charges did not stick. During the summer of 2011, a judge dropped the charges against Joacques. The judge stated that the prosecution had failed to test two pieces of evidence for DNA, and they also did not give Joacques his constitutional right to a speedy trial. The charges were dropped without prejudice, which gives the prosecution the option to recharge Joacques with murder if more evidence is discovered.

Unfortunately, it appears that no such evidence has been found. Nadia remains missing and there have been very few updates in her case since the charges against Joacques were dropped. There is a monetary reward with anyone with information that could move Nadia's case forward. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Homewood Police Department at 205-332-6262.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Murder of Yvonne Torch

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The morning of June 9th, 2004 began as a regular day for Yvonne Torch. The 31-year-old woman went to work that day at her business called "His and Hers Hair Salon" in Newburgh, New York. Around 10:00 AM, Yvonne saw a familiar client: her husband's grandmother. That appointment lasted approximately 30 minutes, and the grandmother left the salon before 10:40 AM. The next customer, who arrived around 10:55 AM, stumbled upon a horrific scene: Yvonne was on the floor, laying in a pool of her own blood. It was later determined she had died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Investigators were quickly able to conclude that Yvonne was killed within a small timeframe between salon clients. Still - many other questions remained; namely - who killed her? And why? A motive to kill Yvonne still remains unclear to this day. Yvonne and her husband, Pierre Torch, had lived in the Newburgh area for several years. The two raised Yvonne's daughter from a previous relationship and also had a child of their own. Yvonne opened her salon in 1994 and ran a successful business. By all accounts, she was a beloved member of the community.

Shortly before the murder, Yvonne and Pierre had decided to move their family to Florida. According to Pierre, the two of them were in the beginning stages of planning their move during June 2004. The family would unfortunately never get the chance to start this next chapter, as Yvonne was killed before they even found a new house. 

Detectives thoroughly investigated Pierre as a potential suspect, but he was eventually ruled out. After that, detectives began looking at other potential suspects. In 2022, a detective told Dateline that "there were a lot of possibilities of who could have killed her, but they never really narrowed down the list." It appears that to this day, detectives have not been able to close in on a prime suspect.

Yvonne's murder remains unsolved. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the New York State Police Department at (845) 344-5370 or e-mail
Inside Edition
NBC News
New York State Troopers

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Suspicious Death of Marquis Brown

Marquis Brown was a 21 year-old student-athlete at Duquesne University when he died under suspicious circumstances on October 4th, 2018. The evening of his death began as a fairly typical evening for a college student. After having football practice that afternoon, Marquis reportedly went to get a haircut before going to a friend's off-campus apartment to play video games on PlayStation. This seemingly normal evening quickly went in another direction when Marquis returned to his dorm building. Other students in the dorm building called 911 after witnessing Marquis behaving 'erratically' in the elevator and in the hallway of this dorm room on the 16th floor. 

University security and police responded to the 911 call shortly after 10pm. Once they arrived on the scene, they found Marquis' roommate trying to calm him down. From there, the events leading up to Marquis' death remain unclear. Pittsburgh police stated that, shortly after campus police arrived on the scene, Marquis picked up a chair and threw it through the dorm window before jumping out of the window himself and falling sixteen stories to his death. Pittsburgh police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and subsequently took over the investigation into Marquis' death.

The initial reports following this incident stated that witnesses including both students and campus police saw Marquis jump out of the window. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma--but the manner of death remained undetermined. A toxicology report concluded that Marquis had marijuana in his system at the time of his death, but no other substances are noted on the report. 

The toxicology findings led to the insinuation that marijuana is what caused Marquis to behave erratically on the night of his death. However, Marquis' family members doubt that this is the case. After this report went public, a lawyer representing Marquis' family tweeted, "It took four months for Pittsburgh police to produce a report that insinuates marijuana caused an athlete in the prime of his life to jump 16 stories to his death from his dorm room window. This feckless report creates more questions than answers."

As time continued to pass, Marquis' loved ones grew increasingly more frustrated with the lack of answers in his case. Finally, in July 2020, Marquis' mother Dannielle Brown decided to take drastic action to demand answers.


In early July, Dannielle decided to travel from her home in Washington, DC to the Duquesne campus in Pittsburgh to demand answers about her son's death. Dannielle went on a hunger strike and began spending her days and nights on Freedom Corner in Pittsburgh's Hill District in hopes of catching the attention of Duquesne University. She told reporters that she was hoping for a new investigation into her son's death. Dannielle explained, "Bottom line is, either you watched my son go out that window or your hands were on my son when he went out that window." 

Dannielle Brown in Pittsburgh. Image source: KDKA

Not only does Dannielle want more answers about her son's death, she is also calling for change to the ways that campus police officers handle cases such as Marquis'. She has publicly made a request for three things: a new investigation into her son's death, a requirement for campus police officers to wear body cameras, and for the campus police to undergo more thorough de-escalation training. 

On July 22nd, 2020, it was finally announced that Duquesne University will honor Dannielle's requests. The university wrote an open letter to Marquis' family describing how each of the requests will be honored. The letter can be read in-full here. 

In April 2021, it was revealed that the university had reached a settlement with Dannielle Brown. The university has opted not to share the terms of the settlement with the public, but an attorney for Dannielle stated that she is satisfied with the outcome. Dannielle has since begun a foundation in her son's honor called The Marquis Jaylen Brown Foundation. The aim of the foundation is to achieve social justice.

The Disappearance of Kierra Coles

Kierra Coles was three months pregnant when she vanished on October 3rd, 2018. At the time of her disappearance, the 26-year-old young woman worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Chicago, Illinois. However, on the day of her disappearance, she called out sick. Kierra has never been seen or heard from again.

Kierra was reported missing by her mother. Police conducted a welfare check at Kierra’s apartment but found no sign of her. Kierra’s car was still parked outside of the building, and her cell phone, wallet, and packed lunch were found inside the vehicle. The findings in Kierra's car indicated that she was going to work that day, despite the fact that she had called out sick. Further deepening the mystery, surveillance from that day captured a person matching Kierra's description walking away from her Chicago apartment wearing a U.S. Postal Service uniform. The person was seen walking down 82nd Street and Coles Avenue, passing Kierra's car, before eventually stepping out of the frame.

Investigators quickly began to believe that foul play was responsible for Kierra’s disappearance. In fact, in the onset of the investigation, detectives stated that they “have a pretty good idea” of what happened to Kierra. Other than that, very little additional information was released.

Kierra's loved ones were inevitably both confused and devastated by Kierra's disappearance. By all accounts, Kierra was looking forward to becoming a mother for the first time. Kierra's parents were looking forward to meeting their grandchild. Unfortunately, Kierra's disappearance took that experience away from Kierra and her family.

As months turned into years without any sign of Kierra, her case seemed to go cold. Years would pass without any updates. In 2021, new information was revealed that completely changed what the public originally thought was known about Kierra's case. This information led to the most viable theory in the case so far.

Kierra's mother speaks out.

In February 2021, Kierra's mother, Karen Philips, provided more information about Kierra's disappearance.

Karen explained to NBC 5 Investigates that the postal worker captured on surveillance cameras on October 3rd, 2018 is not actually Kierra. Both Karen and investigators knew early on that the person in the video is not Kierra, but investigators reportedly told Karen to not reveal this information to the public. When Kierra's disappearance was originally reported, several news sources shared this surveillance footage. For years, many believed that the person captured on camera was Kierra, and that the footage was a clue. As it turns out, the footage was not related to Kierra's disappearance whatsoever.

Karen further explained that investigators did have actual surveillance footage of Kierra from the night before her disappearance. On October 2nd, 2018, surveillance cameras captured both Kierra and her boyfriend/father of her unborn child, Josh Simmons, leaving Kierra's apartment. Later, surveillance cameras at a local ATM captured Kierra withdrawing $400 and giving the cash to Simmons.

Kierra and Simmons had been dating for about 6 years before her disappearance. Simmons also had children with another woman. Kierra and this woman did not get along, and shortly before Kierra vanished; she had banned this woman from coming to her apartment. 

Karen said that she initially did not believe that Simmons had anything to do with Kierra's disappearance. Simmons reportedly does not have a criminal history, nor had investigators labeled him a person of interest. Then, as a significant amount of time had passed without answers, Karen began to believe Simmons might be involved after all. After Kierra was reported missing, Simmons reportedly did not help with the search. Eventually, he stopped talking to Kierra's mother and moved to Louisiana with the other woman. He also did not respond to any requests to speak on the case.

The other surveillance footage.

In June 2022, the Chicago Police released the footage of Kierra before her disappearance. The video depicts Kierra withdrawing cash from a local Walgreens on October 2nd, 2018. Police also released footage of the 'person of interest' parking Kierra's car near her home the following day.

Kierra's mother stated that the person with Kierra is her boyfriend/father of her unborn child, Josh Simmons. However, reporters still continue to refer to this person simply as a 'person if interest' and he has not been publicly named. 

The footage can be viewed here:

Where the case stands.

As of today, Kierra Coles still remains missing. Many speculate that Josh Simmons is responsible for her disappearance, but he has not been charged with anything related to Kierra's case. 

There is a monetary reward available for information that could lead to Kierra's whereabouts. If you have any information that could help, please contact the Chicago Police Department at (312) 747-5789, or the United States Postal Inspection Service (877) 876-2455.

The Disappearance of Sarah Hill

image source

Sarah Hill has been missing since June 6th, 2018. The then-33-year-old was last known to be in the area of Mount Airy, Virginia. On the evening she vanished, Sarah called her sister and said she was on Blue Hollow Road and needed a ride. Her sister was working at a hospital in Elkin at the time and was unable to assist. Sarah's phone died shortly after that phone call, and she has never been seen or heard from again.

After Sarah was reported missing, her vehicle was found abandoned in a parking lot near the Blue Hollow Road intersection. The car reportedly did not provide any clues to her whereabouts. There are also very few details available about the events leading up to Sarah's disappearance. It's known that her address was listed in Patrick County, Virginia, but she often stayed with friends in both North Carolina and West Virginia.

According to reports, Sarah's friends in West Virginia were contacted, but they did not know of whereabouts or that she had even gone missing. It seems likely that her friends in North Carolina were investigated as well, especially since her car was found on the N.C. 89 - close to the North Carolina-Virginia border. However, no persons of interest have ever been publicly named.

In January 2019, investigators received information that led them to a day-long search at King Park Circle, located just off of Blue Hollow Road. The search involved investigators from several different agencies. Search canines are excavators were used, but no information was released about what - if anything - was found. Investigators returned to the location in July 2020 for a follow up, but no further information was released after that search either.

Since then, it appears that there have not been any updates in Sarah's case. She remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please contact authorities in Virginia at 276-694-3161 or authorities in North Carolina at 757-294-5271.

Charley Project
Mt. Airy News
WFMY News 2

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Disappearance & Murder of Kayleah Wilson

Image source: Dignity Memorial

Kayleah Wilson was only 12 years-old when she was tragically murdered during the spring of 2010. The young girl was last seen alive by her family on March 28th, 2010. That day, Kayleah left her Greeley, Colorado home to walk to the local mall. She planned to meet a friend at the mall so the two of them could go to a birthday party together. Kayleah was expected to return home by 7:00 PM, but she never arrived. She was reported missing by her mother around 10:00 PM that same night. 

At first, police thought that Kayleah might be a runaway. Then, after speaking with people in Kayleah's circle, investigators learned that she had never met up with her friend as planned, nor had she shown up for the birthday party. By March 31st, the Greeley Police announced that they no longer believed Kayleah had run away. Several different investigators are assigned to the case, including members of the FBI. 

Kayleah's mother April Wilson revealed to detectives that Kayleah had a relationship with an 18-year-old named Robert Montoya. Robert was interviewed shortly thereafter, during which he admitted to having a sexual relationship with Kayleah between the months of October 2009 and February 2010. Robert also admitted that he was aware that Kayleah was only 12 years-old. However, he reportedly did not provide police with any information about Kayleah's whereabouts. 

Widespread searches for Kayleah turned up empty. Then, on the morning of May 19th, 2010, a ditch rider turned on the water in an irrigation ditch in west Greeley. The rider noticed a body rolling in the water at the base of a 10-foot waterfall. Police were called, and investigators rushed to the scene. It was almost immediately believed that the body was Kayleah - but due to decomposition, an identification could not be made on the spot. 

That same day, Robert Montoya was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a child as a pattern of abuse. The charges stemmed from Robert's admission that he had several sexual encounters with Kayleah. At that time, -police reportedly did not have enough evidence to charge Robert with anything related to Kayleah's disappearance - but they did have enough evidence to bring about the sexual assault charges.

Two days later, on May 21st, 2010, it was confirmed that the body found in the irrigation ditch did, in fact, belong to Kayleah Wilson. From that point forward, the case shifted to a murder investigation. 

Police have never revealed Kayleah's exact cause of death - only that she was murdered. Robert Montoya seemed like an obvious suspect, but he had only been charged with sexual assault - not murder. 

Image source: Denver Post

It's known that Robert Montoya admitted to having sex with Kayleah when was she was just 12 years-old. But did he also kill her? And if he didn't, then who did?

The timeline of events in this case may lead to a few viable theories. 

October 2009.

In October 2009, Kayleah's mother April Wilson allowed Robert to move into her residence after his own mother had asked him to move out. According to Robert's arrest affidavit, Roxanne Montoya wanted her children out of the house so she could continue having a relationship with her boyfriend, Jonas Garcia. Garcia is a registered sex offender and was therefore banned from going into homes where children were living. 

Over time, April noticed that Kayleah and Robert had grown close, but she thought they were just friends.  She initially did not notice a physical relationship between her daughter and Robert. 

December 2009 - January 2010.

According to the affidavit, April began to suspect that Kayleah and Robert were in a physical relationship during December 2009. April told police that she noticed that they had been spending time alone together in Kayleah's bedroom. She never saw them engaged in any sexual activity, but her suspicions about Robert and Kayleah's relationship continued to build.

The affidavit further explains that April confronted both Kayleah and Robert about their relationship during the first week of January 2010. During their conversation, both Kayleah and Robert admitted that they had been having sex. They also told April that they considered themselves to be a couple. April explained to detectives that, upon hearing this, she immediately kicked Robert out of her home and ordered him to stop having any interaction with her daughter. 

Early February 2010.

April explained that Kayleah was initially angry with her after she kicked Robert out. However, as time passed, Kayleah stopped talking about her relationship with Robert - leading April to believe that she had moved on. 

The affidavit states that April caught Robert with Kayleah one final time during early February. She spotted the two of them together at an abandoned car dealership on 28th St. April said she confronted them and once again ordered Robert to stay away from Kayleah.

On February 19th, 2010, Greeley police were dispatched to Brentwood Middle School, where Kayleah was a student. The officers were sent to the school after receiving reports of a young man looking into the classroom windows from outside the building. Once there, police made contact with Robert Montoya. It's unclear what was said during this encounter, but no arrests were made. 

At the time of this incident, police were unaware that Robert had an inappropriate relationship with one of the students at the middle school. It seems likely that the police ordered him to leave the property after they approached him, and Robert complied - giving no further reason for action to be taken. 

Robert himself would later admit to police that he went to the middle school that day because he wanted to see Kayleah. More about this will be addressed below.

March 1st-27th, 2010.

There are no documented interactions between Kayleah and Robert during this time period. It is possible that they did interact without anyone finding out, but there is no evidence to suggest this happened. Police were still unaware of their relationship at this point. 

Robert himself later claimed that he did not see Kayleah beyond February 2010. 

March 28th, 2010.

As previously stated, Kayleah vanished on March 28th. She left her home around 3:40 PM en route to Greeley Mall. Surveillance footage captured her walking near the mall shortly thereafter. At the time she was captured, she was walking alone. She was never seen or heard from again. 

Kayleah never meets up with her friend, nor does she make it to the birthday party. Her mother April begins to worry when she does not return by 7:00 PM. After waiting for Kayleah to return, April finally contacted police around 10:00 PM. 

March 28th - March 30th, 2010. 

Detectives spent the next two days interviewing various people in Kayleah's life. While speaking with Kayleah's mother April, police learned about the inappropriate relationship between Kayleah and Robert Montoya. Kayleah's friends also corroborate her relationship with Robert. In fact, some of Kayleah's friends told police that she had made comments about possibly being pregnant with Robert's child. 

March 31st, 2010.

Police questioned Robert Montoya on March 31st, 2010. During this interview that Robert admitted to having a sexual relationship with Kayleah up until mid February 2010. His arrest affidavit describes this interview, stating in part, "[Robert Montoya] did admit that he knew [Kayleah] was only twelve years of age and he was an adult."

Robert told police that his relationship with Kayleah ended in mid-February 2010 after Kayleah's mother learned that they were speaking again. He admitted that he continued to try and contact Kayleah. On some occasions, he hid in the bushes near her residence. Robert also admitted to waiting for her outside of her middle school. He referenced the February 19th incident, and he also said that Kayleah had called him a "stalker freak" after he tried to encounter her at the school. 

Even after these admissions, police did not immediately arrest Robert. Meanwhile, the search for Kayleah continued.

May 19th, 2010.

During the early morning hours of May 19th, the body of a young female was spotted in the water in an irrigation ditch. The irrigation ditch is located less than half a mile away from the home of Kayleah Wilson - leading many to believe that it is her. However, as previously stated, the body was too decomposed to make an immediate identification.

Image source: CBS News

That same day, Robert Montoya was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child in connection to his relationship with Kayleah.

May 21st, 2010.

On May 21st, 2010, it was confirmed that the body found in the irrigation ditch was, in fact, Kayleah Wilson. Her death was classified as a murder. Many expected Robert Montoya to be charged with murder in addition to sexual assault - but those charges never came forth. 

March 2011 - June 2011.

Almost a year after Kayleah's disappearance, Robert Montoya went to trial for the child sexual assault charges. According to reports, the defense's main argument was whether or not Robert and Kayleah had any sexual encounters after January 18th, 2010 - Robert's 18th birthday. When he moved into April Wilson's home during October 2009, Robert was still 17 years-old, therefore still considered a minor in the state of Colorado. 

When Robert was questioned by police in relation to Kayleah's disappearance, he said that his relationship with her continued up until mid-February 2010, which would have been after his 18th birthday. 

After a three-day trial, the jury found Robert Montoya guilty of the child sexual assault charges. Months later, in June 2011, a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison. 

July 2011-December 2014.

The investigation into Kayleah's murder still continued after Robert Montoya was sent to prison. Some hoped that police would pursue murder charges against him, but once again, no additional charges were filed. 

Meanwhile, Robert began working on appealing his sentence. On December 31st, 2014, a judge granted Robert a retrial. Robert's defense attorneys cited the original argument in the first trial - whether or not Robert had a sexual encounter with Kayleah after his 18th birthday. At this point, Robert claimed that he actually did not have sex with Kayleah after being kicked out of the Wilson's home. His defense attorneys argued that his confession back in March 2010 was coerced by police. 

April 2016.

Two years later, the Weld County District Attorney ended up dropping the charges against Robert Montoya - making him a free man. He no longer faces any charges related to Kayleah Wilson. 

May 2017.

Seven years after Kayleah's body was found, police announced that they know who killed her. Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner is quoted saying "We don’t have any doubts. But there are standards of proof we have to meet.” It was not explicitly stated that the person police referred to is, in fact, Robert Montoya - but many speculate this to be the case.

Where the case stands today.

Tragically, the murder of Kayleah Wilson is still classified as unsolved. Police hope to eventually receive the evidence they need to move forward with charges. 

If you have any information that could finally help crack the case, please contact Greeley Police at (970) 350-9600.
CBS News, 2
Greeley Tribune
Robert Montoya's arrest affidavit
Summit Daily

The Disappearance of Joan Cook

Image source: Joan Renee Cook vanished in Salem, Virginia on January 24th, 2010. The then-44-year-old was last seen leaving he...