Friday, April 26, 2019

List Series: Unsolved Mysteries & Suspicious Phone Calls

Modern technology plays a large role in solving today's crimes. GPS devices can aide in searches for missing people. Cell phone records can help pinpoint a missing person's last location or help identify a murder suspect. However, technology can also add a layer of eeriness to certain cases, especially those cases that remain unsolved. There are several unsolved mysteries in which phone calls were made or received--either to 911 or to/from a person close to the mystery--that have led to more confusion than answers in most cases. Below is a list of 10 cases including suspicious phone calls.

10. Brandon Bankhead
“We got your son, we got him in a closet tied up, and we getting ready to kill him.”

Brandon Bankhead (19) vanished after attending his great-grandmother’s funeral on May 28th, 2016. The funeral was held at Life Center International Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Once the service ended, Brandon was seen getting into a vehicle with some friends. He has never been seen or heard from again.

Brandon’s family members did not recognize the friends he left the service with, and they believe that foul play is responsible for his disappearance. A few weeks after he vanished, Brandon’s mother received a threatening phone call stating that her son was being held captive in a vacant home in Walnut Park, and he was going to be killed. According to Brandon’s grandmother, the caller said, “We got your son, we got him in a closet tied up, and we getting ready to kill him.” The call has never been traced and it is unclear if the family and/or investigators believe the call was authentic. Police have not made any arrests or announced any persons if interest in Brandon's case. He remains missing today. [read more]

9. Heather Cameron
Heather called 911 3 times, saying she had been drugged with heroin and needed assistance... then she vanished without a trace.

Heather Cameron (28) mysteriously vanished after placing three frantic calls to 911 on August 18th, 2012. She was seen in the company of her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lusby, that afternoon. Heather told her family members that she and Daniel were going to Keswick Dam, a remote area located approximately 20 miles away from her home in Redding, California. Around 2:50pm that afternoon, Heather called 911 three times from Daniel’s phone. She told police that she had been drugged with heroin and needed assistance. An extensive search was launched in that area, but no signs of Heather or any sort of suspicious activity were found.

Daniel has inevitably been questioned numerous times in Heather's case. When investigators asked why Heather had called 911 from his phone, Daniel told them that she took his phone from him, walked off, and never returned. That phone has never been recovered. Police still consider Daniel to be the primary person of interest in Heather’s disappearance. According to Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brian Jackson, “he is still a person of interest and this case is still open..there is still information we are trying to corroborate.” Still, Heather remains missing today and no arrests have been made in her case. [read more]

8. Lauren Elizabeth Thompson

Lauren called the police and told them she thought someone was chasing her through the woods...but when officers showed up on the scene, she was nowhere to be found.

Lauren Elizabeth Thompson (32) vanished after making a 911 call to Panola County dispatchers in Texas. Minutes before calling 911, Lauren was driving with a male friend when she ran her car off the road, leaving it stuck in the mud. The male friend said that he began walking towards his house to get another car at that point, while Lauren took off running into the woods. She then made the 911 call and told dispatchers that she was running through the woods and she thought somebody was chasing her. Dispatchers stayed on the phone with Lauren for over 20 minutes before the call eventually cut off. Officers immediately went to the scene, where they found Lauren's car stuck in the mud, but there was no sign of Lauren anywhere. A massive search for her was immediately launched. Over 2000 acres of the wooded area were searched on foot, and then drones were used to search over 9000 acres of the wooded area. The only piece of evidence found was a shoe, which was later confirmed to belong to Lauren. No other trace of her has been found and her disappearance remains unsolved today. [read more]


7. Ivory Green

A relative called Ivory's mother to tell her he knew why Ivory was missing...but before he could explain, he was shot 3 times and the phone line went dead.

Ivory Green (17) vanished in Utica, New York on March 6th, 2004. The teen was a habitual runaway and investigators classified her case as such when she was first reported missing. However, two months after she vanished, Ivory’s mother received a phone call from a distant relative named Plummer Reed Jr., who said that he knew why Ivory was missing and he wanted to share what happened. But before he could, he was shot three times and the phone line went dead. Plummer’s cousin, Benji Reed, was later arrested for attempted murder, and another man was arrested for supplying Benji with the gun. Plummer survived the shooting, but ever since he has denied knowing any information about Ivory’s disappearance. Ivory remains missing today and foul play is suspected to be involved in her disappearance. [read more]


6. Beatriz Espinoza

After Beatriz's disappearance, one of her friends received a phone call from an unidentified man in Mexico who stated that Beatriz owed him money... and he wanted to collect. 

Beatriz Espinoza (25) vanished under suspicious circumstances in Norcross, Georgia on March 24th, 2017. That day, Beatriz called her sister, who was watching Beatriz's older son. Beatriz told her sister that her younger three year-old son was sick and that she was coming to pick up her older son soon. Beatriz never showed up to pick up her son and has never been seen or heard from again. The following day, Beatriz's three year-old son was found wandering around by himself at a shopping center near their home.  After Beatriz's family learned she did not show up for work the previous evening, they had a welfare check done at Beatriz's home. Her car was parked in its normal spot, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary at her apartment. However, a family friend told police that Beatriz’s three year-old son’s backpack, which was found in Beatriz’s car, contained bags of methamphetamine and marijuana. This lead many to fear that drugs might’ve played a role in Beatriz’s disappearance. The same friend also reportedly received a phone call from an unidentified man in Mexico, who said that Beatriz owed him $30,000 and he wanted it back. This call has never been traced and it is unclear if investigators believe it is relevant in Beatriz's disappearance.

A few months after Beatriz's disappearance, a man walking his dogs in Clayton County found two bodies in a wooded area. For nearly two years, it was unclear if the bodies were connected to Beatriz's disappearance. Initially, it did not appear as such--since Clayton County is miles away from where Beatriz vanished in Gwinnett County. However, in June 2019, one of the sets of remains was confirmed to be that of Beatriz Espinoza. Authorities also confirmed that Beatriz was a victim of homicide. The second set of remains is still unidentified and it is unclear (at this time) if the two cases are connected. Authorities are continuing to investigate both deaths. [read more]


                                   5. Alyssa McLemore
"A woman was screaming for help, but the line went dead just moments later."

Alyssa McLemore (21) seemingly vanished into thin air on April 9th, 2009. Around the same time Alyssa vanished, her mother was unfortunately dying of scleroderma. On the evening Alyssa was last seen, she spoke on the phone with her grandmother, who asked her to come to their Kent, Washington home because her mother's condition had worsened. Alyssa promised her grandmother she'd be there, but she never showed up and was never seen or heard from again. Alyssa's mother unfortunately passed away three days later. After Alyssa's family members were unable to get ahold of her to tell her about her mother's passing, she was reported missing. 

Throughout the investigation, detectives learned that Alyssa’s phone called 911 on the evening of April 10th—a day after she was last seen. The dispatcher allegedly heard a woman asking for help, but the line went dead shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the phone did not have a GPS and the call could not be placed, however authorities believe that it came from the Kent area. 

There were numerous unconfirmed sightings of Alyssa after her disappearance, but none of them have been substantiated. She remains missing today. [read more]

4. Ashley Summers

"It's me, mom...I'm okay."

Ashley Summers (14) vanished after leaving a relative's house in Cleveland, Ohio on July 6th, 2007. She spent that day at a pool party with family members, and then left at some point in the afternoon after announcing that she was walking to her aunt's house. Ashley's aunt only lived a few blocks away, but Ashley never arrived and has never been seen or heard from again. Police initially believed Ashley to be a runaway; at the time of her disappearance, she was often at odds with her both mother and great-uncle. Ashley's mother disapproved of Ashley's boyfriend, and Ashley herself disapproved of her mother's boyfriend. After one particularly nasty fight, Ashley decided to move in with her great-uncle Kevin. Unfortunately, at the time of Ashley's disappearance, Kevin and Ashley were not on the best of terms, either. In fact, they got into an argument that resulted in Kevin smashing Ashley's phone the night before she vanished. 

About a month after Ashley disappeared, her mother received a very quick phone call saying “it’s me, mom, I’m okay.” That call was never traced, but due to the runaway theory, it seemed potentially credible at first. However, as time has passed without any trace of Ashley, her mother is less inclined to believe the call came from Ashley herself. After years went by without any trace of Ashley, she was eventually reclassified as an endangered missing child. Around this time, police were beginning to question if there was a serial offender in the area. Ashley disappeared very close to West Lorain Avenue–the same street from where Amanda Berry disappeared in 2003, and Gina DeJesus in 2004. When those two girls, along with Michelle Knight, were eventually rescued from Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue in 2013, there was speculation that Castro may have been involved in Ashley’s disappearance as well. However, while investigating Castro’s case, investigators were ultimately unable to find evidence of any other victims. Ashley's case remains unsolved today. [read more]

                                       3. Cheyann Klus


After being missing for 12 days, Cheyann Klus' phone mysteriously called 911.

Cheyann Klus (22) has been missing since December 1st, 2017. She was last seen at the home of Brian Biddle (38) in Downer's Grove, Illinois. Cheyann and Brian had recently started seeing each other, and both enjoyed drugs and alcohol. After spending about a day-and-a-half partying at Brian's house, Cheyann began texting a friend around 2am asking to be picked up. When the friend finally saw the messages and tried to call Cheyann back, she did not answer. Cheyann's friend later got in touch with Brian, who said that he slept for 18 hours and when he woke up, Cheyann was gone. 

After days passed without any sign of Cheyann, her family knew something was wrong. Cheyann hadn’t updated any of her social media accounts, which was quite uncharacteristic of her. It was also unusual for her to be out of touch with her family and friends. Then, 12 days after Cheyann vanished, a phone call to 911 was made from her phone. The caller hung up before the operator could say anything. It is still unclear if Cheyann herself made the call, or if it was somebody else in possession of her phone. The call pinged off a tower near Mallard Lake Forest Preserve, located around 20 miles away from Cheyann and Brian’s respective homes. That area was searched, but it is unclear if anything significant was found. Cheyann remains missing today. [read more]


2. Jennifer Apreciado
During her walk to the bus stop, Jennifer called her boyfriend and said she’d noticed a car slowly circling the block, and she was frightened.

17 year-old Jennifer Apreciado vanished after leaving her boyfriend’s house in San Antonio, Texas on October 26th, 2006. She left his house on foot around 3pm, en route to a nearby bus stop where she planned to catch a bus home. During her walk to the bus stop, Jennifer called her boyfriend and said she’d noticed a car slowly circling the block, and she was frightened. She did not describe the appearance of the vehicle or the driver during that phone call. An hour later, Jennifer’s boyfriend tried calling her back to make sure she made it home. Another woman answered the phone and said she had found the phone on the ground on the street near the bus stop. It was later revealed that Jennifer never got on the bus as planned. She has never been seen or heard from again [read more]

1. LaQuanta Riley
"Leave me alone" / "Let me go home"

18 year-old LaQuanta Riley was last seen by her family at their Montgomery, Alabama home on December 7th, 2003. LaQuanta’s last encounter with her family was very brief; she arrived at the family’s home around 11:30pm to get a jacket, then left immediately after that. During the short amount of time she was inside the house, LaQuanta’s brother noticed that she had been driven there by a person in a dark green car that he did not recognize. When he asked her who the driver of the car was, LaQuanta simply replied that the driver was her friend. After retrieving her jacket, LaQuanta returned to the dark green car and was driven away. She never returned home after that.

About a week later, LaQuanta’s mother received a voicemail that she believes was from her missing daughter. The message was not clear, but it sounded as if the caller said either “leave me alone,” or “let me go home.” Also in the voicemail, a man’s voice is heard in the background saying LaQuanta’s name. The call disconnected after that. To this day, that call has still never been traced. LaQuanta remains missing today. [read more]

For further info..
Ashley Summers' case is featured on ID Channel's 'Disappeared'--available here on Amazon Prime.

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