18 year-old Ebby Jane Steppach vanished on October 24th, 2015 in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. On the previous day, October 23rd, Ebby sent her stepfather Michael a text message stating she had been assaulted, and that the person who assaulted her recorded a video of it on his cell phone. Michael urged her to call the police, and she told him she already had and was planning to go to the station to officially file a report. The following day—the day of her disappearance—Michael and Ebby were supposed to meet at Ebby’s grandmother’s house. However, when Michael showed up, Ebby had already come and gone. According to Ebby’s brother Trevor—with whom she was living—she never returned home after going to her grandmother’s and she has not been seen since.
Family members made many unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with Ebby the rest of that afternoon and all throughout the next day, until she finally answered a phone call from her brother on the evening of October 25th. The two spoke for four or five minutes, and her brother said she sounded groggy and disoriented. He also said that Ebby kept saying that she was outside of his house—but she wasn’t—and she was unable to say where she really was and who she was with. That was the last time she has been heard from.
A few days later, Ebby’s car was found abandoned behind a high school in Little Rock. The car was running, but Ebby was nowhere to be found. Her belongings, including her cellular phone and contact lenses, were found inside the car. Despite this, police still initially treated her disappearance as a runaway case. Her family does not believe she ran away and fear she has been trafficked. After time passed without any sign of her, police reclassified her disappearance as an endangered missing person.
Nearly three years later, on May 22nd, 2018, Little Rock Police announced that human remains were found in a drainage pipe near the area where the missing teen’s car was found abandoned almost three years prior. The following day, those remains were positively confirmed to be that of Ebby Steppach.
The drainage pipe was searched after a cold case detective decided the area from which Ebby disappeared deserved a second look. This time around, it did not take investigators long to find the remains at all–which is leading many to question the quality of the investigation when Ebby was first reporting missing.
In fact, after Ebby's remains were found, Ebby's close friend Kailey Foley and her mother Margie Foley came forward stating that they tried to search the area where Ebby was found shortly after she vanished. Due to the fact that Ebby and Kailey were so close, Kailey was inevitably interviewed by detectives after Ebby went missing.
|Kailey and Ebby pictured together in 2015|
After the interview, Kailey and Margie decided to go to Chalamont Park themselves to see if they could find any clues. The two did not walk very far into the park before Margie said she was “hit with the smell of decomposition coming from a nearby drain.” Margie immediately called the detective who had just interviewed Kailey about Ebby’s disappearance, but he did not answer. Margie then called 911 and asked somebody to come investigate. She ended up calling 3 times before Little Rock Police finally showed up on the scene. However, once they were there, they dismissed Margie’s claims. When she expressed concern that the smell might be related to the case, an officer told her, “This park was gone through with dogs and they would have picked up on that. It must be an animal or something.”
As it turns out, Kailey’s mother was correct all along, as Ebby’s remains were found in the same drainage pipe almost three years later, in May 2018. It’s likely that Ebby was there the whole time. If the police had investigated when they were first asked, Ebby could have been found way sooner.
Both Margie and Kailey believe that somebody should be held responsible for for the handling of this information. Little Rock Police say this is an open investigation, but they won’t be doing any further interviews with the media.
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