Wednesday, January 8, 2020

List Series: Missing Person Cold Cases Classified as Runaways

An estimated 1.6-2.8 million teenagers in the United States run away from home each year. (source) There are a variety of different reasons a teenager might run away, and there are also many various dangers that teenagers face upon running away. Still, statistics show that most teens do return home--about 77% percent return within one week, and approximately only 7% of teens are missing for longer than a month. (source) There is always cause for concern when a teenager runs away, and when a runaway is gone for a prolonged period of time, those concerns intensify. There are certain cases where authorities reclassify a case labeled as a runaway to an endangered missing person. However, there are still numerous cases in which the runaway classification is maintained--even if the person has been missing without a trace for a prolonged period of time. Below is a list of seven such cases that are still classified as runaways, despite the fact that they have been missing for years.

7. Angel Wilson

Angel Wilson vanished at the age of 17 on August 10th, 2007. The teen lived in Spokane, Washington, and she was reportedly a habitual runaway since the age of 13. Angel dropped out of high school her sophomore year. While her father had custody of her, he stated that Angel rarely ever stayed at his home--instead, she opted to stay with friends...but she never stayed in the same place for long. When she turned 17, Angel's father granted her permission to marry a 21 year-old named Will Wilson. She moved into Will's house after getting married, but the couple often argued about Angel's alleged drug use. On the day Angel was last seen, Will reportedly caught her smoking methamphetamine inside their home. Will then gave her an ultimatum to quit using drugs or their relationship with end. This angered Angel, and she reportedly stormed out of the house. Will awoke the following morning and found her wedding ring on a nightstand. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Due to the fact that Angel was a habitual runaway, it is easy to understand why authorities classified her as such this time. However, there has not been a single trace of her for over a decade. In the past, Angel always returned home or at least stayed in touch with friends. While she might have left her home on her own accord, it does not seem likely that she has purposely stayed away after all this time. Angel's disappearance remains unsolved. [read more]

6. Adrianna Garcia

Adrianna Garcia was only 15 years old when she vanished without a trace on December 29th, 2004. That day, Adrianna left her family’s Tulsa, Oklahoma home to walk to a friend’s home that was located several miles away. She never arrived at her friend’s house and has never been seen or heard from again. Police classified Adrianna as a runaway, even though she had no prior history of running away. Her family members do not believe she would voluntarily leave; they stated that she had a happy home life and was close to her siblings. 

It is unclear why police would label Adrianna as a runaway. Over 15 years have passed, and police have yet to comment on their reasoning behind classifying her as such. Adrianna is still labeled as a runaway to this day, and her case remains unsolved. [read more]

5. Heather Lewis

Heather Lewis vanished at the age of 13 on April 4th, 2003. The young teen was last seen at her middle school in Ely, Nevada. Heather was sent home from school that day after she got suspended for having cigarettes in her possession. After leaving the building, Heather never made it home and has never been seen or heard from again.

Both Heather's family members and authorities believed she ran away from the get-go. Heather and her mother were having trouble getting along at the time and she was reportedly unhappy at home. However, it appears Heather intended to have a completely normal day on the day she disappeared. She left the house with only her school items, and none of her friends were able to provide information about where Heather might have gone. Since years and years have passed since Heather was last seen, her family members now believe she came to harm after running away. Despite this, she is still classified as a runaway and her disappearance remains unsolved today. [read more]

4. Sophie Reeder
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Sophie Reeder has been missing since May 19th, 2017. The 15 year-old left her residence in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that evening and never returned.  The last known sighting of her was captured by surveillance cameras on West Davie boulevard around 10pm that evening. Sophie was never seen or heard from again after that.

Sophie has been classified as a runaway, however the authorities worry she may have been a victim of human trafficking or an online predator. She ran away once before, but was only gone for a day. This time around, Sophie left behind all of her belongings and there has not been any activity on her mobile devices since the day she disappeared. Investigators were able to search Sophie’s computer after she vanished; it was there that they found evidence that she may have fallen victim to human traffickers or an online predator. However, investigators have not elaborated on said evidence and there are very few other details on what exactly they found on her computer.

Despite the belief that Sophie fell victim to trafficking, authorities still classify her as a runaway to this day. Her disappearance remains unsolved. [read more]

3. Andrew Mayorga
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Andrew Mayorga was in the midst of moving across the country when he vanished on January 4th, 2007. The 17 year-old previously lived with his mother in Washington state, but during late December 2006/early January 2007, Andrew began traveling towards Louisiana--where he planned to live with his grandmother. During his trip he decided to stop in San Antonio, Texas to stay with a man known as the family's "honorary grandfather" during the holiday season. During his stay in San Antonio, Andrew worked for this man at his law firm. 

The "honorary grandfather" reportedly went to check on Andrew on the evening of January 3rd, and noticed he was not in his bed. However, many of his personal items and his pet dog were still at the home. Once Andrew was reported missing, authorities determined that he was last seen the following morning around 7:30am, standing on a corner near Travis Park. This is the last confirmed sighting of him. 

Despite the strange circumstances surrounding his disappearance, authorities classified Andrew as a runaway. There was a theory put forth that he might have met somebody on MySpace--but before authorities were able to search the computer Andrew was using, the 'honorary grandfather' threw the computer away. While this seems suspicious, authorities have still not labeled this man as a suspect and have continued to label Andrew as a runaway.  His case remains unsolved today. [read more

2. Ciara Stacho
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16 year old Ciara Stacho has been missing since August 7th, 2015. She was a frequent runaway and authorities believe that she left on her own accord. Ciara had actually run away from her Inkster, Michigan home weeks earlier, but had been keeping in touch with her loved ones and updating her social media pages regularly. In fact, in early August, Ciara texted her mother to tell her that she was ready to come home. Her mother was excited for her daughter’s return, but Ciara never showed up as planned. All additional contact between Ciara and her loved ones ceased on August 7th, 2015. This was also the last time that Ciara accessed her social media pages.

Although Ciara had a history of running away, she has never gone this long without contacting her family members or friends. There have been no credible sightings of her since her disappearance. Despite this, Ciara's status still remains as a runaway, and her case remains unsolved. [read more]

1. Nachida Chandara

Nachida Chandara has been missing since March 14th, 2007. She was only 15 years old at the time she was reported missing, and there are very few details about available about the circumstances around her disappearance. What is known is that Nachida was last seen at her family’s home in Phoenix, Arizona the day disappeared. She left her home sometime after 10pm, and never returned again. After she was reported missing, authorities classified Nachida as a runaway.

Two months later, in May 2007, investigators were somehow able to verify that Nachida was in Detroit, Michigan. She was believed to be using the name Lisa Tran as an alias. It is unclear how investigators received this information, and there have not been any other known sightings of her since May 2007. Over a decade has passed since Nachida was last seen, but she is still classified as a runaway. Her case remains unsolved. [read more]

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