A Quarter Century of Questions: A Number of False Leads
By: Melanie Chapman
Posted: Jun 02, 2017 10:21 PM CDT | Updated: Jun 02, 2017 11:30 PM CDT
A Quarter Century of Questions...
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It was a case that shocked the community, three women go missing nearly 25 years ago.
Dozens of investigators, hundreds of tip calls, even some from around the world.
This week, we've been reexamining the case of Springfield's missing women as we lead up to the June 7th "missing date."
Reporter Melanie Chapman discusses the false leads that made this crime so confounding.
What happened to these three missing Springfield women? Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter (SP) and Sherrill Levitt. It’s a case that received national attention.
A mystery, that even decades later people are still talking about.
Former Prosecuting Attorney Darrell Moore says, "Everybody on this case wanted it resolved."
Moore was one of dozens of investigators who spent days, sleepless nights and hundreds of hours trying to solve this case. Today he still has hope the answer, so many have worked and prayed for, will come.
"Through the years there have been various leads but it got to the point where even today I still get calls from people." Moore said.
Moore acknowledges, it has been frustrating. There wasn't one rock they didn't overturn. They had to take every tip seriously. Many leads, none were solid.
Moore says, "There was a dig up over in Webster Co. because there was a rumor they had been taken by a certain person. Abused, chopped up and spread a creek or spread in a cave there were searches over there."
Early on, there were tips about a green van. This is a vehicle that was seen in the area of 1717 East Delmar in Springfield.
Police received a tip from a woman who claims she saw a van, being driven by who she thought was Suzie Streeter the morning of the disappearance. Yelling at the driver telling her to get out of there. Police searched thousands of vans, they posted the model all over the media. Even painted one green and kept it outside the police department. Tips about the van and the missing women kept flooding in.
"I was appointed special prosecutor in Barry co because of a lead by the Highway Patrol we had received and there was a dig down there on a property but at the time it seemed promising. It seemed to fit certain facts that we thought we knew at the time." Moore said.
That fateful night, Stacy and Suzie graduated. They went to numerous parties and Stacy ended up spending the night at Suzie's home. The next morning Stacy's family went to the house after not hearing from their daughter. They found the girl's purses and no sign of a struggle. The pet dog was the only sign of life in the house.
Retired Springfield Police Sergeant David Asher says, "I just felt like when we were given the case, when we actually got it late, we didn't start from the very beginning."
Asher was one of the lead investigators. He worked alongside Ron Worsham also with Springfield Police.
Worsham says, "Well we looked at her brother cause there had been some problems there they were I don't know if it was true or false."
Worsham is talking about Bartt (SP) Streeter, Suzie's Brother. His alibi at the time of the disappearance apparently checked out. Then there was a tip that the women were buried under the south parking lot of Cox Hospital. It was under construction soon after the disappearance. A theory, Moore says with no credible evidence.
That was bulldozed to prepare the parking garage for the cement that's at the bottom of the garage. Well part of the debris left out there is remains of trees and stumps and so we were told the anomalies out there were not bodies out but were probably debris.
Then there's Robert Craig Cox. A man released from a Florida prison on a trial technicality. He had been convicted of killing a woman in Florida but was free and in Springfield at the time the women disappeared.
Moore says, "He stirred up a lot of interest and there was some concern that he may have been playing people so he could get transported back here and get out of prison for a bit."
Dustin Reckla was a former acquaintance of Suzie (SP) Streeter. She was about to testify against him on charges he broke into a mausoleum to steal gold from the deceased. Police were very interested in Reckla and two accomplices but hope there quickly faded.
Worsham says, "If you can clear those three people who were persons of interest, we were kind of left with no suspects"
While many of the leads turned up false they still hold out hope the right tip could be developed even 25 years later.