By: Jennifer Kielman
A Quarter Century of Questions: Journalists Recall Missing Women Case from 25 Years Ago
Posted: Jun 03, 2017 09:34 PM CDT | Updated: Jun 03, 2017 09:34 PM CDT
A Quarter Century of Questions
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It'll be 25 years on Wednesday when three women, Suzanne Streeter, Stacy McCall and Sherrill Levitt, went missing in Springfield.
The three went missing from Levitt's home. Even through extensive investigations and searches, to this day, they are still nowhere to be found.
Most people who lived in the Queen City during that time, remember it well.
That also holds true for the journalists who covered it.
KOLR10's Assistant Director Lissa Hamblen says, "I think most journalists who were here, working and have worked throughout the years on this story, they probably have spent time thinking about it at night, ya know, at 3 o'clock in the morning. And, you're like -- where are they?"
"That was a Monday Morning. And, I was working at KTTS as a traffic reporter." KOLR10's Managing Editor Karen Libby said.
Lissa Hamblen says, "I worked here (KOLR). I was producing. I must've been dayside cause the memory that sticks out is the morning meeting."
KOLR10's Assignment Editor Bil Tatum says, "I was in the newsroom at the News Leader."
Karen Libby says, "As I was driving around that morning, I heard one of the officers say, the porch light is broken out."
Bil Tatum says, "Something wasn't right. We heard on the scanner that indicated there was something going on at that location on Delmar."
"I was there shortly after 8 and started getting this information together. And, I think we went on the air with it at 8:30." Karen Libby said.
Lissa Hamblen says, "Our news director at the time, Steve Snyder, immediately brought this up as one of our potential stories for that day. And said, what is going on? I'm hearing something about 3 women who haven't shown up. They're missing from a house in Springfield and they're just gone."
Bil Tatum says, "They were gone in such unusual circumstances. You wouldn't expect, I mean having the mom be one of the people who disappeared was part of the unusualness about the story. And the girls had just come off on what was one of the happiest nights of their life probably. They graduated. They had been partying, been enjoying the evening with their friends. They had plans for the next day. They were expected to be some place the next day. And, it just didn't look good. It didn't look good that there was no explanation for why they would have left behind their purses, their keys, their cigarettes. Smokers don't do that."
Lissa Hamblen says, "I can't imagine if it's like one person who took them-- how did they take three people without leaving anything that connected them?"
"Cars in the driveway. Their belongings. Their clothes. That's what was really so scary.", Bil Tatum said.
Karen Libby says, "And, it just took off from there."
Bil Tatum says, "In the days that followed, it became a much bigger story as things kept going on and on. And there was no, nothing to explain this bizarre, mysterious disappearance."
Lissa Hamblen says, "The first week or so, you really thought, it was just going to resolve. It was going to have an ending of some sort. And, it didn't."
"It's the craziest story. And, it went on forever.' Karen Libby said.
Lissa Hamblen says, "Weeks went by. And, eventually years. And, every anniversary since that time, we do the one year, the five year, the ten year. And it just keeps going."
Karen Libby says, "The thing that's just boggling even now is that, we don't have any answers at all. I mean, they had 24, 25 thousand documents in the case file."
Bil Tatum says, "They had so many leads, thousands of leads, thousands of tips. All those people working on them."
Karen Libby says, "They had FBI experts. Some very smart people all over the country examine that case."
Bil Tatum says, "And we had all the tips about the van, the tips about every disturbed pile of dirt in Missouri became suspicious to somebody."
Karen Libby says, "And, it's gone nowhere. They vanished. How do three people vanish? And, that's what continues to keep people's attention on this. Who would ever think I would still be talking about a crime like this, a case like this, a quarter of a century later. It's just crazy."
"Watching that family agonize and grasp for whatever they can, just to get some resolution. That's with every story I think. I think, all of us watch families hurt. And, journalists feel that. We feel their pain and watching her hurt has not been easy. It has not been easy for anybody. I want something to end on this so she can breathe. And, her husband can breathe. I want their family to know something. That would be the ending, regardless of what it is. Just to know would help.", Lissa Hamblen said.
Karen Libby says, "We all want to know what happened. Those women have become our women."
Libby, Hamblen, and Tatum are current employees of KOLR10.
When Karen Libby worked for KTTS 25 years ago, she says, they were the first to report the incident.