A Quarter Century of Questions: Families Of 3 Missing Women Try To Cope
By: Melanie Chapman
Posted: Jun 05, 2017 10:32 PM CDT | Updated: Jun 05, 2017 10:32 PM CDT
Springfield, Mo. -- They vanished without a trace - Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter and Sherrill Levitt.
Through the years there were many leads, some appeared strong but investigators say they never turned up any credible evidence.
"We were on a roller coaster that would go up and down and up and down and that roller coaster would say, we think we have them," said Janis McCall, Stacy's mother.
Twenty-five years later there is no sign of the women and no known suspect. For the families of the missing women, coping with the disappearance over the years has changed them. Janis and her husband, Stuart, have grandchildren today.
"We became even more protective of our family. I still don't want my daughters going shopping, even if it’s at the mall or Walmart or wherever by themselves," Janis said.
From the beginning, Janis stayed in constant contact with investigators, posted fliers, received phone calls at her home some hateful, others seemingly helpful. Sherrill's (SP.) sister and Suzie's aunt, Deb Schwartz, lives in Arizona.
"It was hard for us, it was very hard for us because we weren't there and we felt like gosh, we aren't doing like what Janis could do," Deb said.
Schwartz said she still has a lot of anger. Living with no answers and no sign of their loved ones has taken its toll on the family. Her mother and father have since passed.
"He was 75 when he died and I think he would have had a much longer life without that stress. I think it ate at him, being a father and knowing that in his mind he failed to protect his daughter or to bring it to any conclusion was very hard. It is very hard for all of us, we can't do anything," Deb said.
Deb and Janis both are aware of the many possibilities as to what may have happened and who could have done it. Both come back to one man as a likely suspect: Robert Craig Cox. He was convicted of killing a woman in Florida but was released on a trial technicality. He was in Springfield at the time of the disappearance.
"He was fully capable of doing it. He had, he actually had worked with the same place that my husband worked Reliable Chevrolet." Janis said.
Cox would have very well seen Stacy, her sisters and her friends when they would visit her father at work," Janis said.
"Cox is probably the most logical choice. There are so many ways that he fit. and he's pretty much a sociopath from the interviews I've seen," said Deb.
With all the emotional suffering, the families have endured the past 25 years, it's their faith that has helped guide them through.
"I take comfort in believing that my dad is with Sherrill and Suzie and knows what happened now. You know happened and know that they're in heaven and they're in a happy place and a better place than this world and my mom's there too," Deb said.
Janis said she still struggles with depression at times.
"I turned this over to God probably three or four weeks after she disappeared. I said I just can't handle anymore you've got to do it because I can't and I do think that's a part of it. I do have a good relationship with God and I know that in his own time, he'll let me know. It might be long after I've gone and can be a blink of an eye and it’s been 25 years, so maybe he's only blinked once and may take that second blink," Janis said.
The families still hold out hope, someone will do the right thing, and come forward with solid information on this case. They know it’s highly unlikely the women are alive - they just want to bring them home.