(Springfield, MO)--It's an anniversary nobody would want to celebrate. On June 7, 1992, 15 years ago, the search for three Springfield women began.
As far as if they could have done anything better in the early days of the investigation, officers say having a better system of organization when tips came in would have helped. They have since put a system into place where all tips go into a database for better follow up.
It's an anniversary nobody would want to celebrate. On June 7, 1992, 15 years ago, the search for three Springfield women began.
The story of the three missing women would soon gain nationwide attention. Springfield officers say it ranks as the most notorious case they've ever worked.
That June day was a day that changed this community forever. It's then that two high school graduates and a mother would disappear without a trace, only to leave investigators and family members looking for some closure.
In June of 1992, Stacy McCall was just one of hundreds of Kickapoo High School students eager to begin their adult lives. Yet, that life would be put on hold just a few hours later.
Stacy and fellow graduate Suzie Streeter were last seen leaving a graduation party in the early morning hours of June 7th. They then went to Suzie's home on east Delmar to spend the night before a trip to White Water in Branson the next day. They never made that trip.
As the day of June 7th wore on, friends grew more and more concerned after no word from the two young women. They checked the home on east Delmar to find Stacy, Suzie, and Suzie's mother, Sherrill Levitt, all gone.
Yet their purses, clothes, even medications were still inside that house. By the evening, Springfield police officers were called in to begin looking for clues. That search would eventually grow to include all area law enforcement agencies and beyond.
"Everyday was the hope was that today was the day. I mean, because it was fresh, it was new, the phone was ringing off the wall with information." says Sergeant Mike Owen, one of the lead detectives in the case.
Springfield investigators compiled thousands of leads along with a suspect description and even a suspect vehicle.
While the investigation was ongoing, it seemed almost everyone else played a part in keeping morale strong through rallies, billboards and the many hundreds of posters that appeared in the days and weeks after the women's disappearance.
"I didn't want to talk to people who'd had someone missing for a year, because that was just completely unfathomable." says Janis McCall, Stacy's mother.
15 years later, McCall is still waiting for her daughter to come home.
She says, "It hurts. All I want to know is where my daughter is."
In those early years, Janis and her husband kept in constant contact with officers, putting up posters and keeping their daughter's name in the public eye.
Those leads would slow to a trickle as the case went unsolved. To date, only a few businesses still have those posters on display, their age visible as the years went on.
"I could define a cold case and this wouldn't be one of them." says Sgt. Owen.
Sgt. Owen knows the ins and outs of this case. He was one of the more than forty officers first assigned to finding Stacy, Suzie and Sherrill. Years later, he would lead the department's Violent Crimes Unit. The time, he says, has been full of ups and downs as strong leads would soon turn into dead ends.
He says, "There was, gosh, several times you would say this may be the one. And you get really emotionally involved and you track that thing down. And it involved travel to other states, interviews and then all of a sudden it hit a wall."
Owen says one of the more bizarre leads involved a psychic vision of the three women buried underneath the Cox South Hospital parking garage. He says investigators don't believe the lead is credible.
"There are some things that just don't match up enough to spend the thousands of dollars it would take to go any further with that particular lead." says Owen.
Janis McCall adds, "It doesn't help when there are false leads and that people harass you and give you leads that are not viable at all."
At times, Janis and her husband thought they were so close to finding Stacy that they reserved a hospital room and had private doctors on call. Today, much of Janis's attention is focused on an organization call One Missing Link.
"She's my missing link." says Janis.
For the McCalls, One Missing Link is a way to help families, who have their own missing members, providing emotional support and helping families work through the maze of law enforcement and advocate agencies out there. Both McCall and Springfield investigators say they're still looking for that one call that will lead them to what happened. It's hope that McCall says keeps her going even after all these years.
She says, "Until we find something, we're going to be in limbo forever."
Investigators tell KOLR10 they still have several persons of interest in this case, but none they've pinpointed as a suspect, which is why no one was named in this report. The department also tells KOLR10 it's been averaging one tip a month in recent years related to this case.
KOLR10 asked investigators if they believed this case could be solved today since technology is so much more advanced. They say probably not because there was never any concrete evidence and no witness testimony.