Thursday, March 22, 2012

Missing Tuesday - The Springfield Three

I was planning to write about Paige Birgfeld today, but Paige's remains were found in Colorado about two weeks ago.  Although she is no longer missing, her murder has not been solved.  So instead, I am featuring the Springfield Three, a missing persons case that goes back to 1992.

Sherrill Levitt, her daughter Suzanne Streeter, and Suzanne's friend Stacy McCall went missing on June 7, 1992, from Levitt's home in Springfield, MO.  No trace of the three women has ever been found.

Suzanne and Stacy graduated from Kickapoo High School on June 6, 1992.  After having dinner with her mother, Suzanne met up with Stacy and they attended a graduation party at a friend's house.  The two girls were last seen in the early morning hours of June 7 as they were leaving the party.  Their original plan was to spend the night in a hotel in Branson, but then they decided to stay at the home of a mutual friend.  Suzie called her mother around 10:30 p.m. to discuss the change in plans.  When they arrived at the friend's house, they found that the house was over-crowded and decided to go to Suzie's mother's house instead.  The girls arrived at the residence around 2:15 a.m.  Both girls' cars, clothing, and personal items were all found at the house.  Stacy and Suzie were planning to go to an amusement park in Branson with friends in the afternoon.

Suzie's mother Sherrill was a popular hairdresser at a local beauty salon.  She and Suzie had a close relationship.  The last time anyone heard from Sherrill was around 11 p.m. on June 6, when she spoke with a friend on the telephone about a piece of furniture that she was re-finishing, and everything seemed to be normal at that time.  Sherrill's bed appeared to have been slept in, and all of her possessions were in the house including her purse and her cigarettes.

When the friends arrived at the house looking for Suzie and Stacy on June 7, they found the house unlocked and deserted.  There was a broken porch light outside and the friends cleaned up the glass so that no one would cut themselves.  Finding no one at home except the family dog, but all three women's purses and clothing in the house and their vehicles outside, they contacted other friends to find out if they had seen any of the women.  Other friends and family came to the house as well, including Stacy's father - the police estimate that around 20 people visited the house before it was closed off as a crime scene.  None of the neighbors noticed any suspicious activity near the house during the night.

Stacy's parents did not realize that Stacy was missing until over 12 hours after the girls were last seen. After some of Stacy's friends called her parents looking for her, Stacy's father went to the Levitt home to look for Stacy and contacted the police from there.  Stacy's parents were unaware that she had gone to Levitt's home the night before, believing that Stacy was spending the night with a friend in Republic instead.  Over 24 hours had passed before the police realized the seriousness of the situation. 

An extensive search of the house and the surrounding area produced no clues.  Investigators now believe that the broken porch light may have been significant and held some clues.  A woman matching Suzanne's description was seen driving a green Dodge van several times on June 7.  One witness heard a man's voice tell her not to do anything stupid.  It is believed that all three women were abducted.

Suspects include Robert Craig Cox, a convicted robber who was in the area that night and spent the night at the home of his parents.  Cox claims to know what happened to the women, but that he won't reveal what he knows until after the death of his mother.  Another suspect is Gerald Carnahan, a local Springfield businessman.  Carnahan was convicted of the 1985 murder of 20 year old Jackie Johns in 2010, and is currently serving a life sentence.  Almost since the time of their disappearance, there have been rumors that their bodies are buried under a parking lot that was under construction in 1992.

At the time of their disappearance, Sherrill Levitt was 47 years old - today she would be 67 years old.  She is a Caucasian female, 5' tall and weighing 110 lbs.  She has brown eyes and short hair dyed blonde.  She is a cigarette smoker and has pierced ears.  It is believed she was wearing a floral print dress.

Her daughter Suzanne Streeter was 19 years old at the time of her disappearance - today she would be 39 years old.  Suzie is a Caucasian female, 5'2" tall and weighs 102 lbs with long dyed blonde hair and brown eyes.  Her ears are pieced, with two piercings in her left ear.  When last seen, she was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt, and pink shoes.

Stacy McCall was 18 years old when she disappeared - today she would be 38 years old.  She is 5'3" tall and weighs 110 lbs.  She is Caucasian and has blue eyes and dark blonde hair with sun streaks and freckles.  Her ears are pierced and she had a tan when she disappeared.  When last seen, she was wearing a yellow shirt, a flowered bikini bottom, a gold chain, a ring with a small diamond, and a flat gold initial ring. 

If you have any information that can bring closure to these families, please call the Springfield police at 417/864-1810.

Literary Monday - 3/19/2012 - 3 days late

I usually blog on my lunch hour at work, but the library has been extremely busy.  We lost another 25 employees last week.  They were "re-balanced" to work at other locations.  We have eight people left in my department, which has the highest circulation in the library system.  There are literally THOUSANDS of books waiting to be re-shelved on my floor.  With only four staff members able to shelve a couple of hours a day (the others either have a disability or are senior citizens), there is no way we can make a dent in the mountains of books, even with help from other staff in the building.  We used to have 15 pages, and with each one working 20 hours per week, they were just able to keep up with the shelving.  Now with 0 pages, we are hopelessly behind and don't ever expect to catch up.

With that said, here are the titles that I finished since the first of the month:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - women's fiction meets up with magical realism in this story of two sisters whose family has a way with herbs:  the food they cook is infused with magical properties.  I love their cousin, who gives people things that they will need, only they don't know exactly when or why they will need them.  Read-alikes include Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender; also Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian - the murder/suicide of a couple with a troubled marriage shakes their small Vermont town.  Told from the points of view of four different narrators, there are some pretty good twists throughout the story.

Death on the Moors by Deanna Raybourn - This is the third title in the Lady Julia Grey series, with Julia accompanying her sister Portia north to the moors to the home of Nicholas Brisbane, Julia's evasive love.  This is different from the previous titles, in that it's more of a cold case rather than a current murder.  But the mystery comes to a satisfying conclusion, and Julia and Nicholas' story continues in the next title in the series, Dark Road to Darjeeling.

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff - After a life-changing event, Phoebe Swift decides to leave her position as a buyer of vintage clothing for Sotheby's and start her own vintage clothing shop.  Her purchase of an elegant collection of vintage clothing leads her to a special friend with an intriguing story that helps her to move past her own personal tragedy and get on with her life.  Especially entertaining if you love fashion, designer clothing, and vintage anything - I would love to have (or at least see) some of those clothes!

Defending Jacob by William Landay - a legal thriller that is also the story of a family unraveling.  When district attorney Andy Barber's son Jacob is accused of killing a classmate, Andy is put on administrative leave from his job and his whole life become about doing all he can to defend his son.  Crisis and learning more about each other does not necessarily bring a family closer together.  Hard to put down.