True Crime: “Springfield Three,” Part I

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Stacy McCall, Sherrill Levitt and Suzie Streeter, the “Springfield Three.”

Stacy McCall and Suzie Streeter had just reached a milestone. On June 6, 1992, the friends graduated from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.

They spent the hours after commencement hanging out, partying, reminiscing and looking forward to the next big step in their lives. One day later, along with Suzie’s mother Sherrill Levitt, they were gone. The “Springfield Three” simply vanished.

Twenty-four years and thousands of hours of investigation later, the mystery remains. Few clues have been discovered, though law enforcement continues to receive tips to this day.

About the case

  • The Springfield Police Department was notified that the women were missing by McCall’s parents on June 7, 1992.
  • The home which the women were staying at belonged to Levitt. There were no signs of a struggle, but the appearance of abduction, as all personal property (clothes, purses, money, cars, keys, etc.) were left behind.
  • McCall and Streeter were last seen at about 2:15 a.m. on June 7 after leaving a graduation party. Levitt’s last contact was with a friend at 11:15 p.m. on June 6.
  • Levitt was 47 years old, Streeter 19 and McCall 18 at the time. They would be 71, 42 and 41 today.
  • The women disappeared between 2:15 a.m. and 8 a.m. June 7.
  • A high school friend visited the Levitt home at about 8 a.m. June 7, where she discovered that the outside of the porch light was broken and shattered glass in front of the door, which was open. She also noted that the beds were slept in.
  • The friend and her boyfriend cleaned up the glass, a mistake that may have compromised crucial evidence.
  • The phone in the house rang while the friend was there. She answered an obscene call from a man. She hung up, and the man called back immediately. To this day, it has not been determined if the call was connected to the case (in my opinion, it probably is).
  • Stacy’s mom visited the home later and contacted the police. She also checked Levitt’s answering machine, deleting a message from an unknown man that may have been another piece of compromised evidence.
  • Tips include several witnesses who said they saw a Volkswagen van in the area around the time of the crime. Unfortunately, the witnesses said the van was virtually every color, from green to silver.
  • Several people have provided the same tip to law enforcement: The women are buried in the parking garage of a hospital in Springfield that was under construction at the time of the abduction. No core samples have been taken. No digging, either. A ground penetrating radar scan alleged shows that bodies may be present at the site.

Suspects/Persons of Interest

  • Robert Craig Cox: A convicted kidnapper currently imprisoned in Texas, he was convicted in the murder of a woman in Florida but released after the state Supreme Court ruled there wasn’t enough evidence. He lived across the street from the women at the time they went missing and has toyed with the Springfield police about the case for years. He also has said he knows what happened to the women to a TV reporter, without admitting to the crime.
  • Gerald Carnahan: A businessman, he was convicted in the 1985 killing of Jackie Johns 25 years after it happened. He has ties to Springfield and a long history of legal troubles.
  • Dustin Recla, Michael Clay and Joseph Riedel: Recla is the ex-boyfriend of Streeter told police he wanted her dead because she gave officers a statement about the men, who were charged with the felony institutional vandalism of a cemetery in February 1992.
  • Steven Garrison: A lifelong criminal, he allegedly bragged at a party about killing the women and burying them. He currently is in a Missouri prison.
  • Larry DeWayne Hall: A convicted serial killer, he was a Civil War buff who participated in re-enactments in the Springfield area. His brother claims that Hall admitted murdering the women.

I will write much more about this fascinating case soon.

 

 

 

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Terror times two in southwest Missouri

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The Springfield Three vanished in June 1992. Streeter and McCall graduated high school on the same day they disappeared.

Thousands of people vanish every year. Many of them are never heard from again. It’s sad and awful, but it also provides true crime writers a deep pool of material. Though I’m focusing on one case for my capstone project, there are hundreds of cases to write about.

Two of these cases can’t be classified as murders, because the victims are still missing. All four of the women involved disappeared more than 20 years ago. Both cases occurred not far from where I grew up in southwest Missouri.

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Angela Marie Hammond

Angela Marie Hammond, 20, was abducted on April 4, 1991, in Clinton, Missouri. Angela was using a payphone in the small town when a grungy middle-aged man driving an old green pickup truck grabbed her and fled.

Angela’s boyfriend, Rob, was talking to her on the phone when she was taken. He raced into town in his car and drove past the truck as it was leaving Clinton. Rob attempted to pursue the truck, but his transmission gave out when he threw the car into reverse at a high speed.

Originally a suspect, Rob was cleared. Nearly 25 years later, Angela is still missing. Two other women were kidnapped in the area in the months leading up to Angela’s abduction. Angela was pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

The second case might be even more terrifying. On June 7, 1992, Sherrill Levitt, Suzie Streeter and Stacy McCall went missing in Springfield, Missouri. The latter two graduated from high school earlier in the day.

There are few clues in this case (and plenty of rumors). Witnesses say they saw a suspicious-looking van in the neighborhood in the hours before the trio went missing. One witness says she saw Sherrill driving a van slowly and heard a voice telling her not to do anything stupid.

At the time the Springfield Three disappeared, Sherrill and Suzie (mother and daughter) lived across the street from Robert Craig Cox, a convicted kidnapper currently incarcerated in Texas. He still is considered a suspect.

I plan to blog about each of these cases in the upcoming months. Many of you reading this, especially those I went to school with, know about this case. What are your thoughts? How about your memories? Have you heard any theories?