Unsolved: The Springfield Three
Tonight we are taking the train back to true-crimeville. Unsolved as per the usual, the case, or cases if you will, also has a crazy connection to one of our own here in the midnight train family. First we are going to talk about the Springfield 3. The Springfield 3 is an unsolved missing persons case that began on June 7, 1992, when friends Suzanne "Suzie" Streeter and Stacy McCall, and Streeter's mother, Sherrill Levitt, went missing from Levitt's home in Springfield, Missouri. Then we are going to roll into a talk about a giant hunk of shit named Larry Dewayne Hall. And in our discussion of Mr. Hall we shall get to the personal connection to us at the train! So without further ado… Let’s get into today's episode!
29 years ago Suzie Streeter, 19, her mother Sherill Levitt, 47, and her friend Stacy McCall, 18 disappeared without a trace from their central Springfield home. Authorities have gathered many theories to explain what could have happened. Some people have even gone as far as blaming alien abduction and the rapture. Can't we go a single unsolved true crime episode without an alien abduction theory?
Anyways, the day before the three went missing, the two girls were celebrating. They had graduated from highschool that day and were planning on going to a friend's house for a party later that day. The two initially intended to head to their friend Janelle Kirby's house, but it was too crowded, and instead, they went back to the home Streeter shared with her mother, Sherrill Levitt. The next day the girls were supposed to meet up with Kirby and her boyfriend to go to a water park. They did not show up at Kirby's house so Kirby and her boyfriend went to the girl's house to see what was going on. They assumed the girls had just overslept. When they got to the house the girls were not there and there was no sign of the mother either. When they arrived at the home, Kirby found the front door unlocked and entered the house to find it empty despite the women's cars still being outside. The family dog, however, was present and was described as agitated. Kirby also noticed that the porch light was smashed and there was glass everywhere. She decided to go ahead and clean up and unfortunately, not realizing it, may have destroyed some evidence while cleaning the mess. Kirby and her boyfriend started to look around the house and the phone rang. Kirby answered the phone call and said that the call was full of "sexual innuendo". She hung up and then another call came through and it was basically the same as the first. A few hours later, McCall's mother arrived at the property after she failed to reach her daughter on the phone. She noted Suzie's clothes, purse and cigarettes were still in the house and decided to call the police. While doing so, she noticed there was a message on the answering machine. Listening to it, she later described it as "strange" but inadvertently deleted it. Police believe the message may have contained evidence and it was unconnected to the sexual calls made when Kirby was present, which are largely dismissed as a prank.
It was now 16 hours since the two girls had been confirmed to have been seen. The mother had been last heard from at 11:15 the night before when she had called a friend of hers. When Kirby first accessed the property at 9 a.m., more and more friends and relatives came looking for their loved ones, with up to 20 people walking through the house. The crime scene became utterly compromised, and, needing a warrant, police were unable to enter until June 8. By June 9, they had called the FBI.
"The only thing unusual about this house was that three women were missing from it," retired Springfield Police Capt. Tony Glenn told News-Leader in 2006. "You had this feeling as you looked around that something was missing, that something had to be missing. But there wasn't. Just them."
Regardless, there was very little evidence at the property, with no signs of a struggle or blood present. All three women owned a car, and all three vehicles were still present; Levitt's blue Corsica was in the carport, Streeter's red Ford Escort and McCall's Toyota Corolla were in the circle drive. The keys were all in the house. Their purses were at the bottom of the stairs, and an inviting graduation cake was waiting in the fridge.
Meanwhile, Levitt's bed had been slept in, and her book was even turned over on the nightstand, ready to be resumed. The two young women had also certainly gotten prepared for bed, washing their make-up off and leaving their jewelry by the basin. McCall left her shorts and placed them by Streeter's waterbed, and given that no other clothing appeared to be missing, she is likely to have vanished in just a t-shirt and underpants. The only sign of any disturbance at all was the shattered porch light. The possibility exists that the light was deliberately broken to draw Levitt, Streeter and McCall out of the house just after the two young women arrived home, or another deception was used to the same effect, yet that can only be speculation.
Thousands of posters went up throughout Springfield. Police logged 5,200 tips in the case and gave polygraphs to numerous people. They searched woods and fields throughout the Ozark area and made inquiries in 21 states. All to little avail.
One potential piece of evidence was a letter left at a News-Leader rack at Smitty's. The letter had a drawing of the Bolivar Road Apartments with the phrase "use Ruse of Gas Man checking for Leak" written on. What it may have meant is unknown.
An image of a transient man in the area was distributed, as was a photo of a retouched dodge van seen by the home on June 7. The van is seemingly crucial to the case as an eyewitness claims to have seen Streeter driving a green Dodge later in the day on June 7 and, apparently under duress, a male voice telling her not to do anything stupid. Another witness reported seeing the van with a blonde female driver at a local grocery store and was suspicious enough to write down the license plate on a newspaper. Unfortunately, he threw the newspaper away before contacting authorities.
The hunt for the three women was relentless, with police logging 1,632 hours of overtime on the case over ten days, theorizing the transient might have been involved or the answer lay in the background of Sherrill Levitt.
A new lead appeared on June 24 when a waitress came forward to say the three missing women had been at George's Steakhouse between 1 a.m., and 3 a.m., with earlier evidence on the timing of the younger women's movements suggesting this is likely to have been near the end of that window. The witness said Streeter appeared to be drunk, and her mother tried to calm her. The sighting has never been confirmed.
Going nowhere, the investigation was featured on the Dec. 31 edition of "America's Most Wanted" and produced 29 calls. One stood out above the others when a caller claimed he had information about the three disappearances. However, attempts to link the caller with investigators failed, as he became spooked and hung up. Police appealed for him to get in touch again, but he never did, and his identity remains a mystery.
Another program, "48 Hours," shadowed police for weeks as they investigated the case, showing pictures from the search and officers sifting through the many leads. Nothing led to a workable angle, and the case went cold. Five years later, Springfield police announced it could no longer justify the money spent on the matter, officially shutting the case down.
Ok so that's fucking odd… Three women just disappeared. No signs of a struggle… No robbery… No blood.. everything left in place. Maybe it was aliens!
No you may be asking yourself...but guys… There's gotta be a suspect or something, well we found a couple.
Here's what we found:
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 including:
Jan. 13, 1994, second-degree burglary of a business, two-year prison sentence;
-- Jan. 13, 1994, stealing from that business, four-year prison sentence;
-- Jan. 13, 1994, arson at that business, three-year prison sentence;
-- Jan. 10, 1994, attempted kidnapping of a girl in Springfield in 1993;
-- June 1, 1994, assault of a law enforcement officer, 11 months in county jail;
-- June 1, 1994, unlawful use of a weapon, one-year prison sentence; and
-- other prison sentences for attempted kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
So, he’s an all around, grade A butthole
Then there’s Dustin Recla, Michael Clay and Joseph Riedel: Recla is the ex-boyfriend of Streeter who 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. Which seems a bit excessive to want to kill someone over.
Riedel is accused of breaking into a mausoleum at Springfield’s Maple Park Cemetery on Feb. 21 1992 and stealing a skull and some bones. Police have said Dustin Recla sold 26 grams of gold teeth fillings from the skull at a Springfield pawn shop for $30. So, these jerks were working together, breaking into graves and stealing their gold fillings. In the early 90s.
Garrison told police a friend had confessed to killing the three women during a drunken party. He told police information unknown to the public that led investigators to serve three search warrants at two sites in western Webster County; that info was that they would find the women’s bodies and clues about their abduction and deaths. He also said a moss green van believed used to take the women would be found about 12 miles away, south of Fordland.
The property searched was the same site where in 1990 LE searched for two of three missing Springfieldians. Property owner Francis Lee Robb Sr. pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in a case authorities said at the time they believed involve a drug deal gone awry.
Garrison was believed enough that a gag order concerning the three search warrants was issued by a judge.“…certain aspects of the information we received fit with other (private) aspects of the case,” Springfield Police Capt. Todd Whitson said. Whitson said the gag order was rare, but he could not say why it was issued,“other than to say there is such an order, and it governs the operation and everything related to the operation out here.” Added Webster County Sheriff C.E. Wells:“We can’t tell you anything about it until the order’s lifted.”
Garrison is serving 40 years in prison for raping, sodomizing and terrorizing a female Springfield college student in the summer of 1993.
After tracking him and several associates almost exclusively for more than a year, police have since backed off Garrison. But not all the way off. They last approached him last summer. Six months ago, investigators looked to Colorado for information on Garrison, who is in a Missouri prison.
"They've never let up on me," Garrison says.
But even with all these buttholes on the list, there is one main suspect that the police and many others like in this case, Robert Craig Cox. It's always about Cox on this fucking show…
In 1995, Cox was arrested for holding a gun on a 12-year-old girl in Decatur, Texas. He is presently serving a life sentence for that robbery and a consecutive 15-year federal sentence.
Robert Craig Cox was convicted of killing a 19-year-old Florida woman who was somehow intercepted while driving home from work at Disney World one night in 1978. Cox - who lived in Springfield the summer of 1992 - walked away from death row in 1989 after the Florida Supreme Court said the jury didn't have enough evidence to convict him.
Through the years, Cox has toyed with Springfield police - saying he knows the women are dead and that they're buried near the city. Having discovered that Cox lied about his alibi on the morning of June 7, 1992, officials are skeptical about his claims.
Cox declined to be interviewed by the News-Leader, but in recent letters to the newspaper, he acknowledges police consider him a suspect and that years ago he worked as a utility locator in south-central Springfield. Get that? Remember the “gas ruse” note??
Robert Craig Cox was convicted in 1988, of first degree murder, in the 1978 beating death of Sharon Zellers, 19, an employee of Walt Disney World. The case was weak, and Cox was not charged until eight years after the murder. Cox and his family were staying at a motel in Orlando where the victim’s body was found. He had a cut on his tongue, and hair and blood samples found near the victim were compatible with his. Cox testified he bit through his tongue during a fight.
The Florida Supreme Court reversed Cox’s conviction, ruling that, at best, the evidence created “only a suspicion” of guilt. The court ordered his acquittal and release from death row in1990
He was immediately taken into custody to complete a prison sentence in California for an unrelated 1985 kidnapping. Then he returned to his boyhood home of Springfield, Mo., where he came under suspicion — but was never charged — in the 1992 disappearance of the three females. Texas police also questioned him about an abduction in Plano. In 1995, Cox was arrested for holding a gun on a 12-year-old girl during a robbery in Decatur, Texas. He is serving a life sentence for that robbery and is not eligible for parole until 2025.
A couple years After being sent to prison in 1995, Cox claimed he knew what happened to the three women. Cox claimed all three had been murdered and buried, taunting that their bodies would never be found. Cox was living in Springfield at the time of the murders and didn't claim to be the killer, saying he was in church that morning as corroborated by his girlfriend.
However, that would not discount his involvement earlier in the morning, and in any case, the girlfriend later recanted her statement and said Cox asked her to lie for him. Cox said he was at his parents' home when asked where he was earlier, which was again corroborated.
Police remain uncertain as to Cox's involvement with the crimes, observing that he only ever tells them enough for them to believe he knows something but never enough to incriminate himself. Some believe Cox is merely seeking infamy through a false confession. For his part, Cox said he will reveal the truth once his mother dies, but the bodies are buried somewhere around Springfield. wow what a stand up fella. Someone kill that old lady! I’m kidding… Can we at least fake her death??
Also one more interesting tidbit. In 2007, investigators revealed they'd received a tip that the bodies were buried in the foundations of the Cox Hospital parking lot. (yay more Cox) That same year, crime reporter Kathee Baird had a corner of the parking lot scanned with ground-penetrating radar and found three anomalies. However, it remains doubtful that the site is the burial location as construction didn't begin there until September 1993, over a year after the disappearances. Equally, the tip came not from anyone connected with a burial but somebody professing psychic abilities. So there's that…
While the claims of Cox possibly have merit, there is no evidence to say for sure. Despite 50,000 tips from the public, the case remains unsolved, and with nearly 30 years having now passed, the case of the Springfield Three may never actually be resolved.
Ok so by now you may have forgotten that there is a personal connection to this case. You're kind of getting a twofer today.
Let's talk about another fine upstanding citizen, scratch that, a huge giant hunk of shit, Larry DeWayne Hall. Larry DeWayne Hall was born on December 11th 1962 in Wabash, Indiana, US. He was born 2nd of 2 children and raised by both parents. He was raised as a youngest child and had one older (by a few seconds) twin brother, Gary Hall. His father, Robert Hall, was an abusive alcoholic. His mother, a homemaker. His father abused alcohol and/or drugs. He had a speech defect. During his education he had academic, social or discipline problems, including being teased or picked on. Larry DeWayne Hall was physically and psychologically abused at some point of his life. Sound like the makings of a serial killer, what say ye passengers!
Police believe that Hall, 54, may have killed 30 to 40 women. He’s confessed to rapes, murders and abductions of women all over the Midwest to reporters, book authors and police investigators. He was convicted in federal court of abducting and raping a 15-year-old Illinois girl.
But he’s never been convicted of murder.
Hall is serving a life sentence in federal prison in North Carolina for the 1993 kidnapping of school girl Jessica Roach, whose ravaged body was found in a cornfield. She had been out riding her bicycle. In Hall’s confession, which was read to the jury, he admitted that he raped Jessica and strangled her with a belt, the ends of which he held from behind a tree where the child was forced to sit so he wouldn’t have to see her face. He was not tried for murder because the teenager’s remains were mangled by a farmer’s combine to the extent that a cause of death could not be determined. HOLY HELL!! That's a new and extremely disturbing one on this show, folks.
Without a cause of death, the case was transferred to federal court and Hall was charged with bringing a minor across state lines for purposes of sex.
However, in 1996, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that Hall should be given a new trial because the trial judge erred by not allowing the testimony of a psychologist that Hall’s mental condition led him to falsely confess, to please police. He was convicted again at a second trial and sentenced to life without parole.
Hall also confessed to police to killing 20-year-old Laurie Depies after abducting her in Menasha in northern Wisconsin. But he was never charged in connection with her 1992 disappearance, even though he said he killed her and scraps of paper were found in his van on which he had written “Lori” and “Fox River Mall,” where Depies worked. Authorities said they could not corroborate his confession, a legal requirement to bring murder charges.
The strange, 30-year odyssey of Larry Hall, a twin who once lived in an Indiana cemetery and wandered the Midwest in a van, involved occasionally attending Civil War re-enactments dressed as a Union soldier, and toying with police despite a low IQ of 85, according to a police report. Hall sent a letter to author Christopher H. Martin, who is from Hall’s hometown of Wabash, Indiana. Martin wrote a book about Hall’s alleged murderous sprees titled, “Urges: A Chronicle of Serial Killer Larry Hall.”