The Springfield Three – Part II
Twenty-four hours after of what is a typically a proud moment for parents and a moment of celebration for children, Mrs McCall was about to become the genesis of something unimaginable. Using photo’s taken from the recent graduation ceremony, She has photo’s of Suzie and Stacy developed to use in a missing persons campaign to try and locate her daughter and friend. Rapidly gaining media attention, tips began to come flooding in from a variety of sources and prove overwhelming to authorities who are only just launching an investigation.
A waitress at a restaurant frequented by Suzie and Stacy claimed to have seen the missing girls having a meal around 1 am on the night of their apparent disappearance. Investigators were never able to substantiate this claim after being able to gain contact with other patrons who were also present at the time in question.
Time continued to pass without any solid leads for investigators to follow. Even as greater resources were allocated to the case and the FBI became involved, the Springfield Police were unable to locate the three missing women. After questioning Sherill’s eldest child, Bart Streeter, investigators were able to rule him out as a suspect after confirming his alibi that he was at his own residence having passed out after excessive drinking.
However his sisters personal life would give rise to the first suspects in this long and arduous investigation. Suzie Streeter’s ex-boyfriend, a youth named Dustin Reckler. Mr. Reckler and a group of associates were arrested by local law enforcement after they were found to have been responsible for the vandalism of a local cemetery and had been selling the gold tooth fillings from the corpses they had defiled.
The relationship ended after his arrest a few months prior to the disappearance of the three women and after Suzie provided a statement to the authorities there was significant resentment between her and Mr. Reckler and a close associate named Michael Clay. There alibi’s of being at a local rock concert were unable to be confirmed or denied by investigators but their actions during interrogation brought them increased scrutiny.
Michael Clay in particular was quoted as saying he wished death upon the missing women which lead some including friends and family to speculate about his involvement in their disappearance. However both Clay and Reckler continually cooperated with the authorities and continue to deny any involvement in what happened that fateful night. As the investigation continues investigators are still unable to rule them out as suspects despite their willingness to be of help to detectives.
It was during this stage of the investigation that Police received a tip from a witness came forward with a possible sighting of one of the missing girls. During the time in which they were supposed to have disappeared a witness told detectives that she saw a van being driven by who she believed to be Suzie Streeter.
The witness claimed that the driver she believed to be Suzie appeared to be distressed. She was sitting on her front porch of the morning of the disappearance and that she noticed a van pull into her street and turn around. Furthermore she stated that as the van pulled in she claimed to hear a man’s voice in the back telling the driver to just back out slowly and get them out of there.
Unfortunately this witness did not come forward earlier as she had not seen the fliers placed around town by Mrs. McCall. Still the investigators believe this information to have credibility and after it was released to the public, more tips with similar claims came flooding in. Despite all describing a van being driven through the neighbourhood, the colour described by the various witness’s ranges from nearly a whole rainbow of colours.
Time continued to pass and with the model of the van plastered all over the news, detectives checked thousands of vans of similar make and colour but to no avail. However, Police were about to receive what could possibly be their best tip yet. It would come from miles away in the state of Florida. This tip would provide the investigation with arguably its best suspect yet. A man by the name of Robert Craig Cox.
A man well known to law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions across the United States. Robert Cox is an trained Army Ranger who had been arrested and tried in Florida for the murder of Sharon Zellers but had the conviction overturned due to insignificant evidence. Insignificant evidence one might say was the reason that Robert Cox may have avoided prosecution and conviction time after time.
Cox is a man who had continually managed to evade conviction for a variety of offences that range from kidnapping to burglary. He was however convicted of murder in Florida and placed on death row until the State Supreme Court. Despite every juror being convinced of his guilt, the conviction was overturned on the grounds of insufficient evidence. After being released, Cox was returned to California to finish serving his sentence for another offence.
Upon completion of his prison term in California, Mr. Cox moved home to his parents in Springfield. Investigators would soon discover that he was employed at a Car Dealership where Stacy McCall’s father was also employed as a salesman. However as they continued to investigate this suspect, he was able to provide an alibi for the time in question that was confirmed by his girlfriend at the time. The investigation had reached another dead end.
Years passed and it was not until 1995 where Robert Cox was arrested in text for aggravated burglary that investigators would take another look into their files on the suspect. During this new examination, Detectives find that his alibi that Cox was in Church with his girlfriend at the time in question was false as she recanted her previous statement and told the investigators that she had spoken to Cox right before her initial interview and told her what to tell Police.
Now serving a life sentence, Robert Cox has never confessed to any involvement in this case. Still that has not stopped him from taunting police and those with a vested interest in this case by pretending to know a lot more than he is willing to admit. When questioned about these events he gives cryptic answers and says thing such as “I just know they are dead”. Police have never been able to conclusively link him or any other suspect to the missing women and perhaps they never will be unless he decides to confess to being involved in their disappearance.
As the years have passed one constant rumor as to the whereabouts of the missing women has been given substantial attention given that it has been mentioned too many times by too many unrelated sources. The south parking garage of Cox Hospital was under still under construction at the time of their disappearance and after being scanned by a reputable mechanical engineer who specialises in ground penetration radar, a small area of the parking lot was found to be covering three anomalies. While this does not conclusively tell us that is where they are buried, it is the closest thing investigators have as to a lead that could help solve the mystery. Until that section of the ground is unearth, all we can do is continue to speculate and wonder what could have happened that fateful night…