Tragedy Revisited: The Disappearance of the ‘Springfield Three’

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For the citizens of Springfield, Missouri, the day of June 7, 1992 was the start of a mystery that has spanned nearly three decades. That evening, Janis McCall would contact police to report that her daughter Stacy McCall, 18, her daughter’s best friend, Suzie Streeter, 19, and Suzie’s mother, Sherrill Levitt, 47, were all missing the night after Stacy and Suzie graduated high school.

All three women had left behind their personal belongings at 1717 East Delmar Street, which was the house owned by Levitt. Additionally, at the time that Janis McCall reported the three women missing, all of their cars were still parked in the driveway at Levitt’s home. Despite all personal belongings and vehicles being left on site, earlier that day prior to Janis’ call, Janelle Kirby, a friend of Stacy and Suzie, went to the house with her boyfriend, Mike Harrison, to check on the two girls after they failed to showed up at her house that morning for a trip to the waterpark. Kirby and Harrison told investigators that when they arrived, the door to the home was unlocked and the glass lampshade of the porch light was shattered into shards on the floor. To the dismay of investigators, Kirby swept up the glass with a broom, which despite her good intentions, soiled evidence that there may have been a struggle. The two also noticed that the blinds of Suzie’s room had been bent in an “open-eye” position as if someone had looked out into the driveway that day. Kirby and Harrison eventually entered the home, where she found Levitt’s dog appearing to be distressed. One of the most mysterious aspects of the case occurred when someone called the phone at the Levitt house. Kirby answered the call, which she described as “strange and disturbing.” According to her, the call was from a male who began making sexually vulgar remarks. After hanging up the phone, the man called a second time, again making inappropriate sexual remarks towards Kirby. With no sign of any of the three women, Kirby and her boyfriend left with the assumption that the women would return later.

Later that day, after Janis McCall contacted the authorities, she played a voicemail on Levitt’s answering machine while waiting for police to arrive. She accidentally erased the message, but told law enforcement officials that it was a male caller who was making obscene statements. Once investigators arrived at the home, they found all three women’s purses on the living room floor, as well as Sherrill and Suzie’s cigarettes. Police presumed that the crime scene had likely been contaminated by 10 or more people who had visited the home that day looking for the girls.

Sadly, since that day in 1992, there have been no further developments regarding the case and it has been cold ever since. A number of people have come forward anonymously claiming to have knowledge about the case. In 1992, a man called America’s Most Wanted giving details about the case, but the call was disconnected when the show’s call operator tried to connect the caller with Springfield authorities. In 1997, Florida murderer Robert Craig Cox stated while being imprisoned in Texas that he knew what happened to the women, but claimed he would not give the full account of the events until after his mother passed away. Investigators are skeptical about Cox’s claims and feel that he may be taking credit to get recognition. In 2006, an anonymous tip claimed that the women’s bodies were encased in the cement of a Springfield parking garage. Investigators used GPR (ground-penetrating radar) to scan the structure. The GPR did reveal that there were three oddities detected of roughly the same size in the cement. Despite this, Springfield police decided not to break up and dig through the cement, due to the costs and the fact that the person who left the tip claimed to have gotten the information through a dream that they had. Additionally, investigative reporters determined that the construction phase of the garage did not start until Spring 1993; over a year after the women disappeared.

Although the three women are still classified as “missing,” Sherrill Levitt and Suzie Streeter were both declared legally deceased in 1997. In contrast, Janis McCall refuses to allow Stacy to be declared as legally dead with the belief that her daughter may still be alive. In June of 1997, a bench was dedicated in memoriam to the women at Phelps Grove Park in the Victim’s Memorial Garden.

To this day, Springfield authorities are still receiving tips about the case.

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