04-06-2008, 03:15 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
IL - Karen L. Schepers, 23, Carpentersville, 16 April 1983
25 Years ago...
Karen L. Schepers
Missing since April 16, 1983 from Carpentersville, Illinois
Date Of Birth: September 20, 1959
Age at Time of Disappearance: 23 years old
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'7"; 125 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown hair; brown eyes.
Clothing: Tan corduroy coat with hood, "Wittenauer" watch.
Dentals: Available. Tooth NB 14 has root canal work.
Circumstances of Disappearance
Karen Schepers was last seen on April 16, 1983 at approximately 1:00 am.
Schepers had gone to a bar in Carpentersville, Illinois to help celebrate the promotion of some co-workers. Schepers was the last one of her group to leave. She was never heard from again.
Schepers vehicle was never found. She was driving a 1980 Toyota yellow in color, having IL registration XP8919.
Schepers has not used any of her credit cards, and no funds have been withdrawn from her checking and/or savings accounts.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Elgin Police Department
Agency Case Number: 83-04-0814
NCIC Number: M-106601390
Please refer to these numbers when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
Elgin Police Department
The Doe Network: Case File 1653DFIL
Last edited by KateB; 04-08-2015 at 03:15 AM.
04-13-2008, 08:04 PM #2Former member
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
Elgin woman's disappearance haunts family
April 13, 2008
BY EMILY McFARLAN Staff Writer
ELGIN -- Karen Schepers was 23 years old. She had no credit card debt, a car that was recently paid off and money in the bank. She had a boyfriend and a job she enjoyed as a programmer at First Chicago Bankcard in Elgin.
"She had everything going on," according to Elgin police Detective Brian Gorcowski.
» Click to enlarge image
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Karen Schepers is asked to call the Elgin Police Department at (847) 289-2700. Then she disappeared.
In many ways, the Elgin woman's disappearance isn't much different from the nationally publicized recent disappearances of suburban moms Lisa Stebic of Plainfield and Stacy Peterson of Bolingbrook. She was young and pretty and vanished without a trace.
"It's different only in the sense that, one, it is a very old case, and, two, it's a very old case that hasn't had a lot of attention," said Barbara Lamacki, Illinois area director of the Doe Network, which assists law enforcement agencies in solving cold cases involving unexplained disappearances.
Schepers last was seen on an early Saturday morning inside Carpentersville bar P.M. Bentley's, celebrating a promotion with about 20 co-workers. No one recalls seeing her leave. Her Social Security number, credit cards and bank account never have been used, nor has her car been spotted since that April 16 night 25 years ago.
Schepers' family and Elgin police are marking the sad anniversary this week with a renewed investigation into her disappearance, one of 3,178 missing persons cases that remain unsolved in the state of Illinois. Nationwide, that number is 104,892, according to Lamacki.
It was revisited once before, in the late 1990s when Elgin police teamed with the Illinois State Police to review about a half-dozen local cases in the state's cold case initiative. Last fall Gorcowski joined the investigation at the request of Schepers' family.
"We just feel that it's a missing person and it's getting to be a cold case, and there are a lot of cold cases that are being solved," said Elizabeth Paulson, Schepers' mother. "We have never had any closure."
Paulson lives in the Sycamore home where she raised her nine children. Schepers was the oldest girl and "a little mother-type person," she says.
A different time
At the time of her daughter's disappearance, Paulson was living in Texas and Schepers' father, Loren Schepers, was living in Elgin.
He rented a plane and conducted aerial searches for her bright yellow 1980 Toyota Celica lift-back after his daughter went missing. The family consulted famous psychic Irene Hughes and distributed missing posters across the country that netted tips from as far away as California.
But as Gorcowski noted, "It's not like Peterson or Stebic where you have huge numbers of people searching. This was a different time."
Investigations are different now now, too, he said. Police can track people's whereabouts using signals from cell phones, I-PASS transponders and GPS devices and computers' IP addresses.
Gorcowski still is amassing all the case files from both the Elgin Police Department and Illinois State Police and plans to re-interview everyone police spoke with at the time of Schepers' disappearance. He's added her DNA to the President's DNA Initiative, a DNA database for missing people, and teamed with Lamacki and the DOE Network to appear on radio shows and podcasts such as Missing Pieces.
Already he's made one loosely connected discovery. Thomas Urlacher, suspected in the 1976 disappearance of 14-year-old Barbara Glueckert from Huntley, was a previous tenant of Schepers' Elgin apartment at 311 Lovell St. Urlacher was shot to death in April 2004 in Colorado, and Glueckert never has been found.
With the renewed investigation, Paulson said, "We, as a family, have the feeling somebody cares and is working for us, and that's important."
Stebic family spokeswoman Melanie Greenberg said she thinks high-profile cases of missing persons such as Natalee Holloway, Laci Peterson and Stebic, who is the cousin of her husband, Mark Greenberg, have raised awareness of similar cases since 1983. Stebic will be missing one year on April 30, and Greenberg said simply not knowing what happened to her has been the hardest part for her family.
"It's hard. It's hard to keep going," Greenberg said. "I can't imagine 25 years."
Gorcowski said he hopes the renewed investigation will turn up overlooked information, uncover information using new technology or encourage anyone with information about Schepers' who might have been afraid to step forward in 1983 to contact the Elgin Police Department.
"People have their attention on current events, but here's a family that hasn't had closure in 25 years," Gorcowski said. "We hope there's some local, national awareness there are more missing persons out there and at least one person out of Elgin."
04-19-2008, 09:38 PM #3
15 April 08
Over the years, Liz Paulson has sold off most of her 75-acre farm in rural Sycamore.
But she still keeps five acres and the six-bedroom home where her daughter Karen Schepers and her eight siblings grew up.
And Paulson won't sell the house anytime soon.
Karen, a vibrant 23-year-old with a good job and bright future, disappeared without a trace 25 years ago.
But if by some miracle she comes back, Paulson wants her daughter to see, feel, hear and smell the familiar surroundings where she spent her childhood.
"I'm the girl's mother, and I can't let go. You don't totally let go," Paulson said. "I have to keep this (house) so she has somewhere to come to."
Karen Schepers had every reason to be happy on April 15, 1983.
She just received her $1,200 tax return, which she put in the bank. The Elgin woman had recently paid off her car, a canary yellow 1980 Toyota Celica, meaning she had virtually no debt.
And she just earned a promotion as a computer programmer.
So Karen and about 20 of her co-workers at Visa in Elgin went out that Friday night at P.M. Bentley's, a bar in Carpentersville.
During the evening, she called her fiance, 29-year-old Terry Schultz, to come join the party. But he refused because he had to work early the next morning.
They snapped at each other, but she didn't let that ruin her night.
Gradually, her co-workers departed and she was the only one left. Karen was last seen at the bar about 1:30 a.m., but no one remembers seeing her leave or get into her car, police said.
Her body and car have never been found. Her bank accounts were untouched; no one tried to use her Social Security number.
"Nobody knows (what happened) because she was the last person to leave," said Karen's younger sister Susan Trainer.
much more at link
04-20-2008, 07:16 AM #4Registered User
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- Feb 2005
04-20-2008, 08:26 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
Strange that her car was never even found. Unless it was burned or submerged. How sad.
04-22-2008, 01:39 PM #6Former member
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
Cop takes '83 case of missing woman
23-year-old and her car just vanished; her savings account left untouched
By Carolyn Rusin
Special to the Tribune
11:53 PM CDT, April 18, 2008
Karen Schepers was last seen alive on April 16, 1983, when she celebrated a friend's promotion at a Carpentersville bar. She drove there alone and sometime after 1 a.m. left in her bright yellow Toyota Celica.
No one ever saw the young Elgin woman again, but 25 years after her mysterious disappearance authorities are taking a fresh look at the case.
"She went missing. Her car went missing. It's that whole thing, she vanished without a trace," said Elgin detective Brian Gorcowski, who was assigned to the cold case last fall. "I've got to go back and re-create 25 years."
Over the years, police developed few leads, but Gorcowski is taking steps that he hopes will turn that around. Earlier this week, seven billboards were placed along local interstate highways, alerting motorists about Schepers, who was 23 when she disappeared.
Gorcowski also has entered information into an international database for missing persons; authorities likewise have established a DNA profile from strands of her hair and mouth swabs taken from her mother and a brother. The profile was added to a national DNA database for missing persons.
There are also plans to use sonar technology to search local ponds and quarries.
The billboards were donated by Clear Channel with help from the state chapter of the Doe Network, which operates a database for missing persons and assists law enforcement and families with cold cases.
Barbara Lamacki of Lockport, area director of the volunteer organization, contacted police after reviewing news articles about Schepers' case.
"We're trying to get the information out to the public. For the family, the most difficult thing I hear is that they don't have answers," Lamacki said. "They don't go through the grieving process. For them, Karen is still 23 years old. They're trapped in time and that is the most heartbreaking part."
Schepers lived with her mother in Sycamore while attending Sycamore High School. Before her disappearance, she worked as a computer programmer for Visa in Elgin and liked her job, say relatives who remain haunted by the many questions. Schepers' Social Security number, credit cards and bank account were never used. Her car never turned up. Authorities couldn't nail down whether she made it back to her Elgin apartment after she left the bar, because she was not reported missing until two days later, Gorcowski said.
The case was reopened in the late 1990s when detectives with the newly formed cold case unit of the Illinois State Police offered assistance to Elgin police to follow possible leads. But nothing of significance surfaced, said Gorcowski, who added there was no evidence Schepers met with violence.
"Seven thousand dollars was left in the bank," he said. "She didn't pack any clothes. Her apartment was pretty much in order."
In coming weeks, Gorcowski plans to re-interview everyone who was questioned in the case.
04-22-2008, 04:29 PM #7Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
- Southwestern Maine is home but I'm not there nearly often enough
Something no one apparently focused on was the nature of Karen's work. 25 years ago programmers were not a dime a dozen: it was a prestigious high-income occupation and worth every penny considering they were working with awkward second-generation programming languages that made the design and coding of even the simplest applications an incredibly arduous task (it took me two weeks to program a tic-tac-toe game using Assembler in college, I almost went nuts).
If she really was a programmer (in those days the media often confused programmer with computer operator) and working for a bank she may have been involved in a large-scale fraud scheme, or been forced to take part in one by another party and then murdered. Either possibility would explain why she never resurfaced nor used her credit cards or bank account. Typically banks in those days and whenever they could avoid it did not report internal computer fraud for fear of losing the public's trust that they could control computers and those that worked with them. They figured it was cheaper to quietly swallow the loss and discreetly fire the offending employee(s).
It's just another theory but what the heck nothing else seems to have panned out.
11-29-2009, 01:49 AM #8Verified insider - Sierah Joughin case
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
Wonder if they looked at Tommy lynn Sells for this? He was in Illinois at various times, murdered a whole family there in 1987, and preyed on young girls and women. He wasn't caught for years because he was a drifter...killed and then left.
01-16-2013, 10:46 PM #9
The 25 Year Search for 23 Year Old Karen Schepers
DALE: ...so it was, I think, maybe a bit safer world that we lived in. The things that happen today, you know, maybe weren't so prevalent in the l980s. We were probably a little more trusting as a society in those days, and I think the investigation took that on as the premise and really didn't shift out of that mode at all during the critical time. One of the most frustrating things for the family was that the Elgin Police would look and interview and draw conclusions, most of which were pretty much, "She's a big girl. She had a little spat with her boyfriend, perhaps, and took off. She's cooling off," that sort of thing. "Don't worry. She'll be back. She'll be back. She'll be back." And days went by, months went by, and now, you know, even years have gone by, and that certainly isn't the case. During the time that we were assisting the Elgin Police Department, in the beginning, all the evidence pointed towards something besides just, you know, an angry...you know, I guess a situation of perhaps anger or disappointment or something like that, that Karen left, was the premise that they had and that just wasn't the way that she operated. That wasn't the way that she dealt with things. She didn't need to run away and cool off. She didn't need to go somewhere and start over again. I mean, she was the type of person that met things head on and dealt with situations and people and feelings and all that sort of stuff, as they occurred, and we explained that to the officers and the detectives, time and time again, that this is not characteristic of Karen, "You're looking in the wrong place." I guess the most disappointing thing that the police department did not even bother to find out enough about who Karen is, or who Karen was, at the time, to even begin to look in the right place.
DALE: Yeah, that's true. And the other part of it too was that the family members that knew her best, were not the ones that they were relying on to ask those questions to get direction with. I mean, they were working the closest with the boyfriend, who informed us later that they'd broken up just before this particular incident. So, they were working with the ex-boyfriend. They were working with the estranged stepmother, you know, the one that actually expressed violence towards Karen a few times in the past, you know, not terribly recent to 1983, but in years prior, she had made some angry remarks and those sorts of things. And her father, married to this stepmother, that basically was kind of in neutral this whole time, and we were supposed to like the stepmother just because she was the stepmother, not necessarily that there was anything to like about her. It was kind of a...it was a difficult thing that the police kept going back to those three people, that weren't the most knowledgeable, weren't the most in tune, weren't the most communicative with Karen, I mean, they weren't close to her at all.
TODD: Basically, even the relationship they did have was broken or scarred to some degree.
DALE: Yeah. Absolutely, and those were the people that were they were relying on to help give them direction as to where to go.
01-17-2013, 08:19 AM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
Thanks for bringing Karen's case back into focus. This April will mark 30 years since she disappeared.
11-22-2016, 11:14 AM #11
Elgin detective takes on case of woman who vanished in '83 April 19, 2008|By Carolyn Rusin, Special to the Tribune
They were gonna search ponds and lakes for her car, I guess nothing came of it.
Changes to NamUs Case # 1317
NamUs Case # 1317 has had changes made. You can view the case by clicking the url below
The following fields have been changed:
Vehicle make has been changed from "" to "Toyota"
Vehicle year has been changed from "" to "1980"
Vehicle model has been changed from "" to "Unknown"
Vehicle tag state issued has been changed from "" to "Illinois"
Vehicle has been changed from "Schepers vehicle was never found. She was driving a 1980 Toyota yellow in color, having IL registration XP8919. " to "Schepers vehicle was never found. She was driving a 1980 Toyota yellow in color 2 door, having IL registration XP8919. "
Vehicle color has been changed from "" to "Yellow"
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