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Thread: The Springfield Three--missing since June 1992 - #1

  1. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule
    Where did the call come from during "America's Most Wanted" program? The DUI is not in and of itself necessarily significant but it indicates a troubled individual. And I don't know of anyone else who has a daily count of the number of days they have been gone as was posted on another website.

    The thing to concentrate on here is the motive. Ultimately I am convinced that is the key to the case.
    Duh. I tell my students all the time that in research, you don’t look just at the “content,” you look at the patterns and connections and gaps. I had forgotten that the AMW call came from Florida. (And, by the way, does anyone recall a source for that? The Charley Project article just references a call without specifying where it came from.) And I will do some research on the court case next week when I can access Lexis-Nexis, I promise.

    You inspired me to re-read the thread and all the pertinent linked materials. In terms of motive, I found this statement in a News-Leader article: “Officers say key suspects who investigators believed had a motive to abduct the women were ruled out by the police chief himself. “ OK. So that tells us that the investigators, at least, had “key suspects” with “a motive.” (And clearly, based on what the News-Leader says, you are right about the need for a clean start here; the investigation didn’t proceed from following leads and developing evidence. Never mind why that happened; the point now would be to start over and sort out what is there.) So your questions about how “key suspects…with a motive” were cleared is at the heart of the matter.

    Next observation: The abductions occurred on the girls’ graduation night. The News-Leader tells us that only Sherrill attended Suzie’s graduation. Now, that raises some questions. Certainly, Sherrill’s family (sister, father, uncle and presumably others) lived at some distance from Missouri and any number of factors might prevent them from attending—money, health, even family custom. But where was her older brother Bartt?? In a family of three, a high school graduation might be the kind of event you just wouldn’t miss. Note that Suzie planned to go to beauty school as her mother did, not college, so this would have been a big milestone, THE graduation. Related question: I haven’t seen any comments in news articles from Bartt. Has anyone else seen anything? One would think he would take a lead role in pushing for resolution and answers on this case. His whole family had disappeared. There is coverage about and comments from Stacy’s parents, Sherrill’s sister, and her father and uncle. At the very least, reporters as good as that one with the News-Leader should have been turning the world upside down to find Bartt to get his reaction. And for that matter, the father and stepfather. The father appears to have dropped out of their lives entirely, and evidently Sherrill was trying unsuccessfully to find her ex Don Levitt because his creditors were after her to pay his debts.

    That brings us to money. Sherrill had a nice client base and probably did well enough to manage as a single mother. She apparently also had good sense, since she had just moved into a smaller house as a result of the divorce. Did she rent that house? The News-Leader article didn’t say she bought it.

    Stranger vs. Familiar attacker: The window for the abduction is fairly narrow. The one citation I could find was that the girls got to the house around 2:15. Janelle started calling around 7:30 and got no response. So there was about 5 hours, but in reality probably less, because people start stirring around by 5:30 or 6 (newspaper delivery, people going to work, early risers.) Because the girls were ready for bed, but there weren't signs they were in bed, it's likely to be even smaller because they were supposed to meet Janelle so early. Given teenage girls, say between 2:30 and 4:30. That's a guess, but it makes sense to me.

    If they were all three in the house when the trouble started, that would mean a random attacker would be breaking into a house with three cars visible outside, on a graduation night when he couldn’t be sure that Sherrill didn’t have a partner/friend staying over. How would a stranger know how many people were in the house? Why wouldn’t a stranger get the dog out of the way, either by letting it out or shutting it into a room or disabling it? Three upset women and a yappy dog would be a lot for even two assailants to handle. So I think either Sherrill or Suzie had to know the attacker(s).

    The Front Door: One News-Leader article describes Janelle as opening the front door a crack to see if Sherrill or the girls was inside. So either she found the door open (i.e., unlocked) or knew where there was a key. Either would be very interesting. If the door was unlocked, who unlocked it? Did the girls forget to lock it when they got in? Did they lock it, but later someone opened it to let a familiar person inside? Or did someone know where a key was hidden outside?

    Other reasons I think they knew the killer: If the motive was stranger rape or multiple murder, that could have happened at the house. A stranger would multiply risks by transporting 3 grown female rape victims, whether alive or dead—and as I say above, it was clear that more than one person was home. The motive clearly wasn’t robbery. The “personality,” if you will, of this event is orderly and methodical and oddly respectful of property. The shattered porch globe was likely something that happened at the last moment, perhaps when someone was being carried out to a vehicle. Breaking the globe would have made noise and he/they might not have had time to clean it up. And of course, the dog was alive and well and running loose in the house. Since nothing was missing but the women, the motive had to require making at least one or all of them disappear without signs of violence. She had something he/they wanted, or knew something, or stood in the way of something. And maybe the killer(s) needed a window of time before the bodies would be discovered for some reason--to fabricate alibis and/or to make sure that the bodies would never be found.

    If drugs were involved, there would have to be a whole lot of money in it for a group to risk abducting three people from a nice residential neighborhood in a town, transporting them somewhere, murdering them and disposing of them without being seen--in a small town that would certainly get turned upside down when these 3 were found to be missing. The drug dealers I read about in the paper just shoot each other and leave the bodies behind. The crack epidemic started around 1985 and was in full swing into the early 90s. Now, crackheads would be cognitively and rationally and emotionally impaired enought to cook up a stupid plan and then fail to abort the mission when something unexpected happened. But it is hard for me to see Sherrill or Suzie involved in crack.

    Questions: Was the door locked? Was there an outside key? Did she own the house or rent it? Who were the last occupants? Where were Sherrill and Suzie’s male relatives? Why wasn't Bartt at the graduation? Who were the two suspects seen being polygraphed? Who were the “key suspects” cleared by the police chief? How were they cleared? And why did the investigators think they had a motive to abduct or kill these women? And if the motive was money, where would it have come from, since clearly Sherrill’s ex wasn’t a Donald Trump type and she was a hair stylist who had just moved to a smaller house to economize?

    Forgive the long post. As a newbie to this case, I hope I am not just rehashing old ground. On some threads, I see complaints about that. But I am starting to agree with Missouri Mule that the facts needed to clear this thing are already there.

    And liz, thanks so much for posting all the links to the News-Leader articles. I had to go back and forth so much I finally bookmarked them. Thanks too for the info on the family having to close Sherrill's estate. Did she, in fact, own the home?

  2. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl
    Duh. I tell my students all the time that in research, you don’t look just at the “content,” you look at the patterns and connections and gaps. I had forgotten that the AMW call came from Florida. (And, by the way, does anyone recall a source for that? The Charley Project article just references a call without specifying where it came from.) And I will do some research on the court case next week when I can access Lexis-Nexis, I promise.

    You inspired me to re-read the thread and all the pertinent linked materials. In terms of motive, I found this statement in a News-Leader article: “Officers say key suspects who investigators believed had a motive to abduct the women were ruled out by the police chief himself. “ OK. So that tells us that the investigators, at least, had “key suspects” with “a motive.” (And clearly, based on what the News-Leader says, you are right about the need for a clean start here; the investigation didn’t proceed from following leads and developing evidence. Never mind why that happened; the point now would be to start over and sort out what is there.) So your questions about how “key suspects…with a motive” were cleared is at the heart of the matter.

    Next observation: The abductions occurred on the girls’ graduation night. The News-Leader tells us that only Sherrill attended Suzie’s graduation. Now, that raises some questions. Certainly, Sherrill’s family (sister, father, uncle and presumably others) lived at some distance from Missouri and any number of factors might prevent them from attending—money, health, even family custom. But where was her older brother Bartt?? In a family of three, a high school graduation might be the kind of event you just wouldn’t miss. Note that Suzie planned to go to beauty school as her mother did, not college, so this would have been a big milestone, THE graduation. Related question: I haven’t seen any comments in news articles from Bartt. Has anyone else seen anything? One would think he would take a lead role in pushing for resolution and answers on this case. His whole family had disappeared. There is coverage about and comments from Stacy’s parents, Sherrill’s sister, and her father and uncle. At the very least, reporters as good as that one with the News-Leader should have been turning the world upside down to find Bartt to get his reaction. And for that matter, the father and stepfather. The father appears to have dropped out of their lives entirely, and evidently Sherrill was trying unsuccessfully to find her ex Don Levitt because his creditors were after her to pay his debts.

    That brings us to money. Sherrill had a nice client base and probably did well enough to manage as a single mother. She apparently also had good sense, since she had just moved into a smaller house as a result of the divorce. Did she rent that house? The News-Leader article didn’t say she bought it.

    Stranger vs. Familiar attacker: The window for the abduction is fairly narrow. The one citation I could find was that the girls got to the house around 2:15. Janelle started calling around 7:30 and got no response. So there was about 5 hours, but in reality probably less, because people start stirring around by 5:30 or 6 (newspaper delivery, people going to work, early risers.) Because the girls were ready for bed, but there weren't signs they were in bed, it's likely to be even smaller because they were supposed to meet Janelle so early. Given teenage girls, say between 2:30 and 4:30. That's a guess, but it makes sense to me.

    If they were all three in the house when the trouble started, that would mean a random attacker would be breaking into a house with three cars visible outside, on a graduation night when he couldn’t be sure that Sherrill didn’t have a partner/friend staying over. How would a stranger know how many people were in the house? Why wouldn’t a stranger get the dog out of the way, either by letting it out or shutting it into a room or disabling it? Three upset women and a yappy dog would be a lot for even two assailants to handle. So I think either Sherrill or Suzie had to know the attacker(s).

    The Front Door: One News-Leader article describes Janelle as opening the front door a crack to see if Sherrill or the girls was inside. So either she found the door open (i.e., unlocked) or knew where there was a key. Either would be very interesting. If the door was unlocked, who unlocked it? Did the girls forget to lock it when they got in? Did they lock it, but later someone opened it to let a familiar person inside? Or did someone know where a key was hidden outside?

    Other reasons I think they knew the killer: If the motive was stranger rape or multiple murder, that could have happened at the house. A stranger would multiply risks by transporting 3 grown female rape victims, whether alive or dead—and as I say above, it was clear that more than one person was home. The motive clearly wasn’t robbery. The “personality,” if you will, of this event is orderly and methodical and oddly respectful of property. The shattered porch globe was likely something that happened at the last moment, perhaps when someone was being carried out to a vehicle. Breaking the globe would have made noise and he/they might not have had time to clean it up. And of course, the dog was alive and well and running loose in the house. Since nothing was missing but the women, the motive had to require making at least one or all of them disappear without signs of violence. She had something he/they wanted, or knew something, or stood in the way of something. And maybe the killer(s) needed a window of time before the bodies would be discovered for some reason--to fabricate alibis and/or to make sure that the bodies would never be found.

    If drugs were involved, there would have to be a whole lot of money in it for a group to risk abducting three people from a nice residential neighborhood in a town, transporting them somewhere, murdering them and disposing of them without being seen--in a small town that would certainly get turned upside down when these 3 were found to be missing. The drug dealers I read about in the paper just shoot each other and leave the bodies behind. The crack epidemic started around 1985 and was in full swing into the early 90s. Now, crackheads would be cognitively and rationally and emotionally impaired enought to cook up a stupid plan and then fail to abort the mission when something unexpected happened. But it is hard for me to see Sherrill or Suzie involved in crack.

    Questions: Was the door locked? Was there an outside key? Did she own the house or rent it? Who were the last occupants? Where were Sherrill and Suzie’s male relatives? Why wasn't Bartt at the graduation? Who were the two suspects seen being polygraphed? Who were the “key suspects” cleared by the police chief? How were they cleared? And why did the investigators think they had a motive to abduct or kill these women? And if the motive was money, where would it have come from, since clearly Sherrill’s ex wasn’t a Donald Trump type and she was a hair stylist who had just moved to a smaller house to economize?

    Forgive the long post. As a newbie to this case, I hope I am not just rehashing old ground. On some threads, I see complaints about that. But I am starting to agree with Missouri Mule that the facts needed to clear this thing are already there.

    And liz, thanks so much for posting all the links to the News-Leader articles. I had to go back and forth so much I finally bookmarked them. Thanks too for the info on the family having to close Sherrill's estate. Did she, in fact, own the home?
    Impressive post. You'd make a good investigator yourself. That's what I did for 30 years (but not in law enforcement) and was there in Springfield shortly after the abduction. To answer some questions you pose...

    1) She had purchased the home some two months prior to the abduction for about $40,000 as I recall. It is a modest home just off a main thoroughfair.

    2) The call came from Florida (I am almost certain) as I watched the AMW program myself. I can probably find something concrete on that subject but believe it in fact did come from Florida. But it was "cut" off. (Sure, and I have some swampland in Louisiana that I want to sell.)

    3) Suzie did not have a key to the side door. It was the assumption that Sherill was concerned about that door being carelessly unlocked and Suzie's keyring did not have that key attached.

    4) Stacy left her shorts on the bed. (it was warm in June) She left the home in her underwear either voluntarily or forced. She was not packed for an overnight stay as she originally had intended to be in Battlefield, a suburb of Springfield but the cops were called when the party got rowdy.

    5) A large sum of money was left behind in Sherill's purse indicating that the motive was not money. However, if a larger sum was intended to be taken, it might follow that the money was left behind deliberately or it simply was overlooked.

    6) Some photographs were taken. The frames were empty.

    7) The cars were moved in the driveway, evidently to make room for the alleged van.

    8) Suspects were allegedly ruled out through polygraph tests, yet polygraph tests are not infallible. They also are not admissable in court trials.

    9) Bartt was in the "48 hours" piece. He would be 42 years old now. His claim was that "it wouldn't have made any sense" for him to be involved. He did come across as convincing and I viewed the tape many times for new clues. This is what really got me going as I was out of town during the time of the abductions and only really learned how it gripped Springfield after I returned. There were perhaps 40-50 articles appearing in the Springfield News-Leader, and yearly or less often follow-ups.

    10) Read the following link and the comments. Read on down. You'll be interested. Try to forget some of the other stuff. Concentrate on the "guest book" section.

    http://www.airalex.com/MISSING~ns4.html

    11) Great post. You missed your calling. May I call you "Madam Colombo?"

    12) P.S. It is my considered opinion that drugs were not the motivating factor here.

    13) And would you believe that I saw such a model van and that's quite a story unto itself?
    Last edited by Missouri Mule; 01-05-2007 at 11:46 AM.

  3. #128
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    Ok, from the guest book it appears that the rumor was that Bartt was expelled from the home for his drug use. Bartt has two posts expressing his grief and denouncing the website but doesn’t confirm, deny or convey any theories. Bartt does list his email address and invites correspondence………perhaps should be invited to join this discussion?

    Maybe a prank but another guest book entry is someone claiming to have witnessed the crime.

    The RC victim family member is from Florida as was the disconnected call……?

    Wondering about the ex husband/ step father because he would seem to have financial motive…..

    IMO the perp would not have to be some one known to the girls if he/she had a gun. D. Radar’s victims cooperated because he assured them they would be ok if they did. Now we know to fight the perp before being abducted and the odds for survival plummet.

    Questions:

    *How is it known that the cars in the driveway had been moved?

    *Whose pictures were in the empty frames? It must be known that they contained pictures or it could be assumed they were empty to start with.

    Thank you in advance for reading and replying.

  4. #129
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    This is all very interesting. Missourri Mule, what do you believe the motive was? Do you know more but can't say? I am confused.

    thanks

  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by laini
    This is all very interesting. Missourri Mule, what do you believe the motive was? Do you know more but can't say? I am confused.

    thanks
    Yes. Some of which I know from personal knowledge but also what I have been told by credible sources. And I hate to be coy about it but I cannot say more. I really can't. With any luck the truth will eventually be known and the pieces will all fit together nicely. But that is by no means a certainty unless the case is solved. And that's anyone's guess. You cannot imagine how frustrating this has been for everyone; most especially the families.

    My belief of the motive: Remember Watergate's admonition. Follow the money.

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jade
    Ok, from the guest book it appears that the rumor was that Bartt was expelled from the home for his drug use. Bartt has two posts expressing his grief and denouncing the website but doesn’t confirm, deny or convey any theories. Bartt does list his email address and invites correspondence………perhaps should be invited to join this discussion?

    Maybe a prank but another guest book entry is someone claiming to have witnessed the crime.

    The RC victim family member is from Florida as was the disconnected call……?

    Wondering about the ex husband/ step father because he would seem to have financial motive…..

    IMO the perp would not have to be some one known to the girls if he/she had a gun. D. Radar’s victims cooperated because he assured them they would be ok if they did. Now we know to fight the perp before being abducted and the odds for survival plummet.

    Questions:

    *How is it known that the cars in the driveway had been moved?

    *Whose pictures were in the empty frames? It must be known that they contained pictures or it could be assumed they were empty to start with.

    Thank you in advance for reading and replying.
    I don't believe it was a prank and I don't believe anyone ought to be invited to join the discussion here unless it is of their own free will. Anyone with internet access should have been able to find this site as I did myself. I just had long ago given up on the case for numerous reasons, which I won't go into here.

    I don't believe the ex-husband had anything to do with the crime. I worked child support for over 20 years and can't recall anything remotely similar to this case. People continually got at one another's throats (figuratively speaking) but not to this extent. And I have seen it all. In this case I was strictly an outsider like everyone else.

    No one knows what was in those frames. That was in the "48 hour" piece (if I recall correctly) and suggested that they were taken for unspecified reasons. One might extrapolate that the perpetrator(s) might have appeared in one or more of the photographs. Or as you say, they could have been empty frames all along although it would be unusual to hang empty frames on a wall. Nonetheless that possibility cannot be ruled out in that she had only moved in two months prior to the abductions. It is conceivable that she had not yet finished unpacking all of her personal effects.

    Please remember that I'm working off my memory of 14 years ago. (I used to have extensive written documents but they are no longer available.)

    I believe the fact that the cars were removed came from the remembrances of nearby neighbors who saw the cars in one position during the night but the next day they had been moved to different locations and pointed in different directions. (The driveway was a small semi-circle.) What that would mean, so far as I can determine, was that they would have been moved to allow the entry of the van (if indeed it was a van) to permit the perpetrators to move the women to the back of the van largely out of sight of the public. That would be my conclusion.

    The globe over the entry light was broken and a lot of publicity was made of that. Perhaps it was thought that someone might have broken it and cut their hand and there would be DNA available. But the broken pieces should have been in the trash with the DNA. Perhaps it had something to do with the angle of the glass breakage. As a further fyi, DNA is 100% reliable, except for identical twins. Fingerprints and handwriting especially are not.

  7. #132
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    Thank you M. Mule for your reply.

    “Follow the money” hmmm apparently Sherrill made good money at the salon….

    I sure hope someone followed up on the poster claiming to have witnessed the crime.

    You are right about Bartt being able to find us on his own. I have come here since the Laci case and it seems like a little family so I forget how attainable the site is.

    It may be a red herring but I find the empty picture frames fascinating.

    http://unsolvedblog.com/archives/25
    A crime blog suggests that the light fixture was broken so Sherrill or who ever came to the door could not see who was there. A poster on the site says the rumor was a family member did it. Another poster tells a chilling tale of an attempted abduction by two men in a van a few weeks after.

    Wish I had seen the “48 Hours”. Maybe I can find a transcript.

  8. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jade
    Thank you M. Mule for your reply.

    “Follow the money” hmmm apparently Sherrill made good money at the salon….

    I sure hope someone followed up on the poster claiming to have witnessed the crime.

    You are right about Bartt being able to find us on his own. I have come here since the Laci case and it seems like a little family so I forget how attainable the site is.

    It may be a red herring but I find the empty picture frames fascinating.

    http://unsolvedblog.com/archives/25
    A crime blog suggests that the light fixture was broken so Sherrill or who ever came to the door could not see who was there. A poster on the site says the rumor was a family member did it. Another poster tells a chilling tale of an attempted abduction by two men in a van a few weeks after.

    Wish I had seen the “48 Hours”. Maybe I can find a transcript.
    If I still had my copy of the "48 hours" tape I would send it to you. Unfortunately I packed up about four pounds of material including the tape and shipped it off to a nationally syndicated columnist a number of years ago as her own housekeeper had suddenly dissappeared and never to be found. I never heard anything further. I also had all of the newspaper clippings. I had simply burnt out on the case. I would at one time have given my right arm to have investigated the case. I would have worked for free.

    If you can find the "48 hour" piece, you will be addicted to this case. It will break your heart in two. I was actually away on vacation when it happened but when I returned that's all anyone wanted to talk about. And then the "48 hour" piece came along and I went over the edge so to speak thinking about it. It completely consumed me. And then the frustration piled upon frustration nearly caused me to have a heart attack. I won't go into that further but I have an obsessive/compulsive personality and when I get a bone caught in my throat I tend to "go overboard" as my late mother used to tell me.

    I can't tell you all that I know. I wish I could, but I can't but I can say this. I wondered at that time how much money a very successful hairstylist could actually make. Evidently it is/was quite a bit.

    In the "48 hour" piece, the rolodex shown on camera was said to be "400" names of steady customers. Later reports put it at 250 customers. Whatever, that is a healthy clientele. It so happened that one of the secretaries where I worked used to do this type work in Cabool, Missouri, a less populated town out Highway 60 and probably less lucrative than Springfield would be. She told me that she could easily pull down $600 week where she used to work. Factoring in inflation we are probably looking at $800 in "real" terms today. That's not too shabby for a low cost area like Springfield, Missouri. It is not unreasonable that she may have cleared well over $1000 (or more) a week in 1992. She lived in a very modest $40,000 house that would have had low mortgage payments. She evidently did not live lavishly from outward appearances. Now I don't know if her income was checked with the IRS or with the local banks, BUT.... if I were investigating the case I would be accounting for her income and where it went to. She surely didn't spend it all on cigarettes. Now if that wasn't done, then it wasn't much of an investigation, was it?

    BTW, that other site you posted is interesting. Every little tidbit can be helpful. I'm glad that other people feel so strongly about this case. It needs to be solved before all the principles die and evidence is forever lost.

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    {And liz, thanks so much for posting all the links to the News-Leader articles. I had to go back and forth so much I finally bookmarked them. Thanks too for the info on the family having to close Sherrill's estate. Did she, in fact, own the home?}

    pittsburghgirl, you're welcome...I have been interested in this case for about the past 3 years now. I usually check once every 1 or 2 weeks for new info but Missouri Mule has got me thinking about it all the time now!

    Regarding the motive: If it wasn't drugs and it wasn't money it seems that it almost had to be something personal possibly regarding a family member. I'm almost positive that they knew their abductor (s) too. The entry in the guestbook at airalex.com regarding Bartt being thrown out of the house for drug use was the first I had heard that. The only thing I remember reading about him in the News-Leader articles was that he had been ruled out as a suspect. And I didn't even know he was in the Springfield area because in the article on Charley Project it says that Sherrill and Suzanne came to Springfield from Seattle in 1980. I just assumed Bartt, who would have been about 16 then, stayed with his father. Of course, that was 12 years before the disappearance and he certainly could have moved to Springfield since then but I just didn't fit him into the picture until I started reading the guestbook at the airalex website. And also, it said in many of the articles that Sherrill and Suzanne lived at the residence alone. But I also wondered if he was at Suzanne's graduation. And speaking of the guestbook, I don't know what to make of the entries by "Thomas" who says he witnessed the murders.

    I did not suspect either of Sherrill's ex-husbands. Even though it said her second husband, Don Levitt wanted her to pay his bills, it also said in the Charley Project article that she hired an attorney to try to locate him but he couldn't be found anywhere. It sounded like he was too lazy to have been involved.

    I wish I had seen the 48 Hours program too. 48 Hours needs to go Springfield to do sort of an update and reshow the episode as a 15 year anniversary broadcast. With that anniversary looming, there needs to be more media attention about this case again to get it heated up.

    Missouri Mule, you have made some excellent points as well and, although I don't know near as much about this as you do, things are starting to make a little more sense in my mind.

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule
    Yes. Some of which I know from personal knowledge but also what I have been told by credible sources. And I hate to be coy about it but I cannot say more. I really can't. With any luck the truth will eventually be known and the pieces will all fit together nicely. But that is by no means a certainty unless the case is solved. And that's anyone's guess. You cannot imagine how frustrating this has been for everyone; most especially the families.

    My belief of the motive: Remember Watergate's admonition. Follow the money.
    Thanks for replying MMule. I am happy this case is so active here on websleuths right now. Lots of great posts by you and others. Hopefully this will be solved someday.

    (follow the money. do you mean, not who commited the crime but who PAID them to commit the crime?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by liz325
    {And liz, thanks so much for posting all the links to the News-Leader articles. I had to go back and forth so much I finally bookmarked them. Thanks too for the info on the family having to close Sherrill's estate. Did she, in fact, own the home?}

    pittsburghgirl, you're welcome...I have been interested in this case for about the past 3 years now. I usually check once every 1 or 2 weeks for new info but Missouri Mule has got me thinking about it all the time now!

    Regarding the motive: If it wasn't drugs and it wasn't money it seems that it almost had to be something personal possibly regarding a family member. I'm almost positive that they knew their abductor (s) too. The entry in the guestbook at airalex.com regarding Bartt being thrown out of the house for drug use was the first I had heard that. The only thing I remember reading about him in the News-Leader articles was that he had been ruled out as a suspect. And I didn't even know he was in the Springfield area because in the article on Charley Project it says that Sherrill and Suzanne came to Springfield from Seattle in 1980. I just assumed Bartt, who would have been about 16 then, stayed with his father. Of course, that was 12 years before the disappearance and he certainly could have moved to Springfield since then but I just didn't fit him into the picture until I started reading the guestbook at the airalex website. And also, it said in many of the articles that Sherrill and Suzanne lived at the residence alone. But I also wondered if he was at Suzanne's graduation. And speaking of the guestbook, I don't know what to make of the entries by "Thomas" who says he witnessed the murders.

    I did not suspect either of Sherrill's ex-husbands. Even though it said her second husband, Don Levitt wanted her to pay his bills, it also said in the Charley Project article that she hired an attorney to try to locate him but he couldn't be found anywhere. It sounded like he was too lazy to have been involved.

    I wish I had seen the 48 Hours program too. 48 Hours needs to go Springfield to do sort of an update and reshow the episode as a 15 year anniversary broadcast. With that anniversary looming, there needs to be more media attention about this case again to get it heated up.

    Missouri Mule, you have made some excellent points as well and, although I don't know near as much about this as you do, things are starting to make a little more sense in my mind.
    Unless I am greatly mistaken about the links, this is only a small smattering of the total number of news articles that dominated the newspaper and television news of that year. I would estimate there were perhaps 50-60 in all. A person wishing to read them all will probably have to go to the reference room of the Springfield library. The reference room is in the lower level and the articles will probably be on microfiche. If someone here is nearby the library perhaps he or she might wish to review the articles and report back to the folks here. I'm too far away to go or I would go myself to rereview the material. I wish I had retained the articles but as I said, I passed them along years ago along with the tape. I supposed I might contact the columnist and see whether she still has the items. That just now occurred to me. We've communicated via e-mail several times. I might do that. But meanwhile anyone else could read the newspaper articles at the library. It is quite extensive. Note: I just sent the columnist an e-mail and will advise if she responds affirmatively.

    I had reread those entries from "Thomas." The irony is that he may very well be correct although I doubt seriously he actually saw the crime although one can't say anything for certain. There is no way to contact him so he may be just a crank.

    I'll just throw something else into this mix just to flesh this case out a little more. It almost certainly means very little but in the early part of the case there were certain individuals who had made threats on Suzie as she evidently witnessed or knew of their involvement in grave robbing to steal the gold fillings out of deceased teeth. The amount gained was insignificant although quite ghoulish. Seems they got off with a light sentence but it was pretty well conclusive they played no part in the crime. They did not appear to be the sharpest knives in the drawer. That part of the story was in the first part of the "48 hour" piece.

    Another sideline was an individual from Joplin who supposedly was suspected of some kind of connection. All kinds of people were being passed along to the police as "suspects" of one kind or another. He was an older man (a pawn shop operative I think) and was shown passing a lie detector test.

    When Thomas Mountjoy, the then prosecuting attorney saw that and other things on the "48 hours" piece he instructed the police department they were jeopardizing the possible indictment and conviction of any suspects. It was probably about that time that a lid was put on the case and little new information leaked out. Everything seemed to revolve around the van, or so it seemed. Mountjoy, who I had fairly high regard, is today a circuit court judge in Greene County. The case has gone to a grand jury on some occasions but not enough information was developed to bring any indictments. It almost appeared that there never was any substance to these proceedings. None of them came to anything.

    In the "48 hours" piece, the music accompanying the program was haunting and it showed the graduation of the young women. Someone had taped it and their best friend was interviewed as was Stacy's parents and her grandmother. In this respect it was as much a human interest story as full of factual information. However, the effect was to tug at anyone's heart strings. One simply could not believe that somehow this crime could not be solved. We would not have thought that 14 years later the same questions would be asked. And so it goes.

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by laini
    Thanks for replying MMule. I am happy this case is so active here on websleuths right now. Lots of great posts by you and others. Hopefully this will be solved someday.

    (follow the money. do you mean, not who commited the crime but who PAID them to commit the crime?)
    Wow! You are getting into an area that I'm going to have be weasel worded. Let's just say there could be both a direct and indirect motive involving money. You'll just have to interpret that as best you can. You might say that I am under a sort of "gag" order in a manner of speaking. On the other hand, it might amount to nothing at all but I did give my word.

    Let me just say this. I do not believe the crime was random. I do not believe it was drug related whatsoever. But I do believe that money was the primary motive. And I have felt that way for a very long time.

    Let me add one other thing. Today (actually late last night) I took a constructive action that I that I had long considered. The passage of time may in fact work to some advantage in that the emotion and hoopla surrounding this case has long abated. Whether it will come to anything is not yet known but it might. It may have no relevance to the case but on the other hand it might be the key.

    I want nothing except that this case be solved. I have no monetary interest whatsoever. But it is time to get it solved while the principles are still alive and the case has a reasonable chance at a solution. Otherwise this will go into the black hole of the Judge Crater category. We actually know more about the "Black Dahlia" and "Jack the Ripper" perpetrators than we do about the perps who did this awful crime. And that's a crime in and of itself.

    One final note: Robert Keyes was the original News-Leader reporter on this story. He preceded Laura Bauer and wrote many, many articles about this crime prior to her taking over. I believe he may currently reside in Springfield. And there used to be the "Cracker Barrel" radio program on KTTS radio every Saturday morning at 9 AM. This case consumed most of that program for weeks, if not months thereafter. Dan Shelley was the excellent moderator of this program. He moved on and I believed is now with WCBS in NYC. I also talked at length with him while he was in Springfield. I wonder if he remembers the case. I'll bet he does. Anyone live in NYC?
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Update: I have received a reply via e-mail from the columnist. She may be able to get the tape and other materials back to me. She has a deadline on a book she is publishing so has been tied up. I also suggested that she touch bases with Dan Shelley out of NYC when she is up that way. There is a good chance I'll be able to recover the tape and other documents. Here is some more information on Shelley. He spent a lot of time on this case.

    http://wcbstv.com/press/local_story_187174356.html
    Last edited by Missouri Mule; 01-06-2007 at 12:09 PM.

  13. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule
    Wow! You are getting into an area that I'm going to have be weasel worded. Let's just say there could be both a direct and indirect motive involving money. You'll just have to interpret that as best you can.
    I was tempted to reproduce your whole thought-provoking post, but in doing so, your challenge above will be lost. Thanks, first, for the nice compliment above as to my potential as an investigator. I did a 7 year tour as a welfare caseworker, mostly in intake which involved extensive interviewing and the need to ferret out things people want to keep secret--like money and its sources. However unpractical a Ph.D. in English might seem, it can produce a trained professional reader and interpreter. (As my husband notably said on our first official date, "If I need an interpreter, I'll let you know.") So let me take a shot at interpretation here.

    "There could be both a direct and an indirect motive involving money." A direct motive might be: commit this crime and you get money now. Since ordinary robbery was not the motive (unless these were the stupidest robbers of all time), then either something was taken that no one knew about outside the family and/or this was murder for hire.

    Let's think about Sherrill, a hairdresser. In my college days as a waitress, I always had cash and usually never put much in the bank. Sherrill would get a check of some kind from the salon for her cut of what her customers brought in. That check might logically go straight to the bank to cover her bills. The cash would go in her purse, and then into wherever she kept cash in the house. It might be that she had quite a bit of it in the house, not in her purse but just stashed in a shoebox or something. If tip money in 1992 went into the bank, a nice chunk of it would have to go to the IRS as well. Today the rules are a lot tighter on tips. That might give us two direct motives involving money: Someone knew Sherrill had a nice stash of cash and could as a result afford to pay accomplices in either cash or drugs. The killers (hired and otherwise) could afford to leave the cash in the purses to make it NOT look like a robbery. Leaving the cash in the purses (so conveniently displayed on the stairs) points to sex crime, serial killer, or "totally inexplicable disappearance."

    An indirect motive might be insurance, the liquidation of the estate, etc. It would be interesting to know if she owned the larger house she lived in. If she did, had that house been sold? If so, did she roll all of the profit into the new house? Or did it go into what we would think now of as her estate--bank accounts, bonds, an IRA?

    Or you might mean that this crime involves a debt of some kind that was not repaid--either Sherrill owed money or someone owed her money. Maybe someone had already stolen a large amount of money and was under pressure to return it.

    Thinking along these lines suggests some possibilities for why the killings didn't happen in the house--murder sort of messes up the resale prospects and also offers way too much opportunity to leave evidence. If the killer had been in the home before, there would be no reason to worry about fingerprints or other signs of his presence. But shooting, stabbing, strangulation is a bigger risk for someone who DID have reason to be in the house and would be leaving traces that were NOT explainable. For that same reason, "disappearing" the bodies would be necessary. The killer was too close to the crime and couldn't afford to leave the "best evidence" in any killing, the body. Perhaps more signficant, someone who KNEW these women and had cared about them might find it impossible to make this look like a serial killing or sex crime in any other way. And if this isn't a sex crime or a serial murder, sooner or later the money will be the focus.

    It might be possible for such a person to give hired killers access, get whatever property he wanted from the home (money, pictures), make sure the women were loaded in the van, and then watch it drive away. He could get the pictures and shut the dog inside. No need to lock the door--he wants people to go in the house, find the purses, start looking for women who might well still be alive. The pictures might be a way of remembering the victims as they were before the murder.

    He might never have seen the final deeds, whatever they were. Either a drug user or sex offender might be a good choice of accomplice.

    Missouri Mule, if you get your materials back, please send me a copy of the 48 Hours video, too. It drives me crazy that I haven't seen it. I might not be able to get to it until Tuesday, but I will ask our college librarian to see if we can get these docs from interlibrary loan, much easier than trekking to Springfield. Librarians are the greatest.

    And Jade: Bartt is living in Florida. See MM's earlier post to me about googling those involved in the case.

  14. #139

    48 Hours Springfield Video...

    The 48 Hours video aired on August 13th, 1997 and it is available at:

    http://store.cbs.com/item.php?id=4416&sid=580

  15. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl
    I was tempted to reproduce your whole thought-provoking post, but in doing so, your challenge above will be lost. Thanks, first, for the nice compliment above as to my potential as an investigator. I did a 7 year tour as a welfare caseworker, mostly in intake which involved extensive interviewing and the need to ferret out things people want to keep secret--like money and its sources. However unpractical a Ph.D. in English might seem, it can produce a trained professional reader and interpreter. (As my husband notably said on our first official date, "If I need an interpreter, I'll let you know.") So let me take a shot at interpretation here.

    "There could be both a direct and an indirect motive involving money." A direct motive might be: commit this crime and you get money now. Since ordinary robbery was not the motive (unless these were the stupidest robbers of all time), then either something was taken that no one knew about outside the family and/or this was murder for hire.

    Let's think about Sherrill, a hairdresser. In my college days as a waitress, I always had cash and usually never put much in the bank. Sherrill would get a check of some kind from the salon for her cut of what her customers brought in. That check might logically go straight to the bank to cover her bills. The cash would go in her purse, and then into wherever she kept cash in the house. It might be that she had quite a bit of it in the house, not in her purse but just stashed in a shoebox or something. If tip money in 1992 went into the bank, a nice chunk of it would have to go to the IRS as well. Today the rules are a lot tighter on tips. That might give us two direct motives involving money: Someone knew Sherrill had a nice stash of cash and could as a result afford to pay accomplices in either cash or drugs. The killers (hired and otherwise) could afford to leave the cash in the purses to make it NOT look like a robbery. Leaving the cash in the purses (so conveniently displayed on the stairs) points to sex crime, serial killer, or "totally inexplicable disappearance."

    An indirect motive might be insurance, the liquidation of the estate, etc. It would be interesting to know if she owned the larger house she lived in. If she did, had that house been sold? If so, did she roll all of the profit into the new house? Or did it go into what we would think now of as her estate--bank accounts, bonds, an IRA?

    Or you might mean that this crime involves a debt of some kind that was not repaid--either Sherrill owed money or someone owed her money. Maybe someone had already stolen a large amount of money and was under pressure to return it.

    Thinking along these lines suggests some possibilities for why the killings didn't happen in the house--murder sort of messes up the resale prospects and also offers way too much opportunity to leave evidence. If the killer had been in the home before, there would be no reason to worry about fingerprints or other signs of his presence. But shooting, stabbing, strangulation is a bigger risk for someone who DID have reason to be in the house and would be leaving traces that were NOT explainable. For that same reason, "disappearing" the bodies would be necessary. The killer was too close to the crime and couldn't afford to leave the "best evidence" in any killing, the body. Perhaps more signficant, someone who KNEW these women and had cared about them might find it impossible to make this look like a serial killing or sex crime in any other way. And if this isn't a sex crime or a serial murder, sooner or later the money will be the focus.

    It might be possible for such a person to give hired killers access, get whatever property he wanted from the home (money, pictures), make sure the women were loaded in the van, and then watch it drive away. He could get the pictures and shut the dog inside. No need to lock the door--he wants people to go in the house, find the purses, start looking for women who might well still be alive. The pictures might be a way of remembering the victims as they were before the murder.

    He might never have seen the final deeds, whatever they were. Either a drug user or sex offender might be a good choice of accomplice.

    Missouri Mule, if you get your materials back, please send me a copy of the 48 Hours video, too. It drives me crazy that I haven't seen it. I might not be able to get to it until Tuesday, but I will ask our college librarian to see if we can get these docs from interlibrary loan, much easier than trekking to Springfield. Librarians are the greatest.

    And Jade: Bartt is living in Florida. See MM's earlier post to me about googling those involved in the case.
    Oh, you're good! Very good. And so close to my scenario, which unfortunately I cannot post here both because I have given my word and because it might conceivably be defamatory to innocent people.

    It is indeed a small world. Would you believe that I once worked as a welfare caseworker myself but not in intake. That was always reserved for the "cream of the crop" so to speak because you needed to know all the programs. I was just a run of the mill case maintenance worker. I did that for two years and moved on to child support where I found my true calling. I used to love it so until the federal government gunked it up with so much red tape that only a masochist would want to work there anymore. Enough of that.

    I did hear from the columnist today and she is going to attempt to find the material. You would have heard of her, I'm sure. We had several e-mail exchanges and she always replied to my not always positive reviews. If I get the tape back I will let you know. I wonder if I could put it on a DVD. I've never done that before but it might be a good idea regardless as those tapes deteriorate over time.

    1) I think we can safely say this was not an ordinary robbery. As you say they would be among the stupidist robbers known. Sherill Levitt was known to be concerned about security. She did not permit Suzie or she had taken it away from her the key to the side entrance. Suzie only had the front door key. Since there was no forced entry, that goes to the "ruse" theory put forth by the detective on "48 hours." But I think that has one major hole in it. I'm a big guy and I can take care of myself and my Mossberg 12 gauge would have a major deterrant in anyone trying to get into my house. In addition I have a fake doorbell so if anyone comes knocking at my door at night they will think I am not at home. I'm not paranoid but I don't want to be bothered and I sure don't want to invite strangers into the home in the middle of the night. Clearly, whoever got into the home was allowed in voluntarily OR, the reported sighting at "Georges" down the street was true after all and they all went back to the home together or with someone from the restaurant. Yet, it seemed to be a given by the detectives that this reported sighting was not valid. I used to believe it was but I can't say any longer. I tend to doubt it. The more likely scenario is that Sherill was known to be home by herself on that night as her daughter was out on the town and not expected to return. If Sherill was home by herself, and concerned about safety, she must, almost certainly, knew the person(s) she let in. I would suggest that she let this individual or persons into the home and then this person(s) allowed the others to enter later or with him/them. Evidently some period of time went by before the young women arrived, as best we can tell. Then they arrived to a house with her mother and the perpetrators. We can speculate on the timeline because it was reported that the van was seen the next day with Suzie driving. So they must have left near daylight after the vehicles were moved in the driveway and the house wiped down for any evidence that might point to the perpetrators.

    (Note): I have been told by an acquaintance that the traps in the plumbing were filled with clorox apparently thought to conceal whatever was put down the sinks. That might be anything. And I'm not sure of the credibility of my acquaintance. But supposedly he had an "inside" source. So take it with a huge grain of salt.

    2) As to the motive being money as is my scenario, how might anyone know if in fact there were large sums of money on the premises? It makes little sense that someone driving down Glenstone Avenue (the main drag) in the middle of the night would suddenly decide to pick out a small home barely a block off the street to rob the inhabitants. So they must have known there was something there. But how?

    3) The "murder for hire" scenario? A possibility. There is a story floating around that some gangster family on the east coast had someone else in mind to be "whacked" and they got the wrong address. Somehow I doubt that as truly plausible, although the professional manner in the way it was carried out tends to lend credence to that theory. Maybe "Tony Soprano" was just getting his training at that time and screwed up royally. But I don't think so.

    What do I mean by a direct and an indirect motive? Obviously the direct motive was that they were there to get the money if it existed as thought. But on the other hand, the plan was not necessarily the plan of the one(s) who knew of this money. That is to say "A" knows the facts, but is acting on the behest of "B" who has an interest in what goes down that night. "A" was the means to gain entry but "B", "C" or "D" pursued the matter further than "A" ever intended to or was led to believe. On the other hand, "A" might have been the sole perpetrator. But that would have required considerable persuasive power or other means to subdue three grown women.

    I don't know about the other house business. Typically, in Springfield, one sells their home and the proceeds are rolled into the new house. I should know, having bought and sold seven homes during my time there. I would suspect any proceeds (and they may have been small) would have been eaten up in closing costs and/or Sherill just wanted to cash out as much money of the old house. This is an angle I had never thought about until now but again it can't be discounted.

    I bolded your observation about the money in the purse. That's worth pondering. But let's consider a totally ridiculous idea. Suppose the money was not hers but was put there by the perpetrators to add further fuel to the theory that this abduction could not possibly have been for the purposes of robbery. Suppose the women were taken for the purpose of "squeezing" Sherill to reveal her secret "stash" that was outside the home. It could have been in a safe deposit box for example. Perhaps there were other valuables in addition to cash. She surely would have complied in that her daughter was being held hostage out in the van. Hmmmm. Thinking about this a moment opens up another pandora's box. In Missouri, it is suggested that wills be retained in a safe deposit box. Only the original can be probated. I wonder if the police ever ran this possibility to ground. And certainly a person could have their will in more than one bank other than her regular bank where she conducts her affairs. (It has been said that the famous comedian W.C. Fields opened up a bank account in every town he performed in.) Or, it could be that the will was the real reason the perpetrators were there. The problem with this is that the abductions were on a Sunday. The banks would have been closed. But it would not have been impossible to believe that the women were taken to a location in the boondocks and then "persuaded" to give up the information and go to the bank location the next day. No one knows with any degree of certainty when they were later murdered. Since Stacy left the house in her underwear she may have been killed immediately to get across the point that they meant business. After Sherill was squeezed and terrified she may very well have given them all the information she had and cooperated the next day and then murdered or for that matter they could have been held captive for days or weeks and then killed by whoever the ringleader(s) were.

    I think sometimes that too many people believe that because a person appears to be of modest means that they are somehow living from hand to mouth. That isn't always true. As a caseworker I once had to rescue an old man out of his home that was more a hovel than a home and he had $3,000 underneath the beds and scattered throughout the home. To have looked at him one wouldn't have thought he had a dime to his name.

    Anyway, I'll be sure to let you know if I can recover that tape. I want to take another peak although I have viewed it many times. The America Most Wanted piece is also on there but it doesn't really provide much in the way of clues.

  16. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    The 48 Hours video aired on August 13th, 1997 and it is available at:

    http://store.cbs.com/item.php?id=4416&sid=580
    Well, thanks! There you go. Good investment for anyone interested in this case. Best $30 you'll ever spend.

  17. #142
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    Missouri Mule - Just a thought...you don't think drugs were involved at all, even though it was suggested that Bartt was thrown out of the house for drug use. I know we don't know that for sure, someone mentioned it in the guestbook.

    The earliest archives of the News-Leader online are from 1999. Nothing before that so any articles from '92 would have to come from a library I'm afraid. I even checked on Newspaper Archive and Newslibrary as well as the News-Leader site itself. I just wondered where that came from, that entry in the guestbook I mentioned above.

  18. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    The 48 Hours video aired on August 13th, 1997 and it is available at:

    http://store.cbs.com/item.php?id=4416&sid=580
    Ken - Thanks...I'm definitely going to get one!

  19. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by liz325
    Missouri Mule - Just a thought...you don't think drugs were involved at all, even though it was suggested that Bartt was thrown out of the house for drug use. I know we don't know that for sure, someone mentioned it in the guestbook.

    The earliest archives of the News-Leader online are from 1999. Nothing before that so any articles from '92 would have to come from a library I'm afraid. I even checked on Newspaper Archive and Newslibrary as well as the News-Leader site itself. I just wondered where that came from, that entry in the guestbook I mentioned above.
    Are you close to Springfield, then? Do you have any friends or relatives near Springfield? They should have this on microfiche. I once looked up newspapers from way back in the 1940s in St. Louis City. I would think they would also have them there in Springfield as well. When I checked there back in the early days of the case I went there myself as I was missing three or four of the early editions. Fortunately I had a big backlog of newspapers from my two week vacation so I carefully cut out all of those articles and read through all of those but I still had to go to the library to see the ones I couldn't locate. They had the original newspapers but eventually they should put them on microfiche for permanent reference.

    No, I don't think that drugs were the motivating factor. It was widely speculated about but unless I am greatly mistaken, Sherill Levitt never had any history of drugs, drug habits or drug dealing. Suzie might have smoked a little pot (who hasn't) but that wasn't the reason for this crime in my opinion. However, if anyone knows differently, speak or forever hold your peace.

  20. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule
    Are you close to Springfield, then? Do you have any friends or relatives near Springfield? They should have this on microfiche. I once looked up newspapers from way back in the 1940s in St. Louis City. I would think they would also have them there in Springfield as well. When I checked there back in the early days of the case I went there myself as I was missing three or four of the early editions. Fortunately I had a big backlog of newspapers from my two week vacation so I carefully cut out all of those articles and read through all of those but I still had to go to the library to see the ones I couldn't locate. They had the original newspapers but eventually they should put them on microfiche for permanent reference.

    No, I don't think that drugs were the motivating factor. It was widely speculated about but unless I am greatly mistaken, Sherill Levitt never had any history of drugs, drug habits or drug dealing. Suzie might have smoked a little pot (who hasn't) but that wasn't the reason for this crime in my opinion. However, if anyone knows differently, speak or forever hold your peace.
    No, I'm not close to Springfield at all. I wish I was, I love going to libraries and looking up old newspaper archives.

    I only wondered about the drug angle not from a standpoint of Sherrill or Suzie's possible use but maybe from Bartt...i.e. if it were true he was thrown out of the house, if he was angry, knew his mom had a stash of cash, etc. The guestbook entry referring to his possibly being evicted sort of stuck in my mind. But I'm way off base with that I'm sure. Thanks anyway.

  21. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missouri Mule
    But on the other hand, the plan was not necessarily the plan of the one(s) who knew of this money. That is to say "A" knows the facts, but is acting on the behest of "B" who has an interest in what goes down that night. "A" was the means to gain entry but "B", "C" or "D" pursued the matter further than "A" ever intended to or was led to believe. On the other hand, "A" might have been the sole perpetrator. But that would have required considerable persuasive power or other means to subdue three grown women.
    This is what I meant by "murder for hire." "A" knows Sherrill and Suzie and can gain entrance to the house. This person knows there is money there and needs help from "B", "C" or "D" to get to the money. He "hires" them to help. They are supposed to get a cut or a set fee and/or drugs.

    Now, the other possibility is that "B" hears from "A" that Sherrill has money or other property and convinces him that they can confront Sherrill and get it. There, "A" is a follower and "B" is the leader. "B" might have known all along that Sherrill would have to be murdered; maybe "A," as you say, might not have thought things would get that far.

    How do you account for the observation that Suzie and Stacy were getting ready for bed before they disappeared? If events were already in motion when they arrived, would they have have done that?

    ******
    Another thought: You said this about the broken light globe: "The globe over the entry light was broken and a lot of publicity was made of that. Perhaps it was thought that someone might have broken it and cut their hand and there would be DNA available. But the broken pieces should have been in the trash with the DNA. Perhaps it had something to do with the angle of the glass breakage. As a further fyi, DNA is 100% reliable, except for identical twins. Fingerprints and handwriting especially are not."

    In addition to DNA, if the glass had been stepped on--crushed or ground up--it might indicate whether the light was broken before the killers entered or as they were exiting. Dirt or debris from shoes might have gotten mixed in. Once Janelle and her boyfriend walked on the porch and he cleaned up the class, there would be no way to learn anything from the pieces.
    Last edited by pittsburghgirl; 01-07-2007 at 12:33 AM. Reason: another thought

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    The 48 Hours video aired on August 13th, 1997 and it is available at:

    http://store.cbs.com/item.php?id=4416&sid=580
    Thanks, Ken! Now I have one on the way, and others who find the thread can get one, too.

  23. #148
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh (of course)
    Posts
    2,354
    Quote Originally Posted by liz325
    No, I'm not close to Springfield at all. I wish I was, I love going to libraries and looking up old newspaper archives.

    I only wondered about the drug angle not from a standpoint of Sherrill or Suzie's possible use but maybe from Bartt...i.e. if it were true he was thrown out of the house, if he was angry, knew his mom had a stash of cash, etc. The guestbook entry referring to his possibly being evicted sort of stuck in my mind. But I'm way off base with that I'm sure. Thanks anyway.
    Drug use might explain an urgent need for money, either to buy drugs or to settle a debt of some kind to a dealer higher on the food chain.

    The eviction might explain why he wasn't at the graduation, but that still sticks out as very odd.

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,573
    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburghgirl
    This is what I meant by "murder for hire." "A" knows Sherrill and Suzie and can gain entrance to the house. This person knows there is money there and needs help from "B", "C" or "D" to get to the money. He "hires" them to help. They are supposed to get a cut or a set fee and/or drugs.

    Now, the other possibility is that "B" hears from "A" that Sherrill has money or other property and convinces him that they can confront Sherrill and get it. There, "A" is a follower and "B" is the leader. "B" might have known all along that Sherrill would have to be murdered; maybe "A," as you say, might not have thought things would get that far.

    How do you account for the observation that Suzie and Stacy were getting ready for bed before they disappeared? If events were already in motion when they arrived, would they have have done that?

    ******
    Another thought: You said this about the broken light globe: "The globe over the entry light was broken and a lot of publicity was made of that. Perhaps it was thought that someone might have broken it and cut their hand and there would be DNA available. But the broken pieces should have been in the trash with the DNA. Perhaps it had something to do with the angle of the glass breakage. As a further fyi, DNA is 100% reliable, except for identical twins. Fingerprints and handwriting especially are not."

    In addition to DNA, if the glass had been stepped on--crushed or ground up--it might indicate whether the light was broken before the killers entered or as they were exiting. Dirt or debris from shoes might have gotten mixed in. Once Janelle and her boyfriend walked on the porch and he cleaned up the class, there would be no way to learn anything from the pieces.
    What you say about the broken glass and debris may very well be true. I have no information or speculaton on this.

    On your earlier point, there is no particular reason to believe that the room may not have been made to look as though they were getting ready for bed by the intruders instead of the young women. They may have been immediately seized upon entry to the home and Stacy told to take her shorts off. So far as I know it is highly unlikely that any prints or DNA at that time could have been lifted from clothing.

    I think your second scenario is the closest to the truth but suppose that neither "A" nor "B" was the driving force behind the abduction? It could have been "C" or "D" or "E" who may not even have been there. If someone like Cox was there; a former Army Ranger, he could easily have subdued the three women. "A" could have been threatened himself to keep his trap shut or the same thing that happened to the women would befall him.

    Cox is currently cooling his heels until 2025 in the Lovelady, Texas "maximum" facility. He quite likely guilty of greater crimes than he was convicted of. Furthermore he was a Springfield native and was in town the night of the abduction but his story is so convoluted it is impossible to know if he played any part in the abduction. However, it would certainly make all the sense in the world for him to be the primary "muscle" man as well as the one who ultimately directed events that night. "A" is not likely the one to have ramrodded things there. Sherill is unlikely to have been involved in anything to do with "B" until the night of abduction but almost certainly familiar with "A" and could have been coaxed to let him in.

    There is always another alternative scenario and that a person or persons not known to Sherill managed to use a "ruse" (the detective's words) to gain entry. Perhaps dressed as a utility repairman or something like that. I tend not to put much credence in this simply because she was known to be very careful with her security. Another remote possibility is that Suzie was already in custody outside the home and she had Sherill let her in or let herself in the home at which time all three were subdued. This would be the most difficult scenario because nothing may never be known of him or them. They could simply have left town to go on down I44 never to be heard or seen from again.

    And that brings the final possible (and I emphasize possible) clue which would be the so-called "moss green" van and the alleged sighting of Suzie behind the wheel with someone else telling her "Don't do anything stupid." Who owned the van? Where did it come from? The van was a very old vintage van and I once extrapolated that perhaps some 22,000 such vans existed in the entire United States and a considerably lower number existed in the State of Missouri. My first thought would be to find every possible van, at least in the State of Missouri, that fit that make and model and rule them out one by one. Evidently the police thought it important as that van sat on the lawn outside the police headquarters for what seemed to be three or four months.

    Finally, it has often been said by the police department that they only need one good tip to break the case and that (so far as I understand) all leads previously given them have been exhausted. I'm not convinced of that in view of the fact that neither of my two co-workers who were customers of Sherill were ever interviewed by the police as was stated during the "48 hour piece."

    There are two people I would like most to sit down and talk to if I had my druthers. They would be former Lieutenant Webb, now retired, and former KTTS general manager Dan Shelley now with WCBS out of New York. Both, in my opinion are quite knowledgable but are now largely out of the loop. I know where Mr. Shelley can be located. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Mr. Webb?
    Last edited by Missouri Mule; 01-07-2007 at 04:30 PM.

  25. #150
    new person here...

    I just heard of this case last night. It interested me a great deal and so I've been doing major research to try and get as many details as possible.

    -did Sherrill know Suzie and Stacy decided to end up driving back to the Levitt home. Did Suzie call her mom and say they were coming? About what time did Suzie and Stacy leave the party? Did anybody leave with either of the girls? Were they drunk?

    -the server who claimed to have seen the three women in the steakhouse between 1 and 3 in the morning. First off I live in Los Angeles and I don't know any steakhouse that is open at those hours. Was there a bar inside too? Was this really one of Shrerrill's favorite restaurants and she was a regular? Did this employeee notice Sherrill before or did she just see the faces in the news and think back and thought she saw them. Is this woman without a doubt certain she saw the three women? If Suzanne was being loud and rowdy it's possible another employee could back up this woman's claims. If she's credible and certain she saw them this could be important....especially if she had seen Sherrill before in the restaurant since Sherrill was supposedly a regular. I wonder if they checked credit cards receipts just in case. I'm sure they did.

    -Robert Cox. Was he in Springfield, MO at this time or not? There must be some way to find out. There also must be a way to know for sure whether he worked with Stacy McCall's father. It's frustrating not to know these possible crucial details. What was Cox in prison for and how long? From the comments he gave to authorities (that I read about) he sounded like he was just dicking the police around. Somebody needs to get a hold of Mr McCall and find out if Cox worked with him or not. They also need to find out where he was in spring/summer of 1992.

    -The house. okay I read the women's purses were lined up on stairs. it was a one-story home, yes? What stairs are they talking about? Were there pictures taken out of frames? Somebody who visited the house frequently should've been able to say if there were pictures in there or not and possibly who the photographs were of. Were the frames hanging up or on the ground. Broken? The television was on too I read. Which television, living room or one of the bedrooms? Did the dog normally stay outside at night or inside?

    -Were all the beds unmade, looked as if they had been slept in or just Sherrill's? Were either Stacy's or Suzanne's clothes lying around? I read from Missouri's post her pants were found in the home. Is it possible the two girls were in the home already before the kidnappers got there? If not then why were the beds unmade? It makes sense with the book and the glasses that Sherrill may have been interrupted but I don't see why the beds were not made. If the kidnappers tried to shake the house up a little bit I suspect they would've taken the purses, jewelry, etc to make it look like a robbery. All they took was pictures evidently and placed the purses together on the stairs. The blinds being pulled apart in Suzanne's room would suggest she was in bed, in her room, and heard something. I just don't see the kidnappers purposely pulling the blinds apart. If they were gonna do something like that I think they would've made it look like a home robbery. If the girls got home earlier then you'd have to rethink everything. If the time is right then it's likely they surprised the kidnappers by showing up.

    -this alleged green van. first off were both cars parked in the driveway? I believe they were....one of the above posts mentions how the cars were moved from where they were parked. How would anyone know this without being there? How do we know where Suzie and Stacy parked their cars when they got home in the middle of the night? And this whole green van incident. Okay if some woman saw a girl who looks like Suzie driving the green van, how could she also hear an unseen man say "Don't do anything stupid." How could she hear that while driving next to the green van or on the opposite side of the street? Was the van parked when this allegedly occurred? And this guy who says he saw a green van that looked suspicious. What made it look so suspicious? I mean he supposedly wrote down the license plate # so must have been really shady to him. But then why toss the paper with the license plate? What was so shady about the van in the parking lot of a grocery store?

    -this caller to america's most wanted hotline after the program featured the three missing women case. how do the police know that he may have had vital information? What made them come to that conclusion?

    baffling mystery, I've enjoyed reading the posts on this thread.
    Last edited by chicoliving; 01-07-2007 at 03:25 AM. Reason: personal attack; don't single out a poster

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