SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As KOLR10 continues its look back into the disapearance of Springfield’s three missing women, we’re left asking – who else is struggling to come to terms with the event 25 years later?
A reporter sought to find those in the Ozarks who have yet to call the event one of the past, those who take some part of the 25 year old case with them every day, or in other words, those who refuse to forget.
The faces of Sherill Levitt, her daughter Suzie Streeter and streeter’s high school friend Stacy Mccall have been preserved in photographs and videos for the past 25 years.
Whether it’s through a blog dedicated to their return, or an article in a magazine recounting their disapearance – like this one, recently published by Kickapoo High School Streeter and McCall’s alma mater.
It’s clear, these photographs are still penetrating the community’s memory.
Another spot those faces can be found today is at Coyote Adobe’s Bar and Cafe in Springfield.
“Years and years and years,” David Bauer, Coyote Adobe’s owner, said. “It’s hung right there in that spot for 25 years.”
Bauer knows the poster hanging in his front window has seen better days.
“We got it laminated,” Bauer said. “It’s an ugly piece of paper but it’s an ugly deal.”
But, taking it down would mean breaking a promise.
“It was maybe the second day after it happened,” Bauer said.
He made a call a quarter century ago to Stacy McCall’s mom, Janis.
“Janis came by and she dropped off a flyer and she asked me if I’d hang it in the window. And I said ‘I’ll leave it up until they come back,'” Bauer said.
As it turns out, Bauer isn’t alone. There are still so many people across the state perplexed by this case. As for why, one former prosecutor says it’s hard not to fixate on a problem with such a frustrating lack of answers.
“With no idea of who did it, how it was done, or where they were taken, I mean, it’s totally an exceptional event,” Darrell Moore, former prosecutor, said.
At the time of the women’s disappearance, Moore was a chief assistant prosecutor in Greene County.
“Since then it’s disturbed, and rightly disturbed people for the last quarter century,” Moore said.
These days, he travels the state as a special prosecutor, finding one commonality in every place he goes.
“When I go to other counties, judges, lawyers, defense lawyers, prosecutors or even people still ask me, what’s the inside scoop and I have to tell them ‘I don’t have any kind of scoop,” Moore said.
While sheer curosity and shock play a role here, Moore says another factor is certainly fear.
“I think in the back of a lot of people’s minds is ‘could it happen to me?’. The randomness of it. I think it scared people then and it scares people today,” Moore said.
It’s not just the fear related to what happened.
“Even 25 years later, it’s hard. And I don’t even know them,” Bauer said.
But also the fear of what could happen.
“I wouldn’t get rid of it. If it saved one girl, coming in here, seeing that picture and thinking ‘I better be safe tonight,” Bauer said.
And, maybe worst of all, fear that we’ll never see more of these women than just their photographs.
“Hopefully it’ll be gone,” Bauer said.
Now you heard there, the bar owner mentioned his contact with Janis Mccall, Stacy’s mom. Coming up tomorrow, we’ll hear more from Janis Mccall about how she has done her best to heal over the past 25 years.