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The Springfield Three: What we know about cold case 29 years later

(KY3)
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 12:00 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Monday marks 29 years since the disappearance of three women from Springfield, a cold case known as “The Springfield Three.”

On June 7, 1992, Suzie Streeter, 19, her mother, Sherill Levitt, 47, and her friend, Stacy McCall, 18, vanished without a trace from a home in central Springfield.

A day that changed so many lives started with a celebration the day before: High school graduation day for Stacy and Suzie.

Police say the two friends went to Suzie’s house after attending a few graduation parties. To date, that remains the last time anyone reports seeing Sherill, Suzie and Stacy.

“I expected her home that night, the next day, maybe a couple of days afterward,” said Janis McCall, Stacy’s mother, in a 2017 interview with KY3. “Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that it would be 25 years later and I would be saying Stacy still missing.”

Nearly three decades and thousands of leads later, authorities are still looking for the victims in “The Springfield Three” cold case:

  • Sherrill Elizabeth Levitt: The mother of Suzie and a cosmetologist. She was described as 5 feet tall and 110 pounds with short light blonde hair and brown eyes. (Born: November 1, 1944)
  • Suzanne “Suzie” Elizabeth Streeter: The daughter of Sherrill. She was described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 102 pounds with shoulder length blonde hair and brown eyes. (Born: March 9, 1973)
  • Stacy Kathleen McCall: A close friend to Suzie. She was described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall and 120 pounds with long dark blonde hair and light colored eyes. (Born: April 23, 1974)

Police believe, after the teens attended a few graduation parties, they ended up at Sherill’s home at 1717 E Delmar St. On the day they were reported missing, the front door of the house was left open. A family dog was left behind, in addition to money, clothing, cars, keys and other personal items. Yet, police say there were no apparent signs of a struggle.

Hours turned to days, and days turned to weeks as the search grew longer. Friends, neighbors and even strangers turned out to help police search rural and suburban areas all around Springfield, including extensive search efforts in Lake Springfield, Forsyth, Joplin and Stockton.

Others passed out flyers and hung up posters around the Springfield community to aid in the search just days after the three women disappeared. The images of Sherill, Suzie and Stacy, frozen from 1992, still hang in a few storefronts.

KY3 has kept in contact with family members and close friends throughout the years to reflect on the search efforts and memories from when the trio went missing:

With assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and numerous other law enforcement agencies, the Springfield Police Department says authorities have conducted an extensive investigation into the lives of the missing women. But there have been no positive leads concerning the reason for their disappearance or their location.

In 1993, investigators searched 40 acres in Webster County that had been searched in a previous missing persons case. A search warrant confirms that they were looking for the three missing women.

In 1996, KY3 investigative reporter Dennis Graves traveled to a Texas prison to interview Robert Craig Cox.

Cox, once convicted of murdering a woman in Florida, had been in Springfield at the time of the disappearance and had been questioned by police. Cox claimed he was home alone in bed that night. Graves extensively interviewed Cox hoping for a clue.

The interview included the following exchange between Graves and Cox:

Cox: “I know that they are dead. I’ll say that. And I know that.”

Graves: “That’s not a theory?”

Cox: “I just know that they are dead. That’s not my theory. I just know that. There’s no doubt about that.”

Cox refused to talk anymore. Graves’ interview was subpoenaed by authorities and presented before a grand jury called on the case in 1996. That grand jury never handed down any charges.

In 2002, investigators went to a concrete company, also in Webster County, after two women told police there were men there who drove a green van, which appeared to look like one wanted by authorities in the cold case. Cadaver dogs were brought in to hit on three spots, and bones were recovered. But after testing, it turned out to be far too old to belong to the women.

In April 2003, tips lead investigators to farmland south of Cassville. Using backhoes, they dug huge holes, but only managed to find two pieces of possible evidence: possible blood and the section of a green vehicle, perhaps like green van witnesses say they saw back in 1992.

Investigators sent the blood evidence to a specialized lab, but after extensive testing results were inconclusive.

In 2007, after speculation that the women were buried under a Cox South Hospital parking garage, a local writer hired a consulting engineer who used a ground-penetrating radar to scan the garage. The man running it said his machine picked up three distinct objects.

Springfield police looked into the theory, but found it was not credible. They never requested that the parking garage concrete be destroyed to search under it.

In February 2019, Bartt Streeter, the son of Sherrill Levitt and brother of Suzie Streeter, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, disorderly conduct and attempted false imprisonment from an unrelated incident in Tennessee. Bartt was once investigated over the cold case years ago, but eventually eliminated as a suspect.

Very few new leads have emerged in recent years, but the push for information continues.

Last year, former Springfield Business Journal reporter Brian Brown and his father, Alan Brown published a book inspired by the cold case. Titled “Gone in the Night: The Story of the Springfield Three,” the book explores details of the case through a fiction.

More recently, a New York journalist and Springfield native, Anne Roderique-Jones, launched a podcast surrounding the disappearance of “The Springfield Three.” The podcast, titled “The Springfield Three: A Small-Town Disappearance,” debuted May 25 and will feature at least eight episodes.

KY3 has reported on the latest developments over the years, including several features from 2012 and 2017, the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the three’s disappearance:

People in Springfield still wonder where the missing women could be, while the question of what happened to them remains a mystery.

“They were wonderful people, fun people, just normal people,” said " Stephanie Appleby, a friend of Stacy and Suzie, in 2017. “We all carry them with us in our hearts and pray that, still pray, that they come home and that we get some sort of closure.”

Janis McCall, though, vows never to give up believing her daughter could still come home.

“Until I know a hundred percent that Stacy is deceased, I will never declare her dead,” she said. “They’re going to have to find some remains somewhere before I call her legally dead. It’s not for any reason other than if I do and she’s not dead, think of how mad she’d be when she gets back.”

The case of the Three Missing Women is still listed on the Springfield Police Department website under “cold cases.” Investigators are still asking anyone with any information about what happened that night 29 years ago to give them a call.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

June 4, 2017:

25 Years of Questions: The mystery of Springfield’s 3 missing women

June 7, 2017:

Mother talks about 25 years with no answers in Stacy McCall’s disappearance

June 7, 2019:

Three Missing Women: A look back at the case 27 years later

June 7, 2020:

The Springfield Three: A look back at the cold case 28 years later

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