A college student disappears from a pay phone and is later seen under the control of a mysterious man.
Weight: 96 to 106 lbs.
Defining Characteristics: Has scars on her forehead, elbow, under her chin and on her right eyebrow. She has a mole on her back between her shoulder blades and a small birthmark on her right buttock.
Police sketch of suspect
On the night of April 25th, 1988, 20-year-old college student Elizabeth Campbell, of Lampasas, Texas, had a fight with her boyfriend. Rickie Ray, took her books, and stormed out of his house. Forty-five minutes later, Rickie says, she called him from a pay phone 11 miles away:
“Elizabeth called me from a convenience store and wanted me to come pick her up. We got into a little disagreement there, because I was asking her why she left my house without telling me. I didn’t understand why she’d do something like that because it’s not like her.”
That phone call was the last anyone ever heard from Elizabeth Campbell. However, her family and friends believe that Elizabeth may still be alive.
Elizabeth disappeared after making a call
Elizabeth lived a fairly sheltered life at home, but was planning to go to Texas A & M in the fall. Her father, Tom Campbell, was immediately worried when she disappeared:
“As soon as we knew she was missing, we knew something had happened to her. It’s too much out of character for her to not tell her mother where she was when she wasn’t at home .”
A witness claimed she saw her at a gas station
Elizabeth’s parents immediately distributed thousands of flyers throughout central Texas. Their efforts soon paid off. Only six days after she was reported missing, a girl matching Elizabeth’s description was spotted by convenience store clerk, Roger Anyon, about 85 miles from where she disappeared:
“This car drove up to the fuel tank and a man got out of the car and took a young woman by the arm and brought her into the store with him, holding on to her arm. It wasn’t as if it was a boyfriend/girlfriend type hold, it was his hand was above her wrist. I was up at the counter, and he pushed a twenty-dollar bill out with one hand. The girl looked up at me, and I said ‘Yes, can I help you?’ He said something to her in a language that I didn’t understand, and she dropped her head, and looked down, as if she was being punished for trying to say something. She just hid, put her face down, and that was the end of that.”
Fliers were handed out by her parents
Then, another eyewitness, Michelle Christenson, came forward with a second sighting of the couple that matched the first in nearly every detail:
“The first thing that caught my eye was that he had a real mean, rough look to him. He gave the attitude that he didn’t want her to talk, just to stay silent, and that’s a weird situation because if someone wants to talk, they usually talk. But she didn’t. When I handed the strawberry cone to him, Elizabeth Campbell looked up at me. She looked like she was being pulled around. She wasn’t with him by choice.”
He seemed to be controlling her
Despite these two sightings, local police were not convinced that Elizabeth was the young woman under the control of the rough-looking man. But two months later, on July 10 th , a woman named Virgie Johnson claimed to have seen Elizabeth, this time at a gas station over 150 miles from Kileen:
“I had just left my car, going in to pay for the gas, and I bumped into Elizabeth coming out of the store. Elizabeth acted as if maybe she was frightened of someone, or maybe she was being watched. When I saw a photograph of Elizabeth, I automatically knew that that was the girl that I had bumped into in Garland. I was just positive that that was Elizabeth Campbell.”
“She acted as if she was frightened …”
Now they had three sightings. Elizabeth’s parents were more and more convinced their daughter was alive and being held against her will. The Campbells fear that Elizabeth was being forced to work as a prostitute. Lois Lee is founder of Children of the Night, an organization that rescues young people from prostitution by providing counseling and helping them find shelter:
“Usually, when someone abducts another person for purposes of prostitution, they have a process by which they strip away their identity and supply them with a new one. Oftentimes, it involves being repetitively raped. They’re deprived of food, they’re deprived of light, they’re deprived of water, of whatever it takes in order to strip away their identity and to force them to assume another one. The pimp creates an invisible leash by presenting himself as if he’s omnipotent. It’s like he’s saying, ‘No matter where you go, no matter what you’re doing, I’ve got someone who works for me, or a friend of mine, watching you’. That’s why she would never make eye contact with anyone. And if she does, and she looks like she’s asking for help, then she goes back to the closet, until she has learned.”
To this day, Elizabeth has not been found. But her parents refuse to give up hope. Tom Campbell:
“There’s no way we can give up until we find out where she is, what’s happened to her. She’s our daughter, not what somebody’s trying to make her. She’ll always be our little girl.”
UPDATE: In 1992, Elizabeth Campbell’s purse was located in the property room of the Crockett County Sheriff’s Department. It is unknow how it got there, or how long it had been there.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and in season six with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
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