A college student disappears from a pay phone and is later seen under the control of a mysterious man.

Elizabeth Campbell

Missing:

Gender: Female
DOB: 5/31/67
Height: 5’2”
Weight: 96 to 106 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black
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.

CASE DETAILS

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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24 Comments

  1. Sarah

    I think the spottings of her were either of another woman, or lies. If you’re in the business of kidnapping grown, intelligent, well-liked women in their home country, you don’t go parading them around public gas stations. You keep them locked in a brothel and high on drugs and alcohol.

    Reply

  2. thinkingoutloud

    boyfriend seems a little controlling. upset that after they had a fight, she left and he’s upset she didn’t mention anything to him? and how did he not know she left the house for a whole 45 mins? i think he’s lying. maybe he killed her during that argument and he’s trying to cover it up.

    and if it is true she was seen with another controlling man, it sounds liek human trafficking / prostitution to me. the boyfriend sounds controlling so maybe he worked for a pimp or whoever and willingly gave her up

    Reply

  3. Daniel

    Has it been confirmed yet that she is not the unidentified body found in Falls County?

    http://web.archive.org/web/20160304105107/http:/www.txdps.state.tx.us/mpch/UnidentifieddetailsPrint.asp?id=U0802020&Person=Unidentified

    This description and reconstruction are about as close as one could possibly get.

    Reply

  4. Anonymous

    Human trafficking check into strange front company that could be a lead

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    What the heck was her purse doing at the police department? I wonder if someone that worked there could have been involved?

    Reply

  6. Dave

    Plus this article is not accurate – she was from Lampasas, TX, was attending a community college in Killeen, TX. She vanished after making a phone call from a convenience store in Copperas Cove, TX which is between Killeen and Lampasas.

    Reply

  7. Dave

    This article needs to be updated. Four years after she disappeared her purse was found in the evidence room of a sheriff’s department nearly 300 miles west of Copperas Cove – the city from where she vanished. The sheriff’s department had no record of anyone turning in the purse or where it came from.

    Reply

  8. Anonymous

    It seems almost obvious that the boyfriend is lying. My money is on that he killed her. His statements conflict.

    Reply

  9. Chanita

    Oh my god that’s Terrible I Hope That Man Will Bring Her home safely She Needs Her Family!

    Reply

  10. Anonymous

    This transcript made a mistake on Elizabeth’s age at the time of her disappearance. It listed her age as 21, even though she was actually 20. By her 21st birthday, May 31, 1988, Elizabeth had already been missing for well over a month.

    Reply

  11. james

    Statement says that she had a fight with boyfriend then stormed out of the house, but then he says she couldn’t figure out why she left the house without telling him. If they had just argued and she stormed out then he already knew that she left! I’d look into the boyfriend again, she may have not even left the house in the first place

    Reply

  12. Nicki

    I hope Elizabeth is found soon I’ll keep her in my prayers.

    Reply

  13. Brika

    Blonde 5’6 brown 6’0

    Reply

  14. David

    Has anyone in Texas or outside of Texas ever seen that woman before? She would be 48 going on 49 years old today. She might still be going around with that man who seems to be controlling her. If you have, call the police, right now. Let’s just hope that man hasn’t killed her if he’s still has her alive no matter what.

    Reply

  15. Angela Scullion

    Why has everyone just ruled the boyfriend out ?
    I would bring him in for questioning again as something is not quiet right with his story

    Reply

  16. Alien

    @Kristle I really hope someone looks into the possibility that the unidentified remains found in Texas could be Elizabeth. It looks to me like it could be her….

    Reply

  17. Kristle

    There is a article on Facebook about a woman’s remains found in falls county in 2000, they have not yet identified her. But the description sounds like Elizabeth Campbell.
    http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/mpch/UnidentifieddetailsPrint.asp?id=U0802020&Person=Unidentified

    Reply

  18. steve

    i pray that she returns home

    Reply

  19. Sondra

    I am praying for Elizabeth Campbell and hope that she is returned to her family.

    Reply

    • Black Bieber

      I agree with you 100%. If Elizabeth Campbell is still alive (she would be about 49 years old now), then I pray to God she is found alive & well.

      Reply

  20. Dahlia

    She was beautiful and looked like the actress Anna May Wong. I hope she is found alive soon.

    Reply