"I knew something was very wrong," says mother Janis McCall about the moment her daughter went missing
For nearly 27 years family, friends and law enforcement have tirelessly tried to find out what happened to three Missouri women who vanished without a trace.
After her high school graduation from Springfield’s Kickapoo High School on June 6, 1992, Stacy McCall and her friend Suzie Streeter, 19, celebrated with friends before going back to the home Suzie shared with her mother, Sherrill Levitt, 47.
The next morning, Suzie and Stacy planned to visit a water park with friends. But the friends never heard from them, and after Janis McCall couldn’t reach her daughter Stacy, she drove to Suzie and Sherill’s home hoping to find her.
When she arrived, she found Stacy’s things — including her wallet, makeup pouch, clothing, shoes and jewelry — neatly placed on the floor.
“I kept going through my head,” her mom, Janis McCall, 71, tells PEOPLE, “so I immediately called my husband, Stu. I knew something was very wrong.”
She thought they would be home right away, she adds, and “was angry we couldn’t find her.”
She never saw her daughter again.
While Janis and many others were left distraught by the three women’s disappearances, they have never stopped looking for them.
The unsolved case of the so-called “Springfield Three” is explored in the season premiere of People Magazine Investigates on Investigation Discovery, airing Nov. 4 at 10 p.m.
As days turned into months and then years, authorities continued investigating, finding and eliminating possible suspects. Then in 1996, Robert Craig Cox, a convicted kidnapper and robber in Texas, claimed he knew the Springfield Three were dead.
Authorities — who confirmed Cox had lived in Springfield at the time of the women’s disappearance — interviewed him.
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“He wouldn’t admit he was responsible,” says retired Springfield police department Det. Sgt. David Asher. “But he said, ‘I just know they’re dead.”
The families want answers, no matter how grim and devastating those might be.
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“I’ve had a lot of dreams with Sherill in them,” says Sherill’s sister Debra Schwartz, who had both her sister and niece declared dead in 1997. “And she tells me that they’re not suffering.”
Officer Rick Bookout, who was the first on the scene in 1992, says that “whoever is responsible for this can’t take back what happened, but they can help bring some closure to the families while they’re still alive.”
Adds Janis: “There’s not a word called closure in the dictionary for families missing someone. My baby is gone. We want some justice.”
People Magazine Investigates: The Springfield Three airs Monday, Nov. 4 at 10 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.