Pushing Up Lilies

Vanished Without a Trace

Episode Summary

Today on Pushing Up Lilies, we venture into the perplexing world of missing persons, where countless individuals, including men, women, and children, have disappeared without a trace. Drawing from my experience as a forensic investigator, I bring you two haunting stories of women whose cases emerged in my area, shedding light on the chilling mysteries that surround their disappearances. Join us as we navigate the labyrinth of "Vanished Without a Trace," where the line between hope and despair is razor-thin, and where answers may prove as elusive as the vanished themselves. * Listener discretion is advised as we explore the enigma of missing persons.

Episode Notes


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Episode Transcription

0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.

0:08 I'm your host, Julie Mattson.

0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly true crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.

0:24 Do I have some stories for you?

0:26 Are you ready?

0:31 We get calls frequently in our office from people who are looking for friends or family members that have gone missing.

0:40 The main reason that they're calling is to see if we have anybody that's been brought in with the name, but also if we've had any unidentified persons who might meet the description of the person that they're looking for and what we do is we always shoot an email out to all of our coworkers so that if we do have an unidentified body or skeletal remains found, we can kind of have something to go on as far as someone local that's missing and have some of their descriptions that might match up.

1:19 Of course, I've been in a situation before where I couldn't find someone and the first place, I called was the hospital.

1:28 Thank God, they ended up being there basically uninjured.

1:32 But when it gets to the point that someone's been missing so long and has gone so long without calling you or reaching out and it's abnormal.

1:42 It gets to the point where people start reaching out to the local medical examiner's offices to try to find them.

1:51If you go on the FBI's kidnappings website.

1:57 I mean, you can just scroll and there are so many people that are missing young kids, teenagers, older women, babies, men, even women and their Children.

2:12 And so literally you can just scroll down and look at all the different people that are missing.

2:20 It's so sad when we get a call because usually it's a last stitch resort to find the person.

2:27 And I know that just having some sort of answer as far as what happened to them would be nice.

2:35 We had a lady that went missing here locally and I believe this was back in gosh, 2014, even though her body was never found, the husband was found guilty of murder.

2:49 He was given 25 years in prison.

2:52 She disappeared on December 29th of 04.

2:57 There was no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses, no blood or anything in the home.

3:04 Now, this lady's name that went missing locally was Kathy Stobaugh.

3:09 And her and her husband Charles were married back in 84.

3:13 They had a daughter in 88 and a son in 91.

3:18 They lived just outside of Sanger, which is a small town here close to where I'm at.

3:24 They had this family farm; Kathy left her husband back in 04.

3:29 But in 89, keep in mind they got married in 84, in 89 Kathy filed for divorce and she left her husband Charles.

3:39 She did not tell him where she was going, but she lived with her brother for a few days and then she went and stayed with her parents for a few days.

3:49 And then she got a rent house.

3:51 Later that year, the two reconciled and had Tommy, who was their son.

3:57 Now in 02, she worked at a local college, and she had told several coworkers that she was planning to complete her degree and get a job and then leave Charles.

4:10 She did just that she graduated college.

4:12 She got her degree in education.

4:14 She rented a house, bought new furniture and took half of the couple's money, which was approximately $39,000 in their bank account and then bought appliances for the rent house.

4:27 And then she filed for a divorce.

4:29 Charles was served papers, and she was moved into the rent house, and she got a job as a kindergarten teacher, Charles was served with papers, and he also got a temporary restraining order.

4:42 The hearing never happened because Kathy told her lawyer she was going to try to work out the terms with Charles.

4:48 And so after Kathy rented the house, the kids basically kind of went back and forth.

4:53 There was no court ordered visitation.

4:56 The rent house that she had was less than a 10-minute drive from the farm in September of 04.

5:03 Kathy hadn't really taken any further action concerning the divorce.

5:07 That month, her attorney sent her a letter asking about the status of the divorce because the two had not really talked since June.

5:16 She was planning to finalize it, I guess around Christmas of four they planned to meet the morning of December 30th just to talk about, I guess the asset division and that kind of thing Kathy had told her friend Linda that Charles had actually agreed to the divorce and she had had a conversation with him about it and he was going to agree to it and wanted to sell everything and split the money prior to that Kathy's friend Linda said that Charles kind of always said he wanted to keep the land and he didn't want the divorce.

5:53 Kathy was not excited about selling the land and wanted to keep it.

5:58 But she was considering, you know, going along with what he wanted to do and selling it and splitting it.

6:05 Now, a couple of her coworkers who were teachers with her in Nocona had mentioned that Kathy had expressed that she was afraid of Charles and a little uncomfortable when he was around, but then that teacher had never met him.

6:20 So really didn't know all of the details several of her friends were afraid for her.

6:27 Kathy had even mentioned that she was afraid that something might happen to her.

6:31 Now, apparently Charles did not know that Kathy had rented this house until he was served with divorce papers.

6:40 She'd already rented the house and picked out the furniture, all of that took place before Charles even knew that Kathy had filed for divorce.

6:49 Now she moved the guns to a different location in the house that they had out at the farm.

6:56 He was angry when he was served the papers.

7:01 After that, Kathy continued to go to the farm and move things from the farm to her rent house.

7:11 She had planted a garden, she canned a lot, and she went to the farm about, I guess three times a week still to take care of the garden.

7:21 You know, they both also celebrated their son's birthday together.

7:25 There were, it sounds like good times and bad times that, you know, maybe around other people, she was comfortable with him, maybe when they were alone, things got uncomfortable, and she was a little bit concerned for her safety.

7:41 Charles never changed the locks at the farm after she moved out.

7:45 Kathy and the daughter, you know, pretty much came and went back and forth from the farm to the rent house and sometimes Charles was there and sometimes he wasn't when she disappeared.

7:57 And this is December 29th of 04, a couple of months later, her family went to the rent house and packed up all of her stuff to put in storage and they found some videotapes that she had recorded.

8:11 Of course, they were admitted during the trial, I guess about a month before she filed for divorce, she had recorded a video of Charles sitting in the chair in the kitchen.

8:24 The two were arguing about a car accident that their daughter had had.

8:29 The daughter was kind of eavesdropping because she was curious as to what her punishment would be.

8:34 The daughter really didn't know what Kathy was videotaping Charles, and Charles didn't know that he was being videotaped.

8:42 Apparently that happened frequently, maybe to try to catch an argument on video so that she could show somebody and use it as some sort of evidence.

8:52 Kathy had started dating.

8:54I don't know for sure if Charles knew, but she'd kind of started dating December 29th. 04 was a Wednesday.

9:02 She called the daughter that night.

9:04 The daughter didn't answer, and she didn't leave a message, but her car was at the house the morning of December 30th and she was not there, and she was never heard from again.

9:16 There was no evidence of any kind of a struggle, or any kind of violence, no forensic evidence whatsoever on the farm.

9:24 Nothing really indicated that a murder had actually occurred.

9:28 Of course, the police, the local police here confiscated her car, and the FBI ran tests on it.

9:34 There was absolutely no evidence in and around the car of any blood or any struggle or anything like that.

9:42 The other cars out at the farm were also processed and they just didn't find any evidence.

9:49 The daughter went to Sanger PD on the early evening of January 3rd 05 to report the mom missing.

10:00 She met with the officer, filed a missing person's report.

10:05 Sheri the daughter said that the mom was not missing under voluntary circumstances.

10:12 She didn't believe that she had ran away.

10:15 She made several statements that were consistent at the police department, but she had said that she went to a friend's house on the evening of December 29th when Kathy disappeared, and she got home about 1:30 in the morning on the 30th and she saw that her mom was not home and woke up her little brother.

10:36 He told her that she had gone out to the farm to discuss the divorce with dad.

10:44 She woke up at 7 a.m. drove to the dad’s house and saw Kathy's car park there.

10:49 She just assumed that her mom had decided to stay there overnight.

10:54 She drove back to Kathy's rent house and went back to bed.

10:59 She came back to her dad's house a couple of hours later and saw him standing outside and dad had told her that Kathy was there the previous evening, but that she left and then when he woke up, her car was still parked in the driveway, but he couldn't find her.

11:13 Now, the daughter tried to call Kathy and the calls would go straight to voicemail.

11:20 They really didn't think a lot of it.

11:22 They just thought that she was maybe taking some time to kind of cool off or figure out what was going on.

11:31 When the police interviewed Charles, you know, they said that he seemed really calm.

11:35 He didn't really seem very excited about her missing.

11:40 You know, there was nothing in Kathy's rent house that indicated that she'd left in a hurry or anything like that.

11:46 One of the Texas Rangers and people from the sheriff's office and the singer of police officers went out to the farm and couldn't find any evidence of any kind of crime, no signs of a struggle or anything like that.

12:03 Charles said that Kathy had been known to leave and then be gone for an entire weekend with her cellphone off and didn't want to be bothered.

12:15 Charles had mentioned to the police that this had happened a couple of times and told the police that the two had been separated and that Kathy had filed for divorce.

12:24 But the night that Kathy disappeared, Charles told the police that he saw her drive away in her car and of course that next morning, her car was still in his driveway.

12:38 Kathy had been planning to attend a birthday party on January 2nd.

12:42 And so she had told several family members that she was planning to go on New Year's Day just a few days after Kathy's disappearance.

12:52 Charles actually seemed happy and didn't even talk about Kathy being missing when he went to a get together at his mom's house.

13:03 Everyone just assumed that Kathy had gone to her mother's house on New Year's Day because she wasn't there, but there was no real talk about it because her disappearance hadn't even been reported yet.

13:14 Life kind of went on.

13:17 But the point is Charles said, even mentioned that he saw Kathy's car drive away that he saw the taillights of her car driving away that night when she left, and they searched the property high and low.

13:33 And they also used Luminol to try to detect the presence of blood and there was no blood in Kathy's vehicle.

13:42 They used cadaver dogs.

13:43 I mean, they didn't find hair fibers, nothing.

13:47 They had a dive team come out and searched some nearby gravel pits and had some water in them.

13:52 They didn't find anything.

13:55 I mean, they searched an abandoned, well, they just couldn't find anything.

14:00 They also searched local lakes near a bridge, couldn't find anything.

14:07 But the fact that Charles made some conflicting statements about the car being in the driveway first, he said he didn't see it.

14:13 Then he said he did see it when he got up the next morning.

14:17 Also, the fact that there were so many days that went by before it was reported or before she was reported as a missing person.

14:26 Basically, though there was no evidence, Charles wasn't dating anybody.

14:32 He hadn't remarried.

14:34 There was no evidence that any kind of a crime scene had been staged.

14:38 Basically, she's still missing.

14:41 I don't know, a lot of y'all are probably like me where you just want to go out and look, it's like something had to have been missed.

14:48 It's like she has to be out there somewhere.

14:52 There's a mom missing now.

14:54 And I don't know if y'all have heard this story.

14:56 This was back in May of 2020 but her name's Echo Lloyd.

15:00 And on the evening of May 9th of 2020 she spoke with her daughter Kelsey Smith.

15:06 And at 3 p.m. the following day, Kelsey went over there, and this was in Edwards, Missouri.

15:11 It was Mother’s Day.

15:13 Kelsey went to her mom's house with flowers and a card, and nobody answered the door, and her car wasn't there.

15:20 Kelsey left flowers and a card on the back porch with a note asking the mom to call her.

15:25 And then after five days, Kelsey never heard from her mom and the phone was going straight to voicemail.

15:33 On May 15th, Kelsey went back over to her mom's house and the car was parked in the driveway, but it was locked, and she broke through a window and couldn't find her mom So she filed a missing person's report and this was in Benton County with the sheriff's office there, her car keys, a pistol, her cell phone and her medications were missing.

15:56 Now, there were some cigarettes in the house, but it wasn't her normal brand.

16:00 And then there was a lighter, her purse, a wallet ID and cash were found on the floor in the house.

16:07 Now, the house was kind of in disarray.

16:09 There was a lot of trash in there.

16:10 There was some molded food.

16:12 The air conditioner was turned on high and Echo apparently had obsessive compulsive disorder and kept her house very clean.

16:21 Kelsey found this extremely abnormal.

16:24 Now, some people spotted Echo at Dollar General in Warsaw, Missouri on May 10th and police also found a Walmart receipt dated May 10th in her house.

16:37 It's believed that she returned home on the 10th and parked her car in the driveway.

16:43 Again the 10th is when Kelsey went over to her house, but there hadn't been any activity on her phone, social media, or bank account since she disappeared.

16:56 Now, Echo had been living alone in a house on about 10 acres of property in Edwards, Missouri since the fall of 2019.

17:03 After she separated from her ex-husband, she was born back May 23rd at 72 in Missouri and has four Children and three grandchildren.

17:14 She, though very suspicious, had reported to her family that her neighbor was being overly possessive, but he was questioned by Kelsey, and he denied any involvement in her disappearance, and he didn't know where she was.

17:30 But Echo had told Kelsey that the neighbor had pretty much completely taken over her life.

17:36 I'd be really curious to see what the neighbor was doing specifically; he had reportedly taken her cellphone and wouldn't give it back and had also somehow taken over her finances.

17:48 Echo told Kelsey that she was going to take back her home and Kelsey just recommended that, hey, you know, take a pistol, her pistol was later found in the woods behind her home.

17:59 Kelsey said that she found Echo's phone near her car, and it was taken from her hand by the neighbor who claimed that she had given it to him.

18:09 But this is weird y'all because the neighbor lived with his grandfather who was found deceased in the basement with a broken back.

18:16 But guess what else?

18:17 Echo's medications and keys that were missing from her house were in the neighbor's basement.

18:23 So this is weird.

18:25 I mean, first of all, I guess my question would be how long had the neighbor's grandfather that he lived with been dead?

18:32 You don't die instantly of a broken back.

18:35 I mean, how bad was it?

18:38 It sounds to me like something hinky was going on and the neighbor maybe killed his grandfather because his grandfather threatened to tell on him.

18:48 I don't know.

18:49 But the last sighting was supposed to be on the 14th of May when she went to a local store to buy a prepaid phone and she told the clerk that she needed to use it to contact her kids.

19:03 Now, when she was buying the phone, she wrote a check, and it wouldn't go through.

19:07 And so she mentioned to the clerk that someone actually wiped out her bank account.

19:12 The clerk said when the police interviewed her that she seemed rushed and scatter brained and she said that people were waiting for her outside, but she seemed really anxious before her disappearance.

19:25 All this is just odd, and I mean, I know that the investigative agencies are doing everything that they can to find these women.

19:35 But a part of me just wants to put on my rain boots and go look because it's so hard for me to believe that people can just disappear without a trace.

19:47 I mean, they have to be somewhere and for these women to be missing for years.

19:53 I mean, I'm not going to lie occasionally when we find skeletal remains.

19:57 I do hope that it's Kathy Stobaugh.

20:00 I hope she's alive somewhere.

20:02 But sometimes I'm just like to just get answers for the family.

20:07 And again, after this many years, if the remains are skeletal, it's often hard to find the cause of death because there's not always evidence of the manner.

20:21 Anyway.

20:21 Again, I encourage you to go on the FBI’s website and look at all the missing persons.

20:28 I just would love to just be a part in helping find some of these people.

20:34 I wish that I had the resources and knew more about how to do that.

20:39 Kathy Stobaugh case here locally has just, I still think about it, and I didn't even know her, but I think about it frequently because I just wish that they could find her and wish that we could get some answers about what happened to her Children.

20:55 Her ex-husband actually got out of prison because there was no body, no murder because her body was never found.

21:06 He is released way.

21:09 Just something that I've been thinking about a lot lately, we've been getting a lot of calls in our office of people looking for people who are missing and sometimes there are no circumstances that seem suspicious other than maybe they have some underlying medical problems like Alzheimer's and they can't be found because they've wandered off or, you know, sometimes there are some suspicious things that have occurred prior to them missing.

21:36 Just something to think about.

21:38 Contact me, please.

21:40 If you have a family member or somebody that has been missing, I would love to hear your story.

21:45 I would love to interview you about the details.

21:49 I think that would be kind of interesting to hear stories from family members who have been looking for their loved ones for quite some time.

21:57 I hope that y'all have an amazing week.

21:59 I am headed to the medical examiner's office this week after taking a couple of days off, we finally got some relief from the heat.

22:08 It's been like in the nineties, and it's been absolutely beautiful, and I hope you all have an amazing week again.

22:14 Reach out to me, Julie at pushinguplillies.com.

22:17 If you have any stories that you would love to share on the air, I would love to interview you.

22:23 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lily.

22:27 If you like this podcast and would like to share with others, please do me a quick favor and leave a review on Apple podcast.

22:34 This helps to make the podcast more visible to the public.

22:38 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLillies.com for merchandise and past episodes.