4 Years After Three Women Disappeared, A Prison Inmate Claimed He Knew What Had Happened

It’s June 1992 in Greene County, Missouri, and Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter and Sherrill Levitt have disappeared. But despite the efforts of the police and the FBI, no trace of the three women can be found. Four years later, a convicted criminal claims to know the truth – but will the mystery of the Springfield Three ever be solved?

Born on March 9, 1973, Suzanne “Suzie” Streeter was the only daughter of Levitt and her then-husband, Brentt Streeter. However, their family – which also included a son, Bartt – was troubled, and the couple separated when Suzie was just a newborn. Taking on the role of stay-at-home mom, Levitt initially settled with her children in an apartment in Seattle, Washington.

There, Levitt carried out odd jobs around the apartment complex in return for free rent. And for the next six months, she remained at home caring for her two young children. However, she eventually decided to relocate thousands of miles across the country, arriving in the city of Springfield, Missouri, in 1980.

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In Springfield, Levitt began a new relationship, eventually marrying for a second time. However, in 1989 she divorced again – a separation that left a dent in her finances. And in order to save money, she moved into a smaller property with Streeter. Located on East Delmar Street, it was a modest home in the east of the city.

In 1992, Levitt was working at a hair salon in Springfield, where she was a popular member of staff. Moreover, she had a close relationship with her daughter, who by that time was a senior at the city’s Kickapoo High School. And on June 6, she attended Streeter’s graduation ceremony, just one of many proud mothers to join the crowd.

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With Streeter’s time in high school at an end, the 19-year-old had plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Apparently, she wanted to study cosmetology, setting herself up for a career in the beauty industry. Meanwhile, her friend, 18-year-old Stacy McCall, was set to attend Southwest Missouri State University, where she hoped to become a member of a sorority.

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Having known each other since childhood, Streeter and McCall were close. And after their graduation ceremony was over, the pair headed out to celebrate together. Meanwhile, having also been present as the girls graduated, Levitt made her way home. According to reports, she had an evening of DIY planned, and, at around 9.15 p.m. she spoke to a friend on the telephone.

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Apparently, during that call, Levitt told her friend that she was busy painting furniture – an innocuous statement that revealed nothing about the horror that was to come. However, it was the last that anyone would hear from the 47-year-old mother. Meanwhile, Streeter and McCall attended two different graduation parties before retiring to a friend’s home.

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Initially, Streeter and McCall planned to stay over at the home of a mutual friend, Janelle Kirby. But when they got there, they discovered that the house was full of people. And in the early hours of the morning, they decided to travel together to Levitt’s home, where both girls would spend the night.

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What happened next remains a mystery to this day. The following morning, Kirby waited for Streeter and McCall to return to her home. Apparently, the three girls had made plans to visit a water park together. But when her two friends failed to arrive, Kirby grabbed her boyfriend and went to East Delmar Street to look for them.

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Arriving at Levitt’s home, Kirby saw all three of the women’s vehicles parked outside – suggesting that Streeter and McCall had made it back safely the night before. However, there was nobody at home. Finding an unlocked front door, she ventured inside. But she saw nothing that could shed light on where her friends might have gone.

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Instead, the mystery only deepened. Once inside the property, Kirby found Levitt and Streeter’s Yorkshire Terrier dog, Cinnamon, in an agitated condition. And while she was there, the telephone rang twice. Each time, there was an unknown man on the line who made lewd comments until the teenager disconnected the call.

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Strangely, however, there was no sign of any violence in the home. In fact, the only other thing that seemed amiss was a broken lampshade on the porch. Hoping to help, Kirby’s boyfriend then swept up the broken glass – unwittingly tampering with evidence that could have yielded vital clues to the women’s disappearance.

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As time passed, more concerned family and friends flocked to East Delmar Street. And when McCall’s mother arrived, she noticed some more strange things about the abandoned home. Apparently, the purses belonging to the missing women had been placed on the living room floor. In addition, McCall had left her outfit in a tidy, folded pile.

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Concerned for the three women, McCall’s mother telephoned the police to file a missing person’s report. And while waiting for the authorities to arrive, she decided to check Levitt and Streeter’s answering machine. On it, she heard a bizarre message which investigators believe could have held another clue. Sadly, though, it was accidentally deleted.

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By the time the police were notified, the three women had not been seen or heard from in 16 hours. And as investigators studied the scene of their disappearance, the case grew even stranger. Apparently, McCall had also left her migraine medication behind – something that she needed in order to manage the painful condition.

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Moreover, Streeter also appeared to have left in a hurry. “A pack of Marlboros was on the night stand next to Streeter’s bed; she was said to be a chain smoker,” Tony Glenn, the Springfield Police Captain, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1992. “The television set was on. We’ve been told that Streeter was an insomniac, and it was normal for her to have turned the TV on, and the sound down, to sleep.”

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Levitt’s room, too, showed signs of an unexpected interruption – including a book placed page-down as if to keep its place. Apparently, her bed looked like it had been slept in and her glasses sat abandoned beside it. All of the family’s belongings, in fact, appeared untouched.

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Ultimately, all evidence pointed to the fact that the three women had not planned to leave the house for any length of time. So where had they gone? The number of concerned friends and family who visited the house following the disappearance, however, only served to muddy the scene, making it even more difficult for investigators to retrieve any clues.

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Soon, an investigation began. And on June 9, Springfield police had called in the FBI to assist with the case. Five days later, authorities launched an extensive search of the Springfield area and combed a local apartment building for clues. However, they found nothing. On the same day, photographs of the missing women appeared on the America’s Most Wanted television show.

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On June 15, however, police began investigating a new angle. Apparently, a tip came in regarding a man with a beard and long hair – a homeless man who had been spotted around Levitt and Streeter’s home prior to their disappearance. This, though, failed to throw up any tangible leads.

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Then, later that month, another tip came in. This time it was from a woman who worked at George’s Steakhouse, a Springfield restaurant frequented by Levitt and Streeter. Allegedly, she had spotted the missing women at her workplace in the early hours of June 7. And according to her, Streeter had been acting dizzy – or perhaps drunk.

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Over the following months, the tips continued to flood in. And early in the investigation, police developed an interest in a man named Robert Cox. A resident of Springfield at the time of the women’s disappearance, he had a military background. And, more worryingly, he may have had an alarmingly violent past.

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Back in 1978, 19-year-old Sharon Zeller was attacked and killed while making her way home from work at Florida’s Walt Disney World. And suspicion soon fell on Cox, also 19, who had been vacationing in the area at the time. Eventually, police convicted him of the crime, although he was released from jail in 1989 following an appeal.

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After Cox’s release from prison, he moved to Springfield to live with his mother and father. However, Zellers’ family kept track of the man they still believed had killed their daughter. And when they heard about Levitt, Streeter and McCall’s disappearance, they contacted the police to inform them that a suspected murderer was living in the same city.

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“I just knew it was him,” Dorothy Zellers, Sharon’s mother, told the Springfield News-Leader in 2006. “I said to myself, ‘Cox did this.’” And soon, police called the former convict – who once worked with McCall’s father – in for an interview. However, the ex-convict claimed he and his girlfriend had attended church together on the morning of June 7. And at the time, she came forward to corroborate his alibi.

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Still at a loss, investigators left no stone unturned in their search for the missing women. As well as scanning lakes and searching woods and fields, they followed thousands of leads across over 20 states. They even turned to psychics for help in breaking the case. However, they came no closer to finding answers for the family members left behind.

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Then, in January 1993, someone contacted the America’s Most Wanted hotline claiming to have information about the ongoing case. According to police, the caller appeared to have detailed knowledge of the incident. However, a technical error meant that the connection was dropped – and investigators never heard from the informant again.

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A few weeks later, investigators announced that the women’s disappearance might be linked to the activities of a serial killer. However, no further updates on the case followed that statement. And as both Streeter and McCall’s birthdays passed without news, their families continued to wonder what had happened that fateful night.

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In August 1993, police launched a search of some farmland located in nearby Webster County. But just like the other leads, this turned up little in the way of concrete evidence. Then, the following year, another investigation scoured the Ozark Mountains’ Bull Shoals Lake, some 100 miles southeast of Springfield.

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Sadly, the search of Bull Shoals Lake did not bring police any closer to finding the missing women. In 1995, however, Cox came under scrutiny once more. Arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery in Texas, he sat before a grand jury, where his girlfriend revealed she had lied about his alibi for that June morning in 1992.

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In 1996, while Cox was in prison for robbery, he also became a suspect in a series of unrelated killings from 1992. And that March, another article appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. Journalist Robert Keyes, it seems, interviewed the potential killer. During their conversation, he revealed some shocking insight into the disappearance of the women now known as the Springfield Three.

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“I knew the police would be coming to talk to me,” Cox reportedly said. “I just didn’t know when.” He then went on to tell Keyes that the women had indeed been murdered and that their bodies will “never be found.” The following year, he wrote a letter to the same paper. In it, he detailed his response to a police officer’s request for more information.

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“I told Sgt. Routh if I could tell him where the bodies were, then he would come after me with an indictment and seek the death penalty,” Cox wrote. Moreover, he claimed that he could reveal their location to the newspaper – but would not because he feared incrimination. The convicted robber also told authorities, it seems, that he would eventually reveal the truth after the death of his mother.

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To date, investigators are unsure whether or not Cox murdered the women, or if he simply sought the attention of connecting himself to the crime. Meanwhile, the investigation continued – despite the fact that both Levitt and Streeter were declared dead in 1997. However, McCall’s parents refused to do the same, pledging instead to wait until their daughter’s body is found.

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Over the years, the case passed from officer to officer as investigators moved through the ranks of Springfield’s police department. And at one point, a tip came in claiming the women’s bodies were buried in the foundations of a parking garage at the local Cox Hospital. The claims, however, were not taken seriously at first.

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“It was in the category of, ‘My dog is psychic and he’s telling me there are bones there.’ It was along that line,” Darrell Moore, formerly of the Prosecutor’s Office in Greene County, told the Springfield News-Leader in 2015. “If we had sought a search warrant based on that, we would have been laughed out of court.”

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However, in 2007, a crime reporter launched an amateur investigation at the Cox Hospital site. And when an engineer conducted a ground radar scan of the area, he allegedly picked up three anomalies beneath the ground. Nevertheless, police dismissed the credibility of this theory. Why? Because the women had been missing for over a year by the time construction on the parking lot began. As a result, the authorities ultimately decided against any further investigation of the area.

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Then, in February 2019, there came another twist in the tale. Indeed, Streeter’s brother, Bartt, was arrested in connection with a bizarre crime. He had, allegedly, attempted to abduct a 15-year-old girl from a nail salon – causing some to question whether or not he played a role in his mother and sister’s disappearance. His family, however released a statement claiming that the press had exaggerated the incident. Instead, they took the opportunity to bring the 1992 case back into the public eye.

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“We are still experiencing pain,” the statement read. “Our family members are still missing, along with Stacy McCall. We still want and need answers. Please remember them and help in any way you can in finding them by reporting any information that may be helpful to the Springfield Police Department.”

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