Vultures, Missing Persons, and an Oversight

Today's post for Missing Person Monday features an unsolved case from this past December.

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It doesn't matter how awful the situations for the families of missing persons, vultures are always present to make matters worse:

A promising lead about the whereabouts of Phoenix Coldon turned out to be a cruel hoax, causing the missing Missouri woman's family additional pain, their entire life savings and their home.

"Unfortunately, we will now be losing our family home," the missing woman's mother, Goldia Coldon, told The Huffington Post. "We have tried to explain the situation to our mortgage company but they don't care."

A tip that led the family to Texas came from a man who claimed to know Coldon's whereabouts and provided her family with very convincing details, Goldia Coldon said.

The family already had invested much of their money to search for Phoenix, she said, but spent the remainder of their savings on private investigators to follow up on the lead. It was not until after the family's money was gone that the man who provided the tip admitted he fabricated the story, Coldon said.

"They said he made it up to get attention," she said. "It cost us dearly and it led absolutely nowhere. It was just his idea of a joke."

...Phoenix Coldon, 23, was last seen in the driveway of the family's St. Louis County home at about 3 p.m. Dec. 18. Her mother said she was sitting in her vehicle one minute and the next, she was gone.

Coldon said she initially thought her daughter had gone to the store but when she did not return that night, Coldon said she reported her daughter and her black 1998 Chevy Blazer missing to police the following morning.
Sad that folks with evil intentions target the families of this missing; viewing the misfortune as an opportunity to scam.

They operate like burglars who read obituaries to determine when the deceased and family members of the deceased will be away from their homes at funerals--knowing that opportunities for break-ins await.

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On a related note--reading the details of this disappearance reminded me of another one that I covered in depth.

Like that of missing person Brianna Maitland of Vermont, police also unknowingly towed Ms. Coldron's vehicle several hours after she was last seen (in this instance, three hours after her mom saw her) .  Authorities had found the Coldron SUV unoccupied on the day she vanished about 25 minutes from her residence.

Another sad similarity between the Coldron and Maitland cases is that the family and not authorities initially discovered the missing woman's SUV had been impounded.  For the family of Coldron, her loved ones did not realize that the vehicle was in government custody until nearly two weeks later.

They then notified police.

In other words, a potential crime victim's vehicle was contaminated (during the impoundment process) and then sat for fourteen days--a long time before authorities could begin investigating this disappearance.

One hopes that law enforcement will adopt new policies/emphasize existing directives to ensure that impound lots are checked and rechecked for the vehicles of those reported missing.

Because it is just not happening every time.

37 comments:

A Doc 2 Be said...

Better yet, we put the idiots who do this stuff behind bars permanently.

I cannot fathom the family's pain. Simply. Can. Not.

messymimi said...

Is the person who gave the false tip going to be arrested and charged? Or is that not a crime?

Yes, i know it won't get them their money back, but it might send a message to others who have similar ideas.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

how terrible! argh!
it also makes me wonder if the gals went missing because their vehicles were towed and they were left stranded...

Theresa Milstein said...

That person who fabricated the story should go to jail. How awful for that family.

Jax said...

Is this for real? Someone really gave this family false tips and a fake story just as a sick joke? People really are messed up in the head. Are they purusing legal action? I say this cruel man pays for their mortgage so they don't lose their home. How sad...

Bob G. said...

SLamdunk:
YOu speak about people taking unfair advantage (like there's a fair version?) of the distraught...there ARE those out there that watch the OBITS constantly, and then target the houses when the service is going on at the church or cemetery...disgusting behavior.

Such vulture indeed.

Excellent post.

Stay safe out there.

Creepy Query Girl said...

wow, that is so sad. And yes, it would make sense to check impoundment agencies first even! Geez.

Anonymous said...

I live in the STL area and hadn't even heard about this case until now! Thank you for the info.

Pat Hatt said...

Some people are just miserable human beings. Who ever would think such a thing is even remotely funny? He should be sued and locked away.

ladyfi said...

How awful for the family.

lisa said...

I think there's a special place in the afterlife for vultures like these! At the very least, he should suffer some sort of consequence for his actions now.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That is SO awful and depressing. As if those poor people haven't been through enough already :-(

Bonnie said...

That is so unbelievably sad. I really have to feel for the family.

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Sarah Ahiers said...

I really really hope someone like that gets his comeuppance. I wish the family had enough money left to sue him

Sarah Ahiers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, how sad...

Jenny said...

This is jus awful... It really saddens me that people could do something like this to a family thatis already in unbearable pain...

I think it is neat that you are bringing awareness to this...

Hope you have a wonderful day!

I always enjoy stopping by your blog!

Privatdetektiv said...

This also makes me suspect that the missing girl because their vehicles were towed away and they were trapped.



Privatdetektiv

Carol Kilgore said...

There's not a dark enough corner of hell for that guy who cost that family their home. Can he be charged with any crime?

Chip Allen said...

That moron deserves nothing less than a public flogging. That would garner some attention but probably not the kind he was hoping for.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Can charges be laid against the guy who purposely gave the false tip?

Gina Gao said...

This is ridiculous. I cannot even begin to imagine why someone would do that to a family. They should be put forever to jail.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Haddock said...

One can imagine what the family goes through. There must be some sort of befitting punishment for such "Pranksters"

Stephanie said...

Oh more torture when a family is already in so much pain. Such cruelty.

Brian Miller said...

ugh on the false tip...what a predator to take advantage of a family like that...desperate to find the missing person....ugh...

Beth Zimmerman said...

I am beyond horrified that the police didn't realize they had those vehicles!

And I suspect that there will be a special corner in Hell for those who prey upon the grieving and vulnerable! That is just wrong on so many levels!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

wow, that is very sad. the poor family. obviously all criminals are guilty of misdeeds but it has to take a a certain type of person to target a grieving family. I wish them the best.

honestly and I hate to bring it up but it makes me sad that I have not even heard of this case. I swear that I feel like we live in a society that is completely accepting of all races... except when it comes to the issue of missing children. There really does seem to be a bias, as much as it pains me to say.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I feel bad for the family members of missing people who are given false leads. Just imagine that they cling on to a hope that is non-existent.

Blond Duck said...

You know, you're a mystery writer's dream.

Elena said...

What is wrong with some people?!

oceangirl said...

SD, I'll return to read, my eyes are burning and I should be going to bed.

My blog has a new address and it is on my profile SD. Thank you.

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

These must be incredibly hard posts to write. I can only imagine the heartache and pain. I applaud you for sharing this important info. Thanks.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's really sad.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments and questions all.

@ Stina, Carol, & Jax: The article does not specifically what happened, but in every state there would be some type of theft, theft by deception or other criminal code that may apply in a situation like this.

The finally decision to charge would rest with the jurisdiction's prosecutor. If there no charges are filed in this case, he/she would be the one to make that call.''

In addition to Jax's comment--the family could pursue the individual civilly--no matter if criminal charges apply or not.

Maxi said...

Will the man who fabricated the story go to jail? Blessings - Maxi

oceangirl said...

This is too sad, and staring at her picture makes it sadder for me. I pray for her return to her family.

Candice said...

Ugh! This case is so sad. And those people are CRUEL!!