On a chilly December afternoon in 2011, Phoenix Coldon, a 23-year-old University of Missouri-St. Louis student and champion fencer, left her family's home in the St. Louis suburb of Spanish Lake, MO. Hours after she left, her car was found abandoned in the middle of the street just 25 minutes from home. She hasn't been seen since.
Below are some facts, details, and theories concerning the search for Phoenix Coldon. If you have any information that may prove helpful in finding her - or any of the other missing persons mentioned below - contact the authorities or an organization like Black & Missing that helps locate missing people of color.
Phoenix Coldon’s Parents Last Saw Her In Their Driveway
According to her parents, Phoenix Coldon left their home at around 3 pm on December 18, 2011. Her mother saw her sitting in her black 1998 Chevy Blazer in the driveway and assumed that she was taking a call. "She does that often," Coldon's mother told reporters. "She'll sit in the car and talk on the phone. That's what I thought she was doing. When I looked out again, her vehicle was gone."
Other accounts have mentioned her father seeing her getting into her car, while a documentary about her disappearance didn't mention the presumed phone call, simply stating that Coldon walked out of the house "with conviction."
This was the last time Coldon's parents saw her.
- Photo: The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon / Oxygen
Coldon’s Car Was Found Abandoned About 25 Minutes From Her House
Though Coldon's parents didn't realize she was missing for some time, her car was found abandoned in the middle of the street at the corner of 9th and St. Clair in St. Louis, just 25 minutes from her house. Initial reports indicated that the driver's side door was open and the engine was still running, but this was later proven to be inaccurate.
The Chevy Blazer was towed to an impound lot and entered into the police computer as abandoned by 6:23 pm, just a little over three hours after Coldon's parents last saw her.
Yet it wasn't until January 1, two weeks after Coldon disappeared, that her family finally learned her car had been impounded. Though the car was found the night she went missing and was just a few miles from her home, these two pieces of information weren't put together until a friend of the family found the impounded car on an independent search.
"I just wish those police had done what they were supposed to do by running those plates and seeing that the vehicle was registered to me," Phoenix's mother, Goldia Coldon, said. "All they had to do is call and say, 'do you know where your vehicle is?' And look where it was found. Why didn't they check around the area to make sure somebody was not injured or passed out nearby? Why did we have to learn from someone else where our vehicle was?"
The Police May Never Have Completed An Inventory Of The Vehicle
According to Goldia Coldon, the police never made an inventory when her daughter's car was found. She said that the officer told her he "did not do an inventory sheet because there was nothing in the car. That was not true." When the family picked up the vehicle from the impound lot, they found many of Phoenix Coldon's belongings inside, including her glasses, her shoes, and a purse containing her driver's license.
Coldon's mother also says that they had to complain to the mayor's office in order to avoid paying the impound bill, which totaled more than $1,000. Sadly, this was not the last time the Coldon family would face severe financial hardships and bureaucratic difficulties related to Phoenix's disappearance.
Coldon's Case May Be Connected To The Disappearance Of Stacey EnglishVideo: YouTube
On December 27, 2011, a little over a week after Coldon disappeared, another young woman went missing 500 miles away in Atlanta, GA. Like Coldon, Stacey English's car was found in the middle of the street and impounded, though it was not immediately connected to her case. In an equally troubling connection, the last person to see her alive may have been St. Louis native Robert Kirk, who was later cleared of any suspicion in her disappearance.
Kirk had been visiting English's home, but she asked him to leave following an argument in which she was "screaming in the apartment and shouting biblical scriptures and indicating that the world was coming to an end." Kirk claims to have left her residence at her behest after she "began asking him if he was Satan."
Nearly a month later, English's body was found in a heavily wooded area about a mile from where police had found her car. The coroner's report said that she died of hypothermia and found no evidence of violence. Her family, however, was less convinced; her mother released a statement saying, "There is no doubt in my mind that there had to be some type of foul play involved."