The mystery of the Alabama teen

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One of the worst fears a parent can have is of a lost child. It does not matter if the child is lost in a shopping mall for 15 minutes, or lost on a trip for a few days. There is a certain parental quality that wants to ensure the preservation of their children.

This has its roots in evolutionary biology, in that the entire purpose for the upbringing of a species’ young is to ensure the genetic survival of that individual’s genetic material. Think about it, your genetic code has been passed down through the eons in order to make it to you.

Human history started thousands of years ago, and all of the people who lived along your line fought both for themselves as well as their their children to ensure that you survive.

However, sometimes children are not found after hours or days. Sometimes they are gone for years at a time with no trace of them to ever be found again. This was the case of Etan Patz, a young boy in New York City who disappeared walking to his bus stop one day in the 1970s.

While nearly 30 years later the man who allegedly killed him was arrested, one of the jury members championed for social justice and let the alleged killer free.

However, there are also stories of hope, such as the story of Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and hidden in a hole for a period of nine months. She was abused by the couple up to four times a day. But eventually, she was found.

The following story is a very similar story to Elizabeth Smart. A young, attractive girl was momentarily out of the house, when she just disappeared. Did she leave willingly, or was she forcefully coerced into leaving. The details are, to say the least, murky.

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A parent’s worst nightmare

Imagine, you are at home with your family. You may have just finished eating dinner, and you may be doing the dishes. All of a sudden your garbage fills up, and you ask your teenage daughter to go take out the trash. But then, she never returns. This is exactly what happened one day in 2015 to a woman named Vickie Metcalf, whose daughter Alissia Freeman disappeared after taking out the garbage.

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Life turned upside down

When she up and disappeared back in 2015, the girl, whose full name is Myra Alissia Freeman, was just a 17 year old girl. She was living with her family in the southern state of Alabama at the time with her family, including with Vickie Metcalf, her mother. But then, on Sunday, December 13, 2005, the world of both Vicki and her family was completely turned upside down.

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Taking out the trash

It was approximately 4:30 in the afternoon on a beautiful Alabama winter day when Alissia Freeman decided to take the trash out of her room’s trash can. She went outside to throw it out, but never came back in the house. Her family began to worry, but the worry abated a little bit when a neighbor told them that they had seen Alissia walking down the road. Perhaps she had just taken a stroll.

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Runaway

But after a while, she never came back. It was at this point that Vickie decided to call the police and report her own daughter as a missing person. It seemed as if the beautiful, brown haired blue eyed girl had run away, as there was evidence that she had deleted all of her social media accounts and had even wiped the hard drive of her computer completely clean of any information.

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Why did she run?

Vickie Metcalf spoke to a reporter from AL.com, an Alabama based news agency which covers breaking news from all across the state of Alabama. Vicki said that she had no idea why her daughter would ever run away from home, and that there were no signs that she was going to do so . Alissia was a star home school pupil, and seemed to have been getting along with her whole family quite well. Metcalf was still in shock.

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Meetup IRL?

One of the prevailing theories as to what had happened was that Alissia ran away with an online friend. This has happened with many children in the past when strangers reach out to them in chat rooms or online and lure them. Especially since Alissia was homeschooled her whole life, she may have not been taught about the dangers of speaking to strangers on the internet.

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Everyone searching

As the search intensified, more and more government agencies began to pitch in to look for this beautiful, naive little girl. Not only was the local county sheriff involved in the search ,so too was the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency as well as the FBI. While they tried to reconstruct Alissia’s digital presence, they also began canvassing people to look for the girl. Yet it turns out that no one saw Alissia ever get into a car.

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Reward

However, despite all of the hard work by the FBI, the local police, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, no one had seen any sign of Alissia. Despite all of the man hours put in by the relevant agencies, the investigation had hit a dead end. Vickie even offered a $13,500 reward to anyone who had any credible information as to her daughter’s whereabouts. And still, the trail had gone cold.

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Popping up everywhere

Over the following months multiple alleged sightings of Alissia Freeman were reported to local and national law enforcement. Some were local and in the area of the family home, while others were as far afield as New Orleans and Atlanta. There were multiple times that security camera footage caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Alissia, but in the end, turned out not to be her.

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Social media help

Alissia’s mother went so far as to set up a Facebook page titled “Help Find Alissia Freeman.” She posted and shared multiple photos of her daughter and appealed for information, offering the aforementioned $13,500 reward to anyone with credible information leading to her location. She was hoping beyond hope that someone would find her and be able to bring her back home safely.

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Scammers

There were many people who tried to take advantage of Vickie’s situation in order to scam money out of her. This happened on a lot more than one occasion in fact. An example of this happening occurred around the time of Freeman’s 18th birthday. Someone messaged Vickie saying that he had in fact seen her daughter, but he was with a person who extorted women for obscene purposes in Atlanta. A mother’s worst fear.

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Is she in Canada?

The scammer continued on with his story. He explained, in great, convincing, and excruciating detail, how Vickie’s daughter Alissia had been picked up from outside of her home and had been trafficked all over America, being passed from man to man. He then said that her daughter was in fact being held by a man in Canada, who would sell Alissia back to her family for a sum of $70,000.

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From Russia with malice

Of course, this greatly worried Vickie and her family, and given the detailed way the man explained what had happened to their daughter, the Vickie was about to give the man the $70,000. However, Vickie had the wherewithal to go to the FBI team helping to investigate her daughter’s disappearance with the information. They traced where the message had been posted from and discovered it was just another scammer from Russia.

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Sleepless nights


In another interview with Alabama news agency AL.com, she told reporters at the time that she had no clue as to whether her daughter is alive or not. She told reporters that she sleeps ok some nights, but other nights, she is up worrying about her daughter. However, she said “I’m just trying to keep faith that she will be coming home soon… We miss her and really worry about her.”

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First contact

But then one day in April 2017, a venerable miracle happened. Apparently, Alissia Freeman made contact with her mother. Vickie Metcalf was so excited that she went on to the “Help Find Alissia Freeman” page and posted about it. She was so excited because it was the first time she had heard from her daughter in over a year and a half. But that was only the beginning.

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Video chat

Vickie Metcalf would go on to report that Alissia had actually video chatted with her. This helped to confirm that it was in fact her daughter who was calling her, and not another random Russian scammer. Upon realizing that it was truly her, Vickie was shocked to learn that Alissia was no longer in Alabama, and was in fact a lot farther away from home. She was actually in El Paso, Texas.

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Could it be her?

Metcalf was warned that no matter how natural it may have felt and how certain she was that she had just spoken to her daughter, this may just be another, elaborate ruse. However, Vickie reported to the Crenshaw County Sheriff, Mickey Powell, that she felt good about the call. She posted on social media that Alissia was safe and fine, but that she would not be at liberty to discuss everything until the ordeal was settled.

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The test

Just a few days after the initial call, the Metcalf family flew out to El Paso to meet up with their long lost daughter. However, as is procedure, the FBI needed to conduct DNA tests in order to confirm that the girl in question was indeed Alissia. The FBI needed to make it certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was not just a scammer trying to play the family for cash.

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What happened?

Vickie has not made any information regarding the what happened to her daughter or what her daughter had been through during the close to year and a half time span that her daughter was gone. All that she would say to AL.com was that Alissia “went through some things when she was younger.” Vickie went on to add that “She’s had a hard time with it, and our communication wasn’t the best, and she didn’t think I’d understand. She is just trying to heal now.”

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Keep hope alive

Vickie Metcalf lived a literally parent’s worst nightmare – not knowing where her baby girl was and not knowing if she is safe or sound. When something like this happens, it is difficult to not think of the worst, much like the story the Russian scammer tried to sell Vickie. However, this case, and many others like it, show that there is still hope out there, and that happy endings are indeed possible.

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