Leaving her parents home in her black Chevy Blazer on the cold Sunday afternoon of 28th December 2011, 23 year old Phoenix Coldon would never be seen again.
Her SUV was apparently found, engine still running with the driver’s side door open, nearly three hours later in a East St. Louis street. Sitting in the middle of traffic, seemingly abandoned in a hurry, less than 30 minutes away from where she was last seen. Most of her belongings, glasses, purse, and ID, were still inside.
Or was it? This is the scenario that has been widely reported since 2012 but recently Officer Kendall Perry, who initially responded to the call, claims there were none of these red flags. The car just seemed dumped, like it was out of fuel. Door shut and engine off, no sign of a carjacking. Why a story change, all these years later?
The member of the public who found her vehicle called police at 5:27 p.m. An officer (Perry) was dispatched a minute later and arrived on the scene at 5:42 p.m., according to the police report.
The car was entered into the database by police as abandoned, meaning her family were not informed of it being found until it was discovered in a tow lot by a family friend on the 2nd of January. Phoenix’s bank accounts and phone had not been used in that time. No DNA other than hers or her parents were found inside the vehicle.
It had been dumped in a high crime area. The St. Louis County Police Department brought cadaver dogs to the scene, spending countless man-hours trying to figure out what happened. Her parents felt like the police were not doing enough, so they themselves hired PI’s, whilst also talking to drug dealers on the streets and interviewing sex workers, eventually draining their life savings and having to foreclose on the family home, trying to find their daughter.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed authorities eventually learned that Coldon had not enrolled for the upcoming semester in college and had previously lived with a boyfriend before moving back in with her parents.
Retired St. Louis Deputy Chief of Police Joe Delia said:
“Phoenix was a person who had many different facets of a personality. There was a side of Phoenix who was the church-going, bell-swinging girl. And then there was this other side of Phoenix who was experimenting in rap music and drugs.”
“And we talked to multiple friends,” added Delia. “The picture they depicted was one of a very complicated girl. There were two sides to Phoenix, by everyone’s account. Some people knew one side and some people knew the other side to her… She was struggling between home life and boyfriends. She was using some drugs. School wasn’t going [well] towards the end. So those kinds of things, I think, had an impact on her.”
Family PI, Steve Foster, claimed to have found two birth certificates for Phoenix. One with her last name Colden, and the other in her mother’s maiden name, Reeves. That tip lead police to look into the four Phoenix Reeves living in the USA. Three where eliminated based on background but the fourth, however, had no date of birth, social security number or relatives listed, and only one address in Alaska. The address was associated to that name from January 2012 to June 2012 but the person who owned the home, nor any of the neighbours knew anyone by that name or recognised her photo.
No evidence was found that she ever tried to use the name Phoenix Reeves at any time.
In 2014 Kellie Fronhert, a friend of Phoenix’s, was on a flight from Las Vegas to St. Louis with a women she was sure was her missing friend.
“I was already seated on the flight. There were people still boarding. And I looked up, and that’s when I saw her. She was with a group of women. She walked right in front of me,” Fronhert said. “And I looked at her face. And I said, ‘Phoenix?'”Oxygen Interview with Kellie
Fronhert claimed that when she called Phoenix’s name, the woman turned to her and said, “Oh, do I look like someone?”
Fronhert replied, “Yes, you do, you look like my friend Phoenix.”
Fronhert said the woman kept walking and did not engage with her any further.
She said the woman was travelling with other women and two men aged 35-40 years old. Southwest airlines called the police after she told staff about her missing friend but they were unable to find her in the airport when they landed.
“I’m confident that that was her” Fronhert said.
Other Colden family friends claim to have sighted Phoenix since her disappearance, but none have been confirmed.
The Oxygen network aired a two-part special about her disappearance. Here are three theories they explored:
1. She Was Abducted By Sex Traffickers:
“The St. Louis metro region is one of the top 20 areas in the country for human trafficking,” State Rep. Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, said in a statement posted by the Missouri Sheriff’s Association.
Interstate-70, which Thomas referred to as “the sex trafficking highway of America” runs straight through the city and provides easy access to anyone looking to move goods, or humans, for nefarious purposes.
2. She Met With Some Other Form of Foul Play:
After Coldon disappeared all activity on her bank accounts, cell phone and social media accounts seemed to abruptly halt, suggesting she may have met with some form of foul play that ended in her death that December afternoon.
3. She Ran Away :
Another persistent theory is that Coldon may have willingly run away. Thomas said during their investigation they did find evidence to suggest that Coldon may have “left on her own,” although it’s unclear what she may have been running from or running to that afternoon.
While there has been numerous reported sightings of Phoenix, none have been confirmed and her parents do not believe the theory that she ran away that day. Police say they are waiting for new leads on the case.
She was last seen wearing a black or dark blue hooded sweatshirt, gray sweatpants with the word “Lindenwood” or the letters “UMSL” on one leg, and black sneakers, according to The Charley Project.
So few facts are known in regards to her disappearance, she seemingly did just vanish into thin air…
- St. Louis County Police Department 314-615-5317