Christina Whittaker has been missing since November 13, 2009. When someone goes missing, police have to follow up on leads and attempt to determine if the person missing fell victim to some type of crime, such as an abduction, or simply voluntarily left.
The Christina Whittaker case is an interesting one because she may very well be alive.
It appears that the young mother was troubled.
A missing person poster from Project Jason says that she suffered from fibromyalgia, is bi-polar, and suffers from depression.
Sometimes families of the missing are reluctant to disclose intimate personal details, to be consumed by the media and the public, for fear that authorities will not take the case as seriously and paint their loved one in a bad light.
Take the case of Kara Nichols who is missing from Colorado, for example. It appears that she was involved in the adult entertainment industry and may have left on her own. May have. Then again, she may have met with trouble and her family is desperate to find her.
In Christina Whittaker’s case, she had both physical and mental health issues for which she was taking medication for.
Even though she was bipolar and suffering from depression, she was at a bar, on a Friday night, in downtown Hannibal, MO, called the Rookies Sports Bar, drinking heavily on the last night that she was seen.
Anyone will tell you that bipolar medications and alcohol simply do not mix. The effects of the alcohol can be magnified which may have resulted in her appearing to be very intoxicated.
Although that might not have been a smart decision, it is what it is.
Oftentimes, people that are bipolar suffer from alcoholism or drug abuse and it is a link that is being studied.
Her mother, Cindy Young, has said that although her daughter was on numerous medications, she did not use street drugs.
Christina Whittaker was thrown out of the bar at 11:45 pm for her behavior toward other patrons and reports say she left alone. Some accounts have indicated that she initially met friends at the bar and, after being thrown out, left the bar alone. People in the bar have said Whittaker was drinking large quantities of alcohol.
All agree that she left the bar at 11:45 pm and was wearing a white T-shirt, pink tank top, jeans, and pink and white Nike shoes.
Christina, according to her mother, reportedly asked the bartender to tell her friends to give her a ride home. That was not successful so she went next door to River City Billiards and began to ask different people for a ride. She asked strangers and acquaintances alike. No one gave her a ride and she ran away in tears.
The family waited until Sunday to report her missing, which can be construed as a bit strange especially since her mother, Cindy Young, says that she and her daughter, Christina Whittaker, were very close and spoke several times each day or saw each other daily.
According to Young, her daughter talked to her boyfriend, Travis Blackwell,who is not the father of her child, at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and said she had a ride and would be home about midnight.
She told him she was going to stop by a restaurant and bring him something to eat.
He missed work the next morning because, since Whittaker was not home, he had to watch her daughter.
Capt. Jim Hark, Hannibal Missouri Police Department assistant chief, did not think it was unusual that her family waited so long to report her missing and said,
It’s not uncommon to have a person gone for a day or two, but after that, we start taking a hard look at what is going on.
That depends on the circumstances.
I do know that if one of my family members disappeared and did not come home, I would be very concerned and, after waiting only a few hours, would report it since my family members regularly stay in touch. I’d likely be even extra concerned if that family member suffered from mental health issues.
But that’s just me. Everyone is different.
Although it may seem very odd to many, it is perhaps a bit telling about the lifestyle that the troubled girl may have lead that a disappearance of a few days was nothing to be concerned about, although her mother insists that it is completely out of character for her to be away from home.
A 21-year-old girl who is the mother of a a 6-month-old baby and who allegedly either speaks to or sees her mother daily just ups and disappears, but she wasn’t reported missing right away can, I’ll admit, seem strange.
Perhaps she had gone on binges, or manic episodes, before and that was the reason the family did not want to overreact.
Soon other events started to unfold pointing towards the possibility that Christina Whittaker left on her own.
Christine Whittaker was allegedly spotted at Raedene’s Country Cafe in Creve Coeur, near East Period IL, at about 4 a.m. Monday, just days after her disappearance.
The Young family sought the help of Wesley Neff, owner of Northeast Missouri K9 Search and Rescue, who used a German Shepherd search dog named Zeus to assist the family in their search efforts.
The dog allegedly tracked Young’s scent south of the bar a few days after she disappeared and may have picked up her scent in Creve Coeur, IL.
People in the Cafe said they definitely saw her.
A waitress, Beth Taylor, was unwavering and said,
It was definitely her. I’m 110 percent sure.
The waitress said her hair had been dyed black or dark brown, but that her facial and physical features matched those in a photo later shown to cafe workers by police.
Taylor described a bizarre encounter with the woman she is sure is Christina Whittaker and said she was alone, had no coat, no purse and kept asking to use the phone. She apparently called someone but that person did not answer and later called the cafe back wanting to know who called her from that phone number.
According to the waitress, the caller had no clue why someone was calling from the restaurant and did not recognize the description that the waitress provided of the person she 100% believed was Whittaker.
Could Christina Whittaker been in the throes of a manic episode?
Could the heaving drinking, while on medication, on the night of her disappearance caused some kind of bipolar induced psychotic break?
There have been leads followed up on in St Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, and most recently in Peoria.
Most of the reports have focused on sightings of Whittaker within an area that is known for having prostitution activity in Peoria, IL.
Although there has been some speculation that she may have fell victim to Human Traffickers, she was seen alone a number of times and once, supposedly even ran away when confronted.
Her mother believes her daughter’s disappearance is gang related, although Police have ruled out foul play, and said,
It had already been on the streets that she had been taken to Peoria.
Peoria can be a very rough area and perhaps Christina Whittaker is not in her right mind and fell in with the wrong people, who are taking advantage of her. Without her medication, her mental health could have rapidly declined and she might be especially vulnerable.
A private investigator had announced that Christina Whittaker was alive but, at the family’s request, the information has since been removed so it is not known exactly what information was uncovered,
The family appeared on the Steve Wilkos show, in 2010, in an attempt to garner publicity and awareness to find their daughter.
In addition to Christina Whittaker’s family, Travis Blackwell, the boyfriend and Dustin Johnston, who is the father of Christina Whittaker’s baby were both on the show. Lie detector results were revealed and said that Blackwell failed the lie detector test not once, but twice.
The family did not believe the results. Cindy Young and said that Travis “would never do anything to hurt her” She also says, “Travis was here the night Christina disappeared. My son and his girlfriend were right across the hall. He was here.”
Perhaps. Cindy Young was out of town on the night of her daughter’s disappearance so she really can’t make that statement with 100% certainty.
She later regretted their decision to appear on the show saying,
What they do is they take families’ tragedies, and they turn them into their ratings. They don’t care about us. They promised us to get Christina’s face out there to help find her. It’s getting her face out there, but it’s not helping us get her home by making people believe she’s dead. That’s not helping us. I wish we hadn’t done it, but at the time, I didn’t know about the show. I didn’t know what type of show it was, but hindsight is 20/20. You have somebody missing, you do whatever you do to get them home. It doesn’t come with a manual.
The episode was rebroadcast on the Steve Wilkos show in June of 2012.
On a show that aired on Friday, January 18, 2013, there was an announcement that the show would be rebroadcast this month, however that show may have simply been a rerun of a show that had aired previously to the Christina Whittaker episode.
Whittaker’s daughter will soon be turning four and the family of Christina Whittaker hopes to find their daughter and will not give up. Effort to find her seem to remain focused in the Period, IL area.
If you have any information on Christina Whittaker’s whereabouts, you’re asked to contact the Hannibal Police Department at (573) 221-0987.