A black SUV slowly pulled out of a driveway in Spanish Lake, MO. The vehicle is found 25 miles away in the roughest part of St. Louis. The door was slung open, the engine left running, and the driver was missing. What happened to this beautiful young college student? Seven years later her grieving parents still pray for answers.
Phoenix Coldon, 23 had recently moved back into her parent’s home in the Spanish Lake suburb of St. Louis Missouri. The deeply religious family upbringing had sheltered the young woman from the dangers of the world around her. On the outside, the smart, outgoing Phoenix had a bright future ahead of her. She was a fencing champion, a talented pianist, and made friends easily. She was surrounded by love, how could this sweet girl go awry? I wish I knew.
On December 18, 2011, Phoenix and her mother attended morning services at their local church. The pair made a stop on their way home but arrived in the early afternoon. Around 3 pm, her father noticed Phoenix walk out to her black SUV and pull out of the driveway. He didn’t think much about it until she didn’t return. What happened to his lovely daughter? Phoenix had lived away from home for a while, but as long as she lived under their roof, she never stayed out past 2 am. The next morning Phoenix was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, when Goldia Coldon tried to file a missing persons report she was informed her daughter was of age and the report wasn’t taken seriously. Goldia tried to explain that her daughter still lived at home and had always come home on time. Finally, the report was taken, but that wouldn’t be the only obstacle the parents would face. They quickly found that getting media attention was nearly impossible.
Within three hours of the SUV leaving the driveway, the vehicle was found abandoned in one of the roughest places in East St. Louis. The location was only 25 miles from her home, but it was a world away from the quiet life she led. No one could understand why she would go to East St. Louis. The vehicle brought on more questions, a few conspiracy theories, but unfortunately no answers.
For seven years it has been told this way:
The 1998 Chevy Bronco was found parked in the traffic lane on the corner of 9th St & St. Clair Ave, East St. Louis, Illinois. The driver’s door was open, and the engine was running. The initial reports claimed there wasn’t anything left in the vehicle. The 911 call came it at 5:27 pm on December 18, 2011, and the officer arrived on the scene at 5:35 pm. Here is where the problems begin. For seven long years, people were working with this story with these facts. It leads people to believe that poor Phoenix was pulled from her vehicle in a violent way. The Bronco was found next to Interstate 70 which is known as the human trafficking highway. This made investigators immediately think of this possible scenario. I’m not so sure, and I will tell you why.
When conducting interviews for the documentary “The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon,” the hosts speak with the first officer on the scene. This interview would shake up the entire investigation. The attending officer claimed the vehicle was not running when he came upon it, and the driver’s door was not open. Where did this story come from then? Who knows?
The Double Life of Phoenix:
Investigations tend to kick up all your dirty little secrets and seems Phoenix wasn’t as saintly as initially described. Everyone has their problems, and it appeared the 23-year-old was struggling with her share of difficulties. Phoenix was homeschooled for most of her education and many wonder if she was too sheltered and just decided to break out and try something new. In fact, she did move out of the house when she started college. But, if her home life was so restricting and terrible, then why would she move back into her parents’ home in early 2011. This theory doesn’t hold water with me. There are many other ways to leave the nest.
Phoenix was leading a double life of sorts. After her disappearance, her parents discovered she kept a separate cell phone just to speak with friends she thought her parents wouldn’t approve of. Also when she had rented an apartment earlier, she wasn’t living with a female friend. Going against her religious upbringing, Phoenix was living with her boyfriend; Michael B. Supposedly, she was on the phone with Michael B. on the day she disappeared, but frankly, nothing seems for sure in this case. If Michael B. was the last person to talk to her, then why do investigators adamantly claim he wasn’t involved in her disappearance. It’s strange to hear an investigator say that they are 100% sure someone wasn’t involved. Maybe the guy was in jail, or in the hospital, I don’t know. But everything was so vague, and it’s hard to understand why the police wrote him off as a person of interest.
Continuing with Phoenix’s secrets, we also find out that she had been dating another man from school also named Michael. We will call him Mike#2. It was later determined that Mike #2 had a violent nature with women when his ex-girlfriend came forward to talk to investigators. She would eventually have to file a restraining order against him. Could Mike #2 have anything to do with Phoenix’s disappearance? The ex is unsure. He did seem to be overly interested in the case but said it was just because he had known her.
“Why are you worrying about someone who’s dead?”
Those are the words that fell from the lips of Mike #2 when his ex-girlfriend continued to question him about his interest in this case. How did he know she’s dead? More importantly, what are investigators doing about it?
Phoenix’s Best Friend:
When interviewed by the investigators for the documentary, Phoenix’s next door neighbor and best friend came forward to talk with the hosts. She claimed to know some things about her friend and had been afraid to say anything in the beginning. This friend claims Phoenix had grown paranoid in the last few months before her disappearance. She claimed Phoenix talked about leaving and even said she was afraid something terrible was going to happen to her. She claimed Phoenix was driving around with a large knife tucked in beside the drivers’ seat of her Bronco. Strangely, this knife wasn’t found in the abandoned vehicle.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do with this. Yes, there is evidence to show that Phoenix had gotten mixed up with a rough crowd, but why would the friend just now be showing up to talk? Why would she talk on camera if she were so afraid? She didn’t even ask for them to hide her identity. I don’t know. Maybe she is legit, but I find it funny when someone who’s afraid to come forward suddenly jumps into the limelight of television.
The Fateful Video:
When the hosts spoke with the family, they were given a bunch of evidence and documentation the family had collected over the past seven years. In this pile of evidence was a “selfie video” of Phoenix. In this video, we see the true nature of Phoenix’s mental anguish. She felt like she couldn’t turn to anyone and she just wanted to start over. After watching the film, it is apparent that Phoenix’s life was spiraling out of control. What had she gotten involved with? Why did she say she would have been better off to stay the way she used to be?
Investigators came back to the poor parents and said they believe the runaway theory. Of course, if this is true, she sure did a great job hiding her identity for seven years. I still think if she’s alive she was lured away by someone. I don’t believe she would go through all of this without stashing away some clothes and building an identity for herself ahead of time. Her family still thinks she was forced into the sex trade. They even interviewed local prostitutes and visited the strip clubs hoping someone would recognize their daughter.
Tragedy upon Tragedy:
During the most difficult time of their lives, the Coldon family should be surrounded by loving friends and supportive strangers. Instead, their misfortune has been compounded by grief upon grief. A few days after Phoenix went missing, Goldia received a phone call from a female claiming to be her daughter. Police tracked down the caller to find it was a 14-year-old prankster from California. Who would do such a thing?
If that weren’t bad enough, the Coldons spent every dime they had trying to investigate their daughter’s disappearance. When they had spent their savings and were nearly wiped out they got a tip out of Texas claiming their daughter was in a prostitution ring. This caller needed money to buy her out. Of course, the grief-stricken parents gave them the money only to find out it was another horrid hoax. This one left them nearly homeless. Their family home was behind, and the lender was threatening to foreclose. A stranger stepped in and helped negotiate a quick sale for the family. Although they avoided foreclosure, they still lost their family home.
“It’s just money, and it’s just a house,” Goldia said. “It wasn’t a home when she’s not there.”
Sightings & Rumors:
To make this case even more bizarre, the private investigator says there is evidence that Phoenix had been taking money from her parents’ safe and had found out she had two separate birth certificates. One certificate was with the Coldon name, and the other was with her mother’s maiden name. The parents’ deny this, but why would their own private investigator say this? Also, when tracking down the maiden name theory, investigators found a person by that name living in Alaska. They made the trip up there only to find out the person at the given address had never heard of Phoenix. Could that be a coverup? Could Phoenix really have run away and used a random address? Who knows.
If that’s not enough twists for you, here’s another one. Two years after Phoenix went missing one of her church friends was on an airplane coming home from Vegas when she saw Phoenix in a group of well-dressed women. She called out her name, and strangely the woman looked at her.
“Do I look like someone?” was the woman’s response. Two men were with the group, and the crowd moved past the stunned friend. Was this really Phoenix? The concerned woman immediately reported the incident to airport security. The entire place was searched, but no one found Phoenix or the group of people. Was this really Phoenix? Were the ladies high priced escorts and the men their bouncers, or was this a random group of people?
Through all the chaos, hoaxes, and turmoil Goldia and Lawrence Coldon are still searching for their precious baby girl. Where is Phoenix Coldon? Who took her? Did she go on her own? Is she still alive? These questions and more torment the poor mother causing panic attacks and even a heart attack. If you have any information or if you have seen Phoenix, please contact the St. Louis County Police Department 314-615-5317
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