Truth is almost always stranger (and scarier) than fiction. That’s certainly the situation with the news coming out of Evansville, Indiana, where a woman was found after being missing for 2 months and being held captive in a wooden cage.
Fortunately, this story has a positive ending. This post discusses details of the Evansville case and why private investigators can help in missing person cases.
On September 4, 2014, Ron Higgs was going to visit his ex-wife, Kendra Tooley (44), along with her boyfriend, Ricky Roy House, Jr. (37). While he was visiting with the couple, his ex-wife told him that they had a woman they were keeping in a cage.
Shocked, Higgs learned that House and Tooley let the woman (who they were holding against her will) out to cook and clean for them.
When Higgs saw the woman, she pleaded for his help. He returned the next day and drove her to safety after convincing House and Tooley that he was not going to contact the police.
As soon as Higgs and the woman were away, they notified the authorities. Police from the Evansville Police Department, as well as the Posey County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of the home and arrested the captors. The preliminary charges against the two include criminal confinement and rape. As the investigation is proceeding, the investigators say that it appears that the motive for the captivity was sexual in nature, as is often the case with these sorts of abductions.
The abducted woman told the police that House, who she said had gone to school with her, offered a ride to another part of town while she was walking along an Evansville road. Instead of taking her directly to her destination, House said they should stop at his home first. It was at that point that he and his girlfriend forced the woman to stay there. They soon confined her to the makeshift wooden cage. She said that they would occasionally let her out to walk around their trailer.
According to the hospital, the woman was in good physical health, although there may be some effects from malnourishment. Reportedly, she did not eat much at all during her captivity. Additionally, there will be both emotional and mental issues that will likely need therapy, according to specialists.
If this case sounds familiar, it’s because things like this happen far more often than we might want to think. Not long ago that three women were found prisoner in the home of Ariel Castro in Cleveland. He plead guilty to kidnapping and rape and then committed suicide in September 2013.
Connections to other missing persons?
This is not the first Evansville area woman to have gone missing recently. On August 25, a woman named Kristy Kelley, 27, went missing from the Booneville, IN VFW. Initially, there was some speculation that these two cases could have a connection. While it is early into the investigation, it does not seem as though that’s the case. The police said that they have not found evidence in the trailer that connected them to Kelley’s disappearance.
While there may not be a connection, it does help to shed more light onto Kelley’s case. By bringing it back into the spotlight, family members hope that it could help them to find their missing loved one.
Help finding the missing
Families and friends who are dealing with missing loved ones are going through terrible mental anguish. The pain and the not knowing are hard to comprehend. While the police certainly try to do their part, they can’t always focus enough time on any given case. Family members and friends are limited with their time as well.
Professional private investigators who have experience when it comes to finding missing loved ones and family can be a huge help, because they have years of experience and dedicate more time to the case. There are a few private investigators in the United States that can take these cases to the ultimate investigative level of obtaining unprecedented press coverage of the missing person. Not every case will warrant or even merit calling a press conference. If you try it in every case, no one will ever show up. There are two important elements to a successful press conference. First is the CALL and second in the HOOK. Calling the press is the easy part. We prefer using a credible public relations firm to coordinate this effort. The hook is more difficult in that there must be some serious newsworthy event in the case to merit TV, radio and the print media to haul all their cameras and gear to press conference venue.
Here is a video of our most recent news conference called on September 12. 2014 in the missing person case of Derek Seehausen, a 4th year medical student at the University of Southern California. The conference was held on the campus of USC in the Aresty auditorium and was very well attended by all branches of the media.