Fourteen years later and still no closure in case of missing Steelville, Missouri woman
Liehnia May Chapin
Liehnia May Chapin has been missing from Dent Couty, Missouri since February 14, 2006 and is classified as an endangered missing person.
Liehnia Maywas last seen at her apartment outside of Steelville in Dent County, Missouri. and her fiance told police they said goodbye when he left that morning, and when he returned in the evening, Chapin was gone and her mother was cleaning out her apartment.
Chapin's mother, Sandra Klemp, told investtigators Chapin had gone to Florida with another man in a black 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. She has never been heard from again. She wasn't reported missing until November 2008, and the Dent County Sheriff's Office didn't actually begin investigating her case until 2012, six years after she was last seen.
Her mother has never cooperated with the investigation into her daughter's disappearance.
Chapin's fiance moved out of the apartment about a month after her disappearance. When cleaning out the unit, the apartment building's owner noted that a window was broken and there was a large dark-colored stain on the carpet that couldn't be shampooed out.
The apartment owner didn't suspect foul play at the time and threw the carpet away. The unit was later destroyed in an accidental fire.
Chapin's stepfather, Gary McCullough, disappeared in 1999, when she was thirteen years old. In 2003, Chapin went to Gary's brother Albert and told him her Sandra had shot Gary three times in the head and then made her help clean up the crime scene.
Chapin said she and Sandra cleaned up the blood, pulled up the carpets and bleached the floor, and they wrapped Gary's body in plastic and burned it in a brush fire until only bone fragments remained. She had told a similar story to one of her sisters.
She said she did it because she didn't want her mother to go to prison and leave her five sisters without a caregiver.
Albert recorded Chapin's statement without her knowledge. And he took the tape to the authorities.
When the sheriff's office contacted Chapin, however, Sandra hired a lawyer for her, and she exercised her right to remain silent and refused to speak to the police.
She did not recant her statement, however.
Sandra claimed her marriage to Gary was a happy one, but Gary's friends stated the relationship was very troubled and he planned to leave her and was moving his belongings into a friend's residence.
She was having an affair with Kristopher Klemp at the time of Gary's disappearance, something Kristopher admitted to the police. Gary was allegedly aware of the affair.
Within a few days of Gary's disappearance, Kristopher had moved in with Sandra.
In June 1999, authorities charged Klemp with conspiracy to commit murder; he allegedly tried to hire someone to kill Gary. The charge was dropped for lack of evidence in August 1999, however.
Kristopher and Sandra married each other in May 2000, one month after she obtained a divorce from Gary. Kristopher was Sandra's fourth husband. Gary's brother Albert had been her second, and Gary was her third.
Chapin disappeared approximately three years after she made her statement. She left a young son in Sandra's care. Sandra had wanted legal guardianship over Chapin's son, but Chapin refused to consent saying it would happen "over my dead body." She wanted to take the child with her and move to Arkansas.
Sandra has since adopted the boy.
Gary was declared legally dead in 2005. In 2012, his two daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Chapin, Sandra and Kristopher, as well as Kristopher's former wife, Jennifer Lee Brattin-Klemp.
The lawsuit alleged Sandra and Kristopher conspired to kill Gary. Jennifer allegedly picked Kristopher up outside the McCullough property in the early morning hours around the time Gary disappeared, and Kristopher had a gun with him at the time.
Although a summons was issued for Chapin to testify in the civil trial, it was never delivered.
The tape-recorded statement she made was not played before the jury, although Chapin's sister testified that Chapin had made a similar statement to her. Two of Sandra's children stated they had seen Gary's truck still parked at home on the evening of his disappearance, after Sandra said he had already left.
In the summer of 2013, the civil jury unanimously awarded $7 million in damages to Gary's daughters in connection with his wrongful death.
Kristopher and Sandra divorced in 2014 and Sandra has since married her fifth husband and lives in Mount Vernon, Missouri.
Chapin attended Salem High School, but did not graduate. She got involved with drugs while she was still young and got into minor trouble with the law, but she was close to her family and her sisters said she tried to be a good mother to her son and would not have willingly abandoned him.
There has been no activity on Chapin's Social Security number since her disappearance, and she left all her belongings behind.
It's unclear whether Gary and Chapin's disappearances are connected, but foul play is suspected in both cases.
Do you have information? You may contact the (Barry County Sheriff's Office (417) 847-3121. You may contact the Dent County Sheriff's Office at (573) 729-3241 or the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Toll-Free Telephone Line at: (800) 877-3452. The Missing Persons Unit provides a toll-free hotline for parents, law enforcement agencies or others to provide information about missing and unidentified persons. You may email: firstname.lastname@example.org