Twenty-five years ago, October 11, 1993, Sandi Crane walked into the Custer County Sheriff’s office to report that she could not find her nine-year-old daughter, Stephanie. Stephanie had just celebrated her ninth birthday on September 28, 1993. This year, she would be celebrating her 34th birthday.
A search was launched by the Custer County Sheriff’s Office. The searchers included Custer County Sheriff’s deputies, Custer County Search and Rescue, and the Challis Volunteer Fire Department.
The search -– which included about 300 searchers -- was suspended about 12:30 a.m. on October 12th, and plans were made to resume the search at 7:00 a.m..
Even with the assistance of the Idaho State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Idaho Fish and Game officers, and a team of tracking dogs, Stephanie could not be located. The boat crews who checked the river from Challis to Salmon were also unable to turn up any sign of the girl.
In 1993, Stephanie’s case was featured on the popular TV series, “America’s Most Wanted,” the television show “Front Page,” and was also on CNN and a number of local stations. In April of this year, Stephanie’s case was featured on the show “Disappeared,” an American documentary program on the Investigation Discovery Channel.
The program contains re-enactments and interviews with law enforcement officers, investigators, and relatives connected with cases in which individuals have gone missing. Each episode features a single case of either one individual, or sometimes several individuals who have disappeared together.
After Stephanie’s case aired on “Disappeared,” the Custer County Sheriff’s Office received a number of leads. The Sheriff’s Office checked them out, to no avail.
When Stephanie disappeared, she was 4-feet 2-inches tall and weighed between 65 to 85 pounds. She was wearing a maroon and white hooded sweatshirt with the word “GIMMIE” imprinted across the front. She was also wearing maroon sweatpants and maroon and white tennis shoes.
Stephanie has brown hair and blue eyes. Her face is freckled and, at the time of her disappearance, she had a space between her two upper front teeth. She had a cowlick on the right side of her hairline and a scar near her right eye.
Stephanie was last seen about 6 p.m. near the Challis Lanes Bowling Alley.
Some people believe that she was headed to the Challis High School to watch soccer practice, while others believe she was headed home.
The Custer County Sheriff’s Office is still working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Idaho State Police, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other agencies on Stephanie’s case. Officials say her case will remain open until she is found.
According to The Charley project website, a man named Keith Glenn "Mark" Hescock has been investigated for what authorities believe is his possible involvement in Stephanie's case –- as well as the disappearance of Amber Hoopes.
Hescock kidnapped a fourteen-year-old Hoopes from outside her home early on the morning of June 5, 2002. “He had known her family. The girl was able to escape that afternoon when he went to work, leaving her chained to a bed in his home,” the website says.
“When the police attempted to arrest him, Hescock fled in his vehicle and lead them on a forty-mile high-speed chase, which ended at a dead-end road in the Big Hole Mountains. There he shot and killed a police dog, shot and wounded an officer, and then committed suicide.
“Hescock had previously worked for Hoopes's grandparents, and his neighbor says he was hunting in Challis, Idaho the weekend Stephanie disappeared from that location. He also owned a yellow pickup truck similar to the one that may be connected to Stephanie's case.
“Authorities have not been able to link him to either disappearance, however. His only criminal record in Idaho had been for poaching, but he had felony convictions in other states,’ the website adds.
Stephanie Crane’s case remains unsolved. She has three younger sisters and is described as a tomboy who was part of the youth bowling league -- and enjoyed going hunting with her father. Her parents divorced in mid-1994 and both of them are now deceased; her mother died in 1997; her father, in 2012.
If you have any information about Stephanie’s disappearance, you are encouraged to call the Custer County Sheriff’s Office at 208-879-2232 or you can call the Custer County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 208-879-5372 and leave a message. You can also call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-842-5678). You can leave a comment on Sheriff Lumpkin’s Facebook page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In hopes of bringing a resolution to Stephanie’s case, there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction for the person responsible for Stephanie’s disappearance.