CHALLIS, Idaho — October 11 marked 27 years since 9-year-old Stephanie Crane was last seen in Challis, Idaho. The day after her disappearance, 300 searchers, including two planes and multiple government agencies joined the search.
Original reports say Stephanie had gone bowling with her friends after school and the league was usually done around 4:45 p.m. She was reported missing by her mother at around 8:15 p.m., who had gone searching for her before going to the Custer County Sheriff's Office.
The information first received to the Sheriff's Office was Stephanie had been seen by someone heading home. But then, before leaving the bowling alley, Stephanie told someone there she was going to the football field. The Sheriff and one of the deputies searched the creek between the bowling alley and the Crane residence.
The start of the search centered around the creek, Crane Sawmill, the elementary school, high school and eventually all of Challis. All ofStephanie's school friends were contacted, and most of her classmates were contacted along with the bowling team, no one had seen her.
At the time of her disappearance, there was no such thing as AMBER Alerts or social media, so Custer County Police relied on volunteers to hand out fliers with Stephanie's picture. Over the years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Idaho State Police and the FBI continued to follow leads in the hopes to find Stephanie.
Her case has been featured on shows like America's Most Wanted, Cold Case Spotlight and Disappeared. As of this month, The Custer County Sheriff's Office is still receiving tips and they are asking people to come forward with any information.
Both of Stephanie's parents have passed away without knowing what happened to her. Sandi Crane passed in 1997 and Ben Crane died in 2012, both from natural causes. There are still sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles that would like to know what happened to Stephanie.
There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible. If you think you might have information, call the Custer County Sheriff's Office at 208-879-2232.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Of those, there are 115 child "stranger abduction" cases each year, which means the child was taken by an unknown person.