Authorities say you have about 48 hours to find a missing or kidnapped person before the task becomes more difficult. That’s because, after two days, perpetrators typically have plenty of time to wrap up their crimes, cover their tracks, and flee the scene. But in Mesa, Arizona, one 10-year-old missing persons case broke all the rules.
After a decade with no results, investigators had long declared the case of a kidnapped girl ice cold. But when an anonymous man found a shocking tip amidst a collection of cash donations to his local Girl Scouts troop, investigators wondered if the kidnapper might actually still be out there—and if they had a real shot of finding him.
On January 2, 1999, 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs was pedaling her bike in circles just four houses down from where she lived with her parents and three siblings in Mesa, Arizona. Clutching several quarters in her hands, she eagerly awaited the ice cream truck.
Then, just 90 seconds after her younger sister, Kimber, had last seen her, Mikelle was suddenly gone. Her bike laid in the middle of the road—tires still spinning—and the quarters she’d held were scattered across the asphalt.
With no sign of her daughter anywhere, Mikelle’s mother, Tracy Biggs, desperately called the police. Immediate evidence suggested “she was running from somebody,” said detective Jerry Gisse. “It wasn’t somebody that she knew or wanted to be with.”
And so began one of the most intensive investigations ever conducted by the Mesa Police Department. National news aggressively covered the disappearance of the sixth-grade honor student who aspired to be a Disney animator.
The night Mikelle disappeared, investigators set up road blocks and interviewed passing motorists. Meanwhile, authorities posted fliers with her class photo all over Mesa. That was only the beginning…