South Elgin teen has been missing for 7 weeks
Seventeen-year-old Kianna Galvin of South Elgin vanished from home seven weeks ago, leaving her family distraught and authorities searching for clues.
Police say they have no evidence -- no note left behind, no one who heard her scream or saw her being dragged into a car -- that points to Kianna either being a runaway or the victim of foul play.
Kianna's disappearance "definitely" is out of the ordinary, South Elgin Police Chief Chris Merritt said.
"This is the only time I can remember that anything like this has happened, where there has been no contact," he said. "Usually with a teenager you hear something, on social media, or a text."
Her friends and parents are adamant she would never disappear without a word. "It's just not like her," said her mother, Fiona Galvin.
Kianna was fired from her housekeeping job May 5, the day before she was last seen, but was in a cheerful mood that night.
When she left home around 12:30 p.m. the next day, she told her younger sister she was going to nearby Jim Hansen Park, where she and her friends often hung out. Her last confirmed sighting was on her block, at about that time, police said.
She left at home her wallet, purse and phone charger, carrying only her cellphone -- which hasn't pinged since May 6. Her social media accounts have stayed silent as well. She has no car, bank account or access to a credit card.
Sgt. Mike Flaningam, the lead detective on the case, said he's been working it nonstop.
"We are still getting plenty of leads and plenty of tips, but nothing has yet panned out."
Police have conuducted searches of her mother's home in South Elgin and the Rockford homes of her father and stepmother, as well as Jim Hansen Park and along Stearns Road. Elgin police have assisted with searching at least two locations in town.
Rumors abound, especially on Facebook, leading to frustrating hours spent chasing down second- and third-hand accounts, Flaningam said. He declined to give specifics, but said the investigation has gone as far as Bloomingdale.
Nothing so far has shed light on her whereabouts.
Her parents said they believe Kianna went to the park to meet someone, possibly a recent acquaintance, and at first went somewhere willingly with that person.
That's certainly a suspicion, although police can't speculate, Flaningam said. "We do believe this is an isolated incident," he said.
"We're continuing to look at everything and continuing to have an open mind, and just conducting the investigation by the numbers as we see fit," Merritt said.
Meanwhile, the days tick by and Kianna's 18th birthday approaches July 16.
"This is like a living nightmare," Fiona Galvin said. "I'm crying all the time. I didn't know you could cry this much in your life."
"You see this stuff on TV and you read about other people's predicaments like this," said her father, Everick York. "When you go through it, it's a totally different ride. It's a nightmare. You can't believe it's happening to you."
Her mother said she's left Kianna's room untouched since her disappearance. Police took some items, such as a hairbrush and computer, as part of their investigation.
A pink basket of clean laundry sits on Kianna's bed, the pink bed sheets still unmade. Calvin Klein makeup is on a dresser, a Victoria's Secret bag on the floor. A poster on the wall says, "Stay strong, be free."
"I don't go in there. It's just too upsetting for me to go in there and spend time like that," her mother said.
Kianna is very social, occasionally defiant, but also loving and caring, her parents said.
"She's pretty tough, but she's reliable when it comes to family," her father said.
Her last Facebook post, dated a half-hour before she left home May 6, states: "My momma raised a good women (sic) in me, my father showed me how to be independent."
Fiona Galvin said she and her daughter forged a close relationship after going through rocky times when she was younger. Things improved greatly after the teen went to live with her father for about year, she said. "We're very close now."
Kianna recently got off juvenile probation stemming from a bad argument with her mother, Fiona Galvin said, declining to elaborate. Any juvenile record is not germane to his investigation, Flaningam said.
She had attended South Elgin High School and Auburn High School in Rockford, and was working on getting her GED, her parents said.
She didn't have a boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend was arrested on unrelated charges in May, when police said they had no reason to believe he was involved with Kianna's disappearance.
The day before she went missing, she was fired from her housekeeping job at South Elgin Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, where she had worked for about two months. She had some attendance issues, supervisor Rachel Camp said.
"She was kind of quiet. She kept to herself. She came and did her job," she said. "She was upset, but it didn't seem like she was distraught."
That evening around midnight, her father said, he received a cheery call from Kianna. Later, he found out she had been at a Dave & Buster's in Addison. "It was normal for her to call out of the blue or send me a quick text, saying, 'I'm thinking about you,' " York said.
None of Kianna's friends have heard from her, said Brandy Binion, 17, who lives a few blocks away.
"I don't think she ran away. Missing Mother's Day, she wouldn't do her mom like that, because they were so close," Binion said. "She'd at least tell one of her friends where's she's at."
To remember Kianna, Binion said, she and other girlfriends recently got a tattoo of a heart, pulse sign and cross, similar to one Kianna has on her wrist. "We don't know what happened," she said.
South Elgin is receiving help with the case from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Kane County sheriff's office, Flaningam said. A private investigator has offered his services for free.
The case has taken a personal toll on him too, Flaningam said. "I'm preoccupied with this," he said. "I can't begin to fathom the pain (her family) is going through with not knowing where she is. I'm experiencing it at a small level."
He also said he's confident Kianna will come home safely.
"As most detectives do, I take ownership of my case and I want to solve it. I want a resolution -- I don't care if it's me or the marshals who find her. I want her to come home."