Thursday, September 8, 2016

Update on the podcast

Hey there, everyone! Been a while since I put out an episode, so just wanted to give you all a quick update.

Haven't been able to record anything for the past month-and-a-half or so, been taking a bit hiatus to get personal things taken care of. Just moved cross-country (from the Pacific Northwest to the humidity of Georgia) via road-trip, been settling into the new abode, visiting/being visited by family, and just adopted a rescue puppy (a Boxer mix named Rocky... kid's as stubborn and pouty as I am, but he's an awesome puppy and I already love him).

Currently waiting for my recording equipment to be delivered, but currently in the working stages of THREE new episodes (read: 3) that are all widely different and interesting in their own right. Really excited to get recording again, and hope to kick off the Fall with a new batch of episodes.

So, I also want to thank all of you for being so awesome and patient. I really appreciate it. It seems like I always have something getting in the way of this podcast, but I hope that this move will help clear up a lot of that and I can start giving a good amount of time and attention to it.

I'll keep you all updated (and hopefully be posting a new episode over the next few weeks), but thanks again, all!

13 - Misty Copsey (Part Two: Victim)

This episode of the podcast was uploaded on July 20th. Sorry for the wait in getting everything updated, things have been hectic recently and I apologize.



Hello, welcome to the Unresolved Podcast. I am your host Micheal Whelan, and this episode is part two of the Misty Copsey story. If you haven't listened to part one, I highly recommend you go back and listen to that beforehand.

In summary, in fall of 1992, fourteen-year-old Misty Copsey went missing after splitting up with her friend, Trina Bevard, at the Puyallup Fair. She hadn't been seen or heard of for months, but police decided to slap the runaway label on her case, and hadn't been actively investigating her whereabouts.

Misty Copsey

A local man named Cory Bober, who claimed to have predicted Misty's disappearance and warned the local police department beforehand, took it upon himself to find out what happened to Misty. Claiming that a former friend was the person responsible - and that he was also the Green River Killer - Bober led a private investigation, which ultimately led him to the only piece of evidence recovered thus far: some articles of clothing that Misty was wearing on the night of her disappearance. These articles of clothing were found just a few hundred feet from where the bodies of two teenage girls were found in the years prior - bodies that police believed belonged to a serial killer.

From here, the label of the "teenage runaway" would begin to slip further and further away from the case, and police had to take Cory Bober seriously.

Detective Jim Doyon

Detective Jim Doyon was sent out to the Highway 410 scene, and put in charge of the investigation. This was King County territory, so he was now within his rights to do just that.

Doyon was surprised to meet Bober, who was not at all what he had been expecting. He was in his late 20s, was rather short and scrawny with a huge head of hair, and was positively giddy at the notion of uncovering a dead girl's pants. The grizzled detective was wary of this unaffiliated investigator, but nonetheless let it slide... Bober, for all of his faults, had finally gotten some results. That counted for something.

Something else Doyon noted was that the pants weren't located near the killer's usual dumping ground. The prior two victims' bodies had been found a ten-minute hike into the woods, and had been found less than a few hundred feet apart from one another. These clothing items of Misty's, however, were located right off of the road, in a forested ditch area.

Map of the area where the clothing was found

This raised an eyebrow of Doyon's, who had been out there just a week beforehand, looking for any sign of Misty for over six hours. However, he recognized that he might have missed or overlooked them, as forensic analysis proved that the pants had been covered in dirt for some time; it wasn't likely that whoever dumped the pants there hadn't done so since Bober leaked the story to the News Tribune. They had most possibly been there for some time.

While the case was heating up for Doyon, and Bober marveled at his success, Diana returned again to an empty house, infuriated. Infuriated at the police, for refusing to look for her daughter, infuriated at herself for failing to protect her child, infuriated at Bober for unveiling this tragic truth... just infuriated and pissed off at the world.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While Sergeant Herm Carver heard the news of the found clothing and immediately began to suspect Cory Bober and Diana Smith of foul-play, Detective Jim Doyon continued his investigation into the area. He began setting up police dogs to sniff out the area, and even arranged for a helicopter with thermal imaging to fly over the area, pursuing anything.

But one tip came up to Sergeant Carver, a tip from Dede Miles, a friend of Misty's. She informed Carver that one of the people that constantly hung out at Misty's house was none other than Rheuban Schmidt, who always left before Diana would get home.

Despite this tip, Carver refused to believe that Bober and Diana had stumbled upon the clothing accidentally. Despite the finding of the clothing, they still operated under the assumption that Misty Copsey was alive and, most likely, a runaway.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cory Bober was elevated high after Misty's pants were found, and began to believe that he was the sole person keeping the case alive.

In the following weeks, he began to work more closely with Pierce County detective Tim Kobel, leading him on a wild goose chase for another clue. First Bober thought that Misty would be found under a bridge, then by a stop sign. He began to point out seemingly-innocuous things, such as a pair of shoes hanging on an electric cable, as signs of the Green River Killer, and began to profess to Kobel all of his beliefs about Randy Achziger, who had long since been cleared as a suspect.

Detective Tim Kobel

Kobel managed to deal with Bober's frenetic energy for a while, as the two investigated all of Bober's wild thoughts and ideas. Meanwhile, Diana was sinking quite low, and began to suspect Bober himself, of all people. After all, he had led the investigation right to articles of clothing, and seemed to be overly-interested in the case.

However, this could be explained for other reasons. Bober's sentencing for his drug charges was approaching later in February, and he pled guilty to charges, in the hopes that helping out investigators would give him a lenient sentence. With a little bit of luck, he'd even be able to escape jailtime. So now, after his success in the woods, he seemed poised to get off lightly by helping out investigators with an open case.

However, his expectations were blown apart at the sentencing. Despite pleading guilty and trying to position himself well, an array of local cops testified at his hearing, painting Bober in such a negative light that he was sentenced to fourteen months of jailtime. All of his work was now undone; any good he might have done for the case was going to be postponed for over a year, at which point the case wouldn't just be cold, it would be frozen.

While Cory Bober was in jail, he was visited by Detective Kobel. Kobel pleaded with him to give up any information he had on the case, especially the case file that he had spent years accruing against Randy Achziger, but Bober refused. He told Kobel - and Carver and the other police officers that came to gloat - to go fuck themselves. Quite literally. He threatened to burn every bridge he had spent years building, because he wanted personal credit for his effort and didn't want to just hand over all of his evidence to the police that he believed put him in prison.

Cory Bober's mugshot after his drug charges

With Bober behind bars, Detective Jim Doyon remained the only person actively pursuing new leads.
Doyon was the first one to interview Misty's friend, Trina Bevard, and it had been nearly six months since the two had gone to the Puyallup Fair together.

During this interview, Doyon showed Trina a picture of Misty's jeans, which had been found in the forested ditch. Trina began to cry, but was able to answer many of Detective Doyon's questions, cracking the surface that had remained untouched since Misty disappeared.

Trina revealed that the original plan for the girls had been to get a ride from Rheuban Schmidt, but on the night in question, he had balked and told them he didn't have enough money or gas to come get them. Despite the girls' insistence, and Misty telling Rheuban how to get inside her house to get some money, he would refuse to pick up the two girls.

However, Trina revealed that she didn't trust Rheuban, and was already planning on balking away on getting a ride from him.

The rest of her story reflected what Diana had told investigators; that the two had split up some time after 8:30, and that she had walked home to her house in Sumner shortly thereafter. Nothing suspicious had happened at the fair, no sketchy guys hitting on them or anything. Whatever happened to Misty was as much a mystery to her as anyone else.

Trina Bevard

After "America's Most Wanted" aired a segment on Misty Copsey, more tips began to roll in: all of them called into Puyallup detectives, and given to Sergeant Herm Carver, who still maintained control over the case.

Carver used those tips to try and lead Diana Smith away from Cory Bober, who was currently gaining a poor reputation as a snitch in prison. Despite this insistence, and battling her own suspicions of Bober, she refused to do so. She instead told Carver to redouble his efforts, and maybe look into Rheuban Schmidt, who had long since been her sole suspect.

Carver, reluctantly, did just that. And what he found was alarming.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sergeant Carver took a visit to Adam's Ribs, a restaurant where Rheuban Schmidt occasionally worked at.

The owner, Frank Rodriguez, revealed that Rheuban had said some suspicious things about Misty Copsey following her disappearance, things such as knowing where she was buried. Apparently Rheuban had also told Frank and another coworker/friend that the cops investigating Misty's disappearance were "off by about six and a half miles," a suspicious statement no matter the context.
Sergeant Carver and his partner waited until Rheuban would be returning to work, at which point the scrawny teenager took off running.

Things were off to a good start.

A few hours later, after refusing to speak to police officers, Rheuban was finally brought in by Carver and Co. to come in for an interview.

When questioned by Carver on the past statements Rheuban had made, regarding Misty's burial site, Rheuban referred to them as something he had said to - quote/unquote - "get Frank off of my back."
Also, during the interview, Rheuban restated what he had previously told Diana: that he didn't have gas to pick up the two girls, and that they had called multiple times but he kept telling them he didn't have gas to get them.

However, one interesting note can be found from Sergeant Carver's notes during this time period.
Rheuban Schmidt would claim that he occasionally suffered from blackouts - periods of time where he loses all recollection, as if he were asleep. Apparently, he had claimed to have a blackout immediately following Misty's second phone call to him, which lasted until the very next morning.

That's right, even Rheuban Schmidt has no idea where he was or what he did the night of September 17th, 1992. He would wake up the next morning, with no idea where he had been or with whom, and would drive out to his grandmother's 100-acre farm in Buckley. He doesn't know why he drove out there, how, or why he did so. He was broke, after all, and had no gas, and there was nobody home at the farm when he drove out there.

But an interesting note is that Buckley is located very close to Enumclaw, and less than eight miles away from where Misty's jeans had been found alongside Highway 410.

Unfortunately, Sergeant Herm Carver didn't really buy into the fact that Rheuban Schmidt was the suspect he had been looking for. When him and his colleagues issued a polygraph test for Rheuban, it was done so as a technicality.

At least, I sure hope so. Because if they had taken the polygraph seriously, I might not be making this episode of this podcast.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

During the polygraph, detectives took note that Rheuban Schmidt was trying to lure himself into a false sense of unconsciousness. He seemed to be trying to put himself to sleep, at least according to the notes from those observing him.

Rheuban's polygraph came back inconclusive, but could have been based mainly on his unusual behavior. More than one detective made note of Rheuban's odd behavior during the test, as he seemed to be falling asleep throughout it.

If you're unaware, polygraph tests aren't very effective at measuring truth, but a way to try and beat the test is to calm your nerves and lower your heartbeat and blood pressure. Falling asleep is a sure way of doing just that, and anyone trying to defeat the test in such a way warrants some suspicion, in my mind. Add to that Rheuban's suspicious behavior on the night in question, his supposed blackouts, his attraction to Misty, his absence of an alibi, running from the cops... almost everything, really.

Yet the detectives involved, under the direction of Sergeant Carver, let Rheuban go. He would remain a person of interest, but the detectives would do no further digging on him. They wouldn't talk to his friends, anyone that could vouch for his possible alibis, nothing.

A day or two after his polygraph, word would reach Diana Smith that Rheuban had passed his polygraph test with "flying colors." That meant that her personal suspicions had been ruled out, and that night, she would start harassing Cory Bober's long-time suspect, Randy Achziger.

That didn't mean her suspicions stopped there, however. A month or two later - Diana can't remember exactly when - Frank Rodriguez, the owner of Adam's Ribs, would give her a call. Rodriguez, if you remember, had been Rheuban's employer for a while and overheard Rheuban make very suspicious comments following Misty's disappearance.

Rodriguez told Diana that the things Rheuban had said weren't normal things for anyone to say, and that he had told police about these statements. For Diana, this was just enough for her to quit believing in the local police entirely.

The surprising reason that police dropped Rheuban Schmidt from their investigation is because they had a brand-new suspect to obsess over. Unfortunately, while police began to track down their new, shiny lead, Rheuban Schmidt would sell his 1974 Chevy Nova to a wrecking yard, for reasons that aren't quite clear.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For months now, the story had been that on September 17th, 1992, Trina and Misty said goodbye nearby the fairgrounds, and while Misty was waiting for her bus, Trina was walking home to nearby Sumner.

Turns out, however, that this was a fabrication on Trina's part.

Trina had actually gotten a ride from her older boyfriend, 23-year old Michael Rhyner, a young man eight years her elder.

Michael Rhyner

This stone was turned over when one of Misty's friends was contacted by Sergeant Carver, who seemingly had no intention on following up on Rheuban Schmidt.

A background check on Michael Rhyner revealed a sketchy past: he was 23-years old, with a juvenile rape that hadn't been charged, from seven years beforehand, and he also had personal ties to both Kim Delange and Anna Chebetnoy - the two prior Puyallup victims.

While the Puyallup police still publicly referred to Misty Copsey as a runaway, they were now beginning to dig a little deeper - due not only to the media scrutiny beginning to build up around them, but also due to King County's increasing involvement, courtesy of Detective Doyon.

When detectives spoke to 15-year old Trina Bevard again, she revealed that she hadn't revealed the information about her older boyfriend because she didn't want to get in trouble, an understandable concern. She claims that on the night of Misty's disappearance, she had tried to get in contact with Rhyner, but Misty hesitated on getting a ride with him. She didn't trust him, for one reason or another.

Detectives wondered whether or not Michael Rhyner had dropped off Trina and then gone back for Misty, since there was an incident where Rhyner may have hit on Misty in the past. Trina voiced her doubts about that, but ultimately had to reveal that she didn't know. Rhyner had dropped her off at home and then left, so she couldn't vouch for him beyond that.

In April, police would discover that Rhyner was selling his car, a blue 1981 Ford Escort, that wasn't in great condition. Little did he know that he was selling the car to an undercover police officer, who took the car in and began testing the forensics found inside the car to samples of Misty.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While the DNA test waited to be completed, amid a huge forensic backlog, Cory Bober toiled in his state prison cell.

He was now sharing a cell with a convicted murderer, Joseph Duncan, a man that had tortured and killed an entire family. Bober - who had been nicknamed the "Green River Killer" for his obsession with the case by everyone in the prison - was in jail for a minor drug offense and sharing a cell with a psychopathic killer.

Bober was starting to crack under this pressure. He continued writing letters to everyone in his life: his parents, Diana, Detective Kobel, etc. Almost all of them were aggressive in tone, with Kobel later noting that Bober was most likely mentally ill and attached to this story to an unhealthy degree.
But among all of this, Bober felt some kind of further vindication. His long-believed suspect, Randy Achziger, was arrested, charged, and later convicted of molesting two seven-year-olds.

While this should have felt like sweet justice for Bober, having his victim behind bars, it wasn't enough. Bober wanted to pin down Achziger as the Green River Killer, and he wanted the credit for doing so. Anything less was deemed as failure.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While still waiting for the test results from Michael Rhyner's car to come back, Sergeant Carver and his associates scheduled an interview with their suspect, to get a feel for him.

In July, they called him in, and cut to the chase. They began to question him about Misty, his relationship with Trina, his alibi for the night of Misty's disappearance. After being slightly prompted, Rhyner opened up about his juvenile rape incident, which he had been cleared of shortly after it happened. Because it was a juvenile incident, there was no way for the detectives to know the details, but it was true - he HAD been cleared of it.

They noted that he had been "deceptive" in some areas, but after failing to notice Rheuban Schmidt's deceptive tactics during a polygraph, one has to note their qualifications for the word. While not definitive, Rhyner would also later pass a polygraph test.

Detectives were still hoping for a Hail Mary to come from the tests run on Rhyner's car, but for now, he was eliminated as a suspect. This sent them back to the only other guy on their last: Rheuban Schmidt.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nearly an entire year had passed by the time Puyallup Police began circling Rheuban Schmidt as a serious suspect. At this point, in September of 1993, the runaway charade had been stripped away by the public eye, and while they still publicly stuck to that story, they needed to do or find SOMETHING for the case.

Detectives began this next bout of investigating by talking to James Tinsley, a sixteen-year-old who had been Rheuban Schmidt's roommate at the time of the disappearance.

Apparently, Rheuban's family had been kicked out of their apartment, so him and his brothers moved in with Tinley and his family for the time being. Tinsley had been there the night of Misty's disappearance and, unlike Rheuban during his "blackout," recalled exactly what happened.

According to Tinsley, on September 17th, 1992, Rheuban had a thirteen-year-old girlfriend that was visiting the house. When Misty had called, asking for a ride, the thirteen-year-old girlfriend had gotten upset at Rheuban, and started acting jealous. A short while later, she would leave.

However, this is where Tinsley's story gets interesting. He claims that just five or ten minutes after Rheuban's girlfriend left, Rheuban himself left, and didn't return until later in the evening: sometime around midnight.

This was revelatory to everyone involved. Rheuban had claimed to not remember anything, but this was a personal eyewitness who couldn't vouch for his whereabouts in the hours Misty went missing.
Tinsley would also claim that it wouldn't go against Rheuban Schmidt's nature to murder Misty. He would claim that Rheuban had a very short temper, was attracted to Misty, and he would believe it if Rheuban had committed the murder, after knowing Rheuban for quite some time.

The detectives brought Rheuban in again for another line of questioning, and wanted to get him to take another polygraph. He originally refused to take the polygraph, but eventually caved and also answered some of their questions.

He would change his statement slightly - saying that he had driven out to his grandmother's farm in Buckley during his blackout, not the next morning - but otherwise stuck to his original statements.

Despite all of the suspicion surrounding him, he passed his polygraph, and his car was no longer available for testing. He was released one final time by the Puyallup police, and never again investigated as a suspect in the disappearance of Misty Copsey. To this day, he has never been questioned again.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It seems like, in this story, every step forward is two steps back. At least, that seems to be the theme running throughout.

After Rheuban Schmidt dropped off the suspect's list, Sergeant Herm Carver began to focus on Diana herself as a suspect. Despite her being an elderly caretaker in the hours Misty went missing, and being the person that reported her missing and fought for her to be found, Carver began to focus on her again.

He brought in Diana for questioning, asked her to take polygraphs, and even began interviewing her former parole officer and ex-boyfriends.

While Diana seemed to pass the polygraph test, Carver began circulating word of her supposed dishonesty to other detectives, such as King County's Jim Doyon. For a while now, he had been convinced that Diana and her ally, Cory Bober, had been responsible for planting the evidence of the pants found alongside Highway 410, and he had voiced that concern to other officers for some time.

But now, as he began to take a further look at Diana's past, he also began to try and crack Cory Bober, recently sprung from prison and on work release. Bober was scheduled to take a polygraph test in March of 1994, but never showed up, stating that he didn't trust it to do anything but frame him for guilt.

For all intents and purposes, the case to find out what had happened to Misty Copsey was in its death throes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the following years, nothing happened.

Puyallup Police again clung to the runaway story. In 1996, a story began circulating in the media that Misty would likely be making contact with her parents again. Puyallup Police had joined forces with Misty's estranged father, Buck Copsey, and began hyping up an expected phone call from Misty as her eighteenth birthday approached.

No contact took place, but the runaway label stuck.

In 1997, Cory Bober was charged with four counts of dealing marijuana, but decided to fight the charges and battle, tooth-and-nail, against what he perceived as a conspiracy by the Puyallup police, to "shut him up." Believe it or not, after more than two years, he actually won, and managed to score a coup in the process: the forensic results from Misty's pants, analyzed back in 1993.

He had included the pants as part of his defense, claiming that he had assisted the police as a citizen investigator, and it had actually paid off.

Bober discovered that on or nearby the pants were discovered samples of hairs and fibers, along with three red paint chips, which he immediately began battling to connect to his suspect, Randy Achziger's, red Porsche.

For others, though, the red paint chips were indicative of something else.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 14th, 2001 - in Lakewood, approximately ten miles away from Puyallup.
A 24-year old woman is walking home from church, in the rain, at roughly ten o'clock at night.
As she walks, a white pickup truck rolls by. The mustachioed man inside asks if she needs a ride, and she tells him no. Despite this, however, the truck pulls over to the side of the road, and the man gets out of the truck.

It's Robert Leslie Hickey. He had been released from prison just five years into his seven-year sentence, and has been a free man for a matter of years now.

He begins to approach the young woman, asking if he could have a cigarette. She says no, and crosses to the other side of the street, pulling the cell phone from her pocket and beginning to dial 911.

Hickey rushes at her, pushing her over the fifteen-foot embankment on the side of the road. He climbs down, beginning to rip the woman's shirt and grab at her breast, and as she screams, he threatens to kill her. But he is instantly alarmed by the sight of three feared numbers on her bright cell phone screen: 911.

He grabs the cell phone and rushes off, but the woman is quickly able to rush home and call the police. Hickey is found shortly thereafter, and is convicted for attempted second-degree rape. Being his second serious offense, he is sent to prison for life with no possibility of parole.

In the years since his two offenses, many have questioned whether it was Robert Leslie Hickey that was responsible for the disappearances of Misty Copsey, or even the two earlier Puyallup victims. He did commit one of his crimes just blocks away from where Misty disappeared at around the same time, and proved himself as a serial offender.

Many have also questioned whether or not the red paint chips found on Misty's pants off of Highway 410 could have been connected to his Red Camaro, which he owned during this time period.

Robert Leslie Hickey

Later in 2001, as the Misty Copsey case file continued to collect dust, another cold case took a huge leap forward.

On November 30th, Gary Ridgeway was arrested as the Green River Killer, bringing to close a mystery that had left detectives throughout Western Washington stumped for decades.

To Cory Bober, though, this was a slap in the face. He didn't believe that Gary Ridgeway was the killer he had been looking for all of those years... it was Randy Achziger that was the true culprit, in his eyes. Ridgeway was just a patsy, something they dumped the murders on to look good.

At least, that's what Cory Bober has continued to believe, to this day. Even though Ridgeway has confessed to dozens upon dozens of murders, losing track of his numerous victims to the point of being unsure of their burial grounds, Bober didn't believe a word of it.

Detective Jim Doyon, who had long since been hunting for the Green River Killer, was one of the officers there to arrest Ridgeway, closing a large chapter of his well-respected life.

Detective Jim Doyon

However, despite all of the hard work in capturing Ridgeway, Doyon and other detectives weren't able to connect Ridgeway to the Puyallup victims. They had always hedged their bets that whoever was responsible for the first two victims was also responsible for Misty Copsey's disappearance, but it's fair to point out that Ridgeway had a decent reason for not admitting to any abductions or murders in Pierce County. To do so would invite more charges upon him, and he had managed to escape the death penalty in King County by taking a plea deal and helping police track down where he had buried or disposed of his victims' bodies.

It's also worth noting that on September 17th, 1992, Gary Ridgeway was recorded as working an entire day at his day job, which worked as a mark in his favor.

To this day, the only real possibility of tying Ridgeway to the Pierce County crimes would likely be from a death-bed confession, as to admit to any wrongdoings across county lines would put his life in jeopardy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite Ridgeway's arrest, and the actual evidence linking Ridgeway to many of the crimes, Cory Bober has refused to accept that he is the Green River Killer. He has continued to orchestrate a convoluted series of events to conclude that Randy Achziger is the Green River Killer, and dedicated his entire life to proving so.

In 2000, Diana Smith had Misty Copsey legally declared dead. She held a funeral for Misty, and Bober's good side stepped in, talking a Parkland church into hosting the ceremony for free. He also managed to convince local flower shops to donate flowers for decorations, and convinced the media to help turn it into a large event - if not for Diana, then for Misty's memory.

Bober refused to let his hunt for Achziger go. He tried to pin the three red paint chips as being conneted to Achziger's red Porsche, and petitioned for the police force to test the samples. It was a headache - and an expensive one - but the police finally conducted the tests, coming back inconclusive.

However, it was Bober that noticed a fly in the ointment. The samples of the paint chips found with Misty's jeans had gone missing in the transfer between the police and the forensic-testing company, Microtrace. They haven't been found to this day, and no one is quite sure who had them last: the police or Microtrace, who suffered a laboratory fire in 2008.

Once again, Cory Bober scored a small victory. But again, it was too little and too late.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the mid-2000s, Diana Smith hired a private investigator to look into the case, using her limited resources to do so. The PI came up with nothing, but gave Diana a startling piece of advice: to ditch Cory Bober entirely. When trying to find information about the case, Bober not-so-politely told the investigator to do his own research, and not ask him for help.

The private investigator would tell Diana that Bober was more of a liability to the case than an asset, and was perhaps holding back any potential researchers that might discover answers.

Many have questioned whether Cory Bober himself was ever investigated as a suspect. The answer is actually no. He had a pretty solid alibi for the night of Misty's disappearance, as he had been assaulted by a neighbor sometime that evening, during an argument, and a police report was filed at 1:30 in the morning.

Another factor to consider is that Bober has also never owned a car, nor possessed a driver's license throughout his life. The odds of him abducting someone are rather slim, even if he's a bit off of his rocker.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The hair samples found with Misty's jeans were tested just a few years ago, in 2013, but came back with no matches. They didn't match Misty or Diana, and didn't match up with anybody else in the FBI's forensic database. So whoever they were, they are either an innocuous person who's hairs ended up on evidence, or a meticulous criminal that has escaped justice entirely.

More recently, the Puyallup police still investigating the disappearance have asked for help. Without openly stating that the early investigators bungled the case, they implored that anyone with pictures of the Puyallup Fair, taken on September 17th, 1992, share those pictures with the Puyallup police department. They think that any pictures could help them uncover the truth behind Misty's disappearance.

This relaunched investigation uncovered a tip from 1993, which revealed a claim that Misty had gotten in a car with an older man who was driving a yellow Chrysler Cordoba. The man was in his mid-30s at the time, and had a prior history of sexual assault on young women, with personal and professional ties to the Puyallup area. Police never investigated this tip, presumably sticking to their runaway story and refusing to investigate anything else.

In 2000, Rheuban Schmidt was arrested for theft, and did a small stint in prison. Then, later on in 2006, his wife got a domestic violence protection order against him, alleging that he had threatened to kill her and burn down their house.

Rheuban Schmidt

On December 17th, 2015 - over twenty years after Misty's disappearance, a mysterious posting appeared on Bazaar Daily News, a UK-hosted website. The author of this article claimed to be a relative of Rheuban Schmidt, and stated that it was a family secret about Rheuban's involvement in the case. This posting claimed that Rheuban and his uncles were responsible for Misty's disappearance, and that they were in the yellow Chrysler Cordoba seen by that unfollowed anonymous 1993 tip.

Unfortunately, not much more information can be found from this poster, and any effort to dig into their "confession" comes up with nothing.

Cory Bober and Diana Smith no longer speak to one another, at least not frequently. In the months and years following Misty's disappearance, they might have considered themselves allies or even friends joined together in search of the truth, but now they're merely former-associates, who once shared a common interest.

If you look up Cory D. Bober on social media, you'll find a profile that types in all caps, knows no real sentence or paragraph structure, and tries to point out images of Misty in clearly-photoshopped photos. He claims to see the real truth, the kind of truths that only he is aware of. He has continued to claim that Randy Achziger killed Misty, and buried her body on an old property of his. However, he also claims that Randy Achziger is the reincarted version of Aleister Crowley and is the Antichrist incarnate, so it's understandable to see why his claims aren't taken seriously by police.

Bober has tried repeatedly to get permission to dig up the new property owner's driveway, but of course, he has failed.

Diana Smith has adapted to life without Misty, but she hasn't given up hope on finding resolution for her daughter. She has appeared on local shows, such as Crimestoppers, in the hopes that information will come forward and bring about resolution to Misty's story. She isn't sure whether it was someone with a personal tie to Misty, or the work of a wandering serial killer, but she knows that the truth is still out there, waiting to be discovered. Without naming names, she has clung to the belief that Rheuban Schmidt was her daughter's killer, or at least knows what happened to her.

Misty Copsey's whereabouts are still unknown, and just all of the stories I cover on this podcast, her fate remains unresolved.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As I stated at the end of the last episode, this story would not have been possible without the hard work of the News Tribune's Sean Robinson. He pieced together so much information about the before, during, and after of Misty's disappearance, in a three-part story called "The Stolen Child." If you're interested in all at looking at the case on your own, that's a great place to start. Beware, though, the rabbit hole goes deep on this story.

I'll be honest: I don't really know what to think. There's a part of me that wanted to make this a hit piece on Rheuban Schmidt, and his shadiness surrounding the night of Misty's disappearance, but I have to hope that there's something missing from the story. Police have investigated him multiple times and come away with nothing, so I have to hope that there's a reason he's never been investigated further. Mainly because the alternative is that a killer openly escaped justice without even a reprieve, but I have to hope in the righteousness of our criminal justice system. Especially with a story like this, that strikes so close to home for me.

There are just so many possibilities to this case: Michael Rhyner's prior sexual assault as a juvenile, Robert Leslie Hickey's proximity to the crime, the Green River Killer's ties to the crime, the prior two murdered Puyallup girls. It's all just a giant puzzle that hasn't been arranged yet - and may never be.
I also have to thank Tyson Nordgren for his tireless work in helping perfect the production of the podcast, editing out my endless verbal flubs, and creating the music.

Speaking of music, the artist Millimeters Of Mercury created that ominous, creepy track you've heard throughout the last two episodes. It's called "and the glory," and I'll be including a link to find it on podcast's website, theunresolvedpodcast.com.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the podcast, you can find us on Facebook, just search for The Unresolved Podcast, and you can also find it on Twitter, @UnresolvedPod. You can also send in emails to theunresolvedpodcast@gmail.com, or call in and text at 831-200-3550.

But that's it for this story, and the tragedy of Misty Copsey's disappearance. If you want to donate to the podcast, you can head to the website to find a link to the Paypal account, or the Patreon page which will hopefully be up by the time you're hearing this.

Hope that until next time, you all stay safe. Talk to you later.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Links

Youtube - "253 Crimestoppers: Misty Copsey"

The News Tribune - "The Stolen Child: Part I"

The News Tribune - "The Stolen Child: Part II"

The News Tribune - "The Stolen Child: Part III"

The News Tribune - "Loose ends/FAQ"

The News Tribune - "A roster of possible suspects in the Misty Copsey case"

The Charley Project - "Misty Donna Copsey"

The Seattle Times - "Did Misty Copsey Run Away Or Run Into Foul Play? Police Think Spanaway Teen, Missing Since '92, May Be Dead"

The News Tribune - "Long gone, still sought: The search for Misty Copsey"

KOMO News - "Police seek photos from 1992 Puyallup Fair to crack cold case"

KOMO News - "DNA could solve Misty Copsey's disappearance, death"

Bazaar Daily News - "My family is responsible for the disappearance of Misty Copsey"

True Crime Diva - "Misty Copsey Missing Since 1992"

True Crime Diva - "TCD's Thoughts: Misty Copsey Case"

AOL - "Police reopen cold case after 21 years"

The News Tribune - "The Stolen Child in print: What happened to Misty?"

Cory D. Bober - Twitter