Imagine watching your child take out the garbage, only to walk off into the distance and never return. That was the prospect facing mom Vickie Metcalf, whose daughter, Alissia Freeman, hadn’t been seen since 2015. One day, however, a phone call revealed the truth behind the girl’s mysterious disappearance.
At the time of her vanishing in 2015, Myra Alissia Freeman was just 17 years old. She lived in Alabama with her family, including her mom, Vickie Metcalf. And Sunday December 13 was seemingly just like any other day – until it wasn’t.
At around 4:30 p.m., Freeman decided to take out the trash from her room. But she never returned to the house. Eventually, her family began looking for her. And at this point, a neighbor told the relatives that they had seen Freeman wandering down the road by herself carrying no belongings.
At first, it seemed like the blue-eyed, brown-haired teen had run away. Indeed, that was the first conclusion of investigators, particularly once they discovered that she had completely cleared her computer’s hard drive and deleted her Facebook account.
However, Metcalf told AL.com that at the time everything had seemed fine. Indeed, she’d had no reason to suspect that her daughter would run away. Freeman had, after all, been homeschooled and apparently got on with her family perfectly well.
One of the early theories, then, surrounded the possibility that Freeman had run away to meet someone whom she had met online. The teenager was a member of several online chatrooms, although the nature of the discussions she had taken part in was never disclosed.
Alongside the local county sheriff, the FBI and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency were both involved in the search for Freeman. And while the chatroom lead was still a prospect, investigators had no reports of Freeman having gotten into a vehicle on the day of her disappearance.
For months, then, the girl’s family had absolutely no word on her whereabouts. In fact, the investigation had hit a wall – despite many man hours having been committed to the search by authorities. Even a $13,500 reward, offered for any information on Freeman’s location, brought no new leads to the table.
Nevertheless, over the next few months multiple sightings of Freeman were reported. Some of these were from the local area, yet others were as widespread as Atlanta and New Orleans. CCTV footage even captured someone who appeared to be Freeman, but just as with the rest of the sightings, this was never confirmed to have actually been her.
Freeman’s mom also set up a Facebook page, “Help Find Alissia Freeman,” on which she shared photos of her daughter and appealed for information. Indeed, she seemingly hoped that someone would recognize her child and get in touch.
However, instead of their daughter – or anyone who had actually seen her – coming forward, the Metcalfs were targeted by scammers and criminals looking to make a quick buck out of their misery. On one occasion, near Freeman’s 18th birthday, a tipster got in touch to say that they had seen her with a pimp in Atlanta.
The tipster claimed, in great and convincing detail, that Freeman had been trafficked and sold to someone in Canada. They then told the Metcalfs that it would cost a whopping $70,000 to buy back their daughter, who was, they said, effectively being held to ransom.
Yet despite the convincing nature of this information, the Metcalfs still made sure to run it by the FBI team investigating Freeman’s disappearance. And it wasn’t long before the investigators had determined that it was all a ruse. The tipster’s IP address actually originated in Russia.
Nevertheless, Freeman’s mom never lost faith, even though she had no idea whether her daughter was even alive. “Some nights I sleep alright,” she told AL.com. “Sometimes not so much. I am just trying to keep faith that she will be coming home soon. Some days it is harder than others, even though we have faith she will come home. We miss her and really worry about her.”
Then in April 2017 something seemingly impossible happened. Freeman apparently made contact with her mom. And Metcalf would subsequently go on to post on Facebook that she had heard from her daughter for the first time in nearly a year and a half.
It turned out that Freeman had videocalled her mom, who then confirmed that her daughter was safe. The teen wasn’t in Alabama, however. No, Freeman was reportedly down in El Paso, Texas – over a thousand miles away from her home.
And despite the fact that the family had previously been singled out by scammers, Metcalf apparently felt “good about [the call],” according to Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell. Indeed, she posted to Facebook, “She is safe and okay! We know you all will have lots of questions, but right now all we can say is that she is alright and that is what is most important.”
A couple of days later Freeman then reunited with her family in El Paso. Nevertheless, the FBI still wanted to perform DNA tests to confirm that Freeman really was whom she claimed to be. The Metcalfs were, after all, no strangers to people attempting to take advantage of their situation.
Metcalf declined to reveal any information about where her daughter had been for the previous 16 months, asking instead for privacy and patience. However, she did tell AL.com that Freeman “went through some things when she was younger.” The mother added, “She’s had a hard time with it, and our communication wasn’t the best, and she didn’t think I’d understand. She is just trying to heal now.”
For months, Vickie Metcalf had absolutely no idea whether she would ever see her daughter again. And while Freeman has, according to her mom, since received many “ugly” messages, this tale at least had a happy ending when the pair reunited in El Paso.