Two-and-a-half weeks ago sixteen year-old Karlie Lain Gusé mysteriously disappeared and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Karlie was last seen between 7 and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 walking outside her White Mountain Estates home in Chalfant, California that she and her family recently moved into. She appeared to be heading toward US Route 6 on White Mountain Estate Road. She lived with her father Zachary and stepmother Melissa for the past decade.
Chalfant(also known as Chalfant Valley) is a small town with a population of 651 in the Sierra Nevada. It’s about a twenty to thirty minute drive from the California-Nevada border. The Gusé family had just moved there from Bishop, California, and had family in Yerington, Nevada, leading some investigators to originally speculate that Karlie may have runaway and headed in those directions.
A Facebook post by the Mono County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 20 stated that“Karlie may be disoriented and does not have any personal belongings or cell phone with her”. What has lead investigators to believe that and/or divulge that detail has lead to further speculation and fuels the mystery.
Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue with assistance from El Dorado & Inyo County Sheriff’s Departments, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, CalTrans, California Highway Patrol and the California National Guard conducted a week-long ground search for Karlie- but turned up nothing. Although investigators have yet to uncover clues (or simply are withholding them from the public) into Karlie Gusé’s disappearance, her mother, Lindsay Fairley initially posted updates on the investigation on her Facebook page.
The day after Karlie was reported missing, Lindsay Fairley posted on Oct. 14, “Dogs are out searching but the wind is hindering their search. Her dad found her shoe prints up in the mountains. Please keep my precious girl in your prayers. I’m on the verge of being tranquilized.”
According to Fairley, “There was a call in of a possible sighting of her in Lebec California at a gas station asking for money. The man stated she had a nose piercing. Please God, lead my baby girl home safely. Her hair currently is slightly shorter than in this photo! Please share this and #BringKarlieHome.”
Lindsay Fairley has maintained that no evidence suggests that Karlie was abducted.
While some question whether or not Fairley’s statements are reliable, one thing is for certain, Mono County Sheriff’s Office appears to believe that Karlie Gusé wasn’t abducted either. In their Facebook post on October 20th, they specifically state that the disappearance of Karlie Gusé “does not meet the criteria for an AMBER alert as there is no evidence or indication of an abduction”.
Karlie’s stepmother Melissa Gusé believes otherwise. In her own Facebook post dated Oct. 15th (that has since been taken down), according to sources Melissa reportedly stated, “I know everybody has so many questions. ‘Why did she leave? Where did she go? What’s wrong?’ I’m just concerned that she’s just gone. And that needs to be the focus. If you know me and you know Karlie, you know she would never do this. This is not the person who would just leave her family.”
Law enforcement has not held a press conference in over a week and has released few details in this case.
I’ve read many comments and opinions on this case and some have asked for my opinion. While some feel it’s important to know “who Karlie is exactly” in order to determine whether or not she’s “likely” a runaway or if this is a possible abduction, I will say that all that is irrelevant at this juncture. Some also believe police should divulge exactly why she would be disoriented, whether or not she has a medical condition, history of emotional problems, substance abuse problem or if there may have been a suspicious injury investigators are looking into.
Runaways, teens with emotional issues and substance abuse problems are the highest risk category of being victims of sexual assault, violence and murder. Law enforcement must be careful and so should anyone else commenting on this case- to not label this young woman such things, whether they are true or not. Even if she was a frequent runaway, doesn’t mean she didn’t come across foul play this time or associates with someone who has no problem harming her. Anyone who has personally known runaways or researches violent crime knows that for decades law enforcement and the public brushed off high risk youth as such, and all too often they were the victims of violent crimes This young lady is as risk whether she is missing by choice or not, and it should be treated no differently.
Karlie is a white female, 16 years old, 5’ 07”, 110 pounds, with dark blond hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and gray sweatpants.
There currently is a $10,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of Karlie Gusé. If you have information or know someone who does, do not hesitate to call the Mono County Sheriff’s Office at 760-932-7549