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In 1985, This Missouri Teen Vanished After Leaving Her Friend's House One Evening: Then, Years Later, Her Mother Began Receiving Threatening Calls Demanding Money In Exchange For Her Daughter

Chip Chick logo: MainLogo Chip Chick 1/9/2023 Katharina Buczek
© Provided by Chip Chick

In 1985, Jody Ledkins of Kansas City, Missouri, was just fourteen-years-old. And unfortunately, the young teen had a rather tumultuous home life.

Four years prior, Jody’s parents had gotten divorced. Then, shortly afterward, her mother, Karen, remarried– but it did not take long for that union to end as well.

These relationship changes took a toll on Jody, as well as her inability to find her footing in one community.

In fact, prior to her fourteenth birthday, Jody and her family had moved four separate times before eventually settling down in Kansas City.

So, it appears that these struggles pushed the teen to act out. Jody would frequently run away from home– so much so that she actually landed in a juvenile probation program.

Jody would also skip school and had an assigned juvenile probation officer due to an incident in 1984– when she pushed a security guard.

Still, by 1985, Jody and her mother started to regrow and heal their relationship. That was until May 23 of that year, though, when everything changed for the teen’s family.

That morning, Jody actually did not show up at school and opted to skip her classes with a friend named Melissa – which was not uncharacteristic.

Then, the pair headed to Melissa’s home, which was near East 14th Street and Winchester Avenue, to spend the afternoon hanging out. – pictured above is Jody © Provided by Chip Chick – pictured above is Jody

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Later that evening, Jody and Melissa decided to walk to Jody’s boyfriend’s home– which was about a fifteen-minute walk away.

But, at some point during the night, Jody reportedly got into an argument with the rest of the group. Apparently, she had wanted to go somewhere, but her boyfriend and Melissa did not.

Still, Jody ended up leaving her boyfriend’s home with Melissa later on– walking back to Melissa’s house.

And finally, at about 10:00 p.m., the teen ended up phoning her mother, Karen, to ask for a ride home.

Unfortunately, though, Karen revealed how she did not have her car that evening and was not able to pick up her daughter.

So, Jody claimed that she would just get a ride home with a friend before leaving Melissa’s home shortly afterward.

The teen ultimately left on foot, though, and was last seen traveling northbound. Jody did not have any money or extra clothing on her, and her friend, Melissa, was reportedly under the impression that Jody planned to go back to her boyfriend’s house.

It was not until the following morning that Karen realized her daughter had never gotten home the night before.

And at that point, she reached out to Jody’s Deputy Juvenile Officer to report her daughter missing.

After the Juvenile Officer heard from Karen, though, the officer suggested that Jody might have just been upset about something. Moreover, they suggested that Karen give her daughter the rest of the weekend to calm down and cool off.

At that point, the Officer did also prepare two warrants for Jody, which cited the teen as “an endangered juvenile who should be taken into police custody if found.”

However, as time went on, it became clear that the advice provided to Karen was detrimental to Jody’s case.

It is now well known that the first forty-eight hours following a person’s disappearance is the most critical investigative window– and the time when the likelihood of a missing person being found is substantially higher. But tragically, Jody was never actually reported missing.

Instead, while Karen was conversing with her daughter’s caseworker about two years later, she learned that her daughter had never actually been reported missing to the police. Plus, this conversation only ever occurred because the first warrant out for Jody was ultimately canceled in July 1986 by the courts.

There is a lack of information about what happened next– such as investigative efforts– after Karen made this discovery. However, three years later, the teen’s Juvenile Officer then received a strange letter in 1989.

The author of the letter claimed to be Jody herself– stating that the teen was okay. However, the correspondence never explained why the teen left, and it is unclear whether or not Jody really wrote the note.

The handwriting was reportedly compared to other writing that Jody had previously penned before her disappearance. And her mother remains uncertain if the handwriting was actually her daughter’s.

Then, four years later, in 1993, Karen began receiving even more puzzling communications. This time, though, it was in the form of strange and threatening phone calls– in which the caller would demand ransom money in exchange for her daughter.

“If we don’t get the money, your daughter will be sent to you in pieces,” the caller once said.

These bizarre calls ultimately went on for two years. Thankfully, though, Karen did record each conversation– reporting them to the police and allowing investigators to make transcripts.

Authorities were also able to triangulate the location of the caller to a payphone located in Kansas City. Despite this break in the case, though, the caller was never able to be identified, and Jody’s case was ultimately reclassified as a probable homicide.

Still, in 1997, there was once again some renewed hope of finally getting closure after additional information came to light.

That year, two prison inmates reportedly claimed to have knowledge of Jody’s case, and their tips implied that Jody’s killer would have placed her body into a car and driven the vehicle into the Mississippi River.

After authorities followed up on this tip and searched the river, though, no evidence was ever found.

Today, Jody’s mother, Karen, has since moved to Arkansas. But, a few times each year, she will return to Kansas City in search of her daughter.

Jody’s loved ones have also created a Facebook account, Help Find Jody Ledkins, in hopes of raising awareness of her case.

At the time of Jody’s disappearance, she was five foot one, weighed ninety pounds, and had blonde hair and blue eyes. She also wore glasses, had a large birthmark under her arm, and had an appendectomy scar. Jody would be fifty-two years old today.

If you have any information regarding her case, you are urged to contact the Kansas City Police Department at (816) 234-5140.

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