Phoenix Lucille Coldon was only twenty-three years old when she vanished from her family home in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis, Missouri on December 18, 2011. By all accounts, the beautiful and talented young woman with the infectious smile had a bright future ahead of her. Phoenix came from a tight-knit, religious family that regularly attended church together. She had been homeschooled, a member of the handbell choir, was a regional fencing champion, played the piano and was even taking violin lessons from a church friend who was the second seat with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. While Phoenix had previously attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis, her family later discovered that she had dropped her classes and was no longer enrolled.
On the afternoon of December 18th, after going to church, Phoenix was seen sitting in the driveway of her parent’s home in her black, four-door, 1998 Chevy Blazer, using her phone. Her father, Lawrence, last saw his daughter as she was pulling out of their driveway at approximately 3:00 PM. Although it was unusual that she hadn’t informed anyone as to where she was heading, he didn’t think much about it and assumed Phoenix was going to a friend’s house or to the nearby convenience store that she frequented. In the early morning hours of December 19th, her mother, Goldia, could not shake the feeling that something was wrong with her daughter; Phoenix never stayed out past 1:20 AM. Later that day, Goldia contacted police. While the officer who dispatched to their home claimed there was currently nothing he could do given the fact that Phoenix was legally an adult, he agreed to run the license on her car but found nothing. The only advice he was able to give the Coldons was to call the local hospitals, which they spent the rest of the day doing.
As mentioned above, Phoenix was seen driving away at roughly about 3:00 PM on December 18th. A little more than two hours later a call was placed to 911 about an abandoned vehicle in East St. Louis, Illinois which is about a twenty-five-minute drive from the Coldon’s home and a dangerous area. The abandoned car was a black four-door, 1998 Chevy Blazer registered in Goldia Coldon’s name, with the keys still in the ignition, engine running, and the driver’s side door ajar. All the paperwork needed to identify who the vehicle belonged to, including the Coldon’s home address, was found in the glove box. In addition, the Blazer had been sitting near the intersection of 9th Street and St. Claire Avenue in one of the traffic lanes; not parked on the side as if the driver intended to step out for a minute then return behind the wheel. The officer who arrived on the scene claimed he found nothing in the car. In actuality, Phoenix’s driver’s license, purse, glasses, and shoes were in the car. It was never examined for evidence and two weeks would pass before the Coldon’s learned that the SUV was impounded by a family friend assisting in the search. (Other sources claim it was a relative, according to an interview with Goldia, it was a family friend.)
The Blazer was impounded a little more than two-hours after Phoenix was last seen driving it and the officer who ran the plates the following day discovered nothing. The Coldon’s were never officially notified by authorities about their vehicle. The police report later obtained by the Coldon’s private investigator includes some conflicting information. In one section it is reported that there was an “adult female” victim. In another section, it was noted that there was no driver. A second report has a filing date listed two weeks after the impounding. The Coldon’s private investigator notified them that the responding officer was advised by his union representative to speak with no one.
Once the investigation into Phoenix’s disappearance began, under the urging of the lead detective on the case, Goldia searched Phoenix’s room, hoping to find some answers to the many questions running through everyone’s mind. One of the items discovered was a cryptic note that initially was not thought to be written by Phoenix. As Goldia examined the message more closely and compared other handwriting samples, she realized this was her daughter’s writing but in a very rushed and hurried manner. The note was on a piece of paper with the date of December 18th marked on it. According to Goldia, the message was along the lines of: ‘We think you need to make up your mind before 2012 or else I will show you what I can do about your parents.’ In an interview on Real Talk with Tamara (link below) Goldia explains that she doesn’t believe this note was to or from somebody, but that her daughter was jotting down something relayed to her. Phoenix’s manner of writing on that piece of paper was consistent with the way she wrote in her school books when hurriedly taking notes in a class.
The Coldons soon made another alarming discovery. Through one of Phoenix’s friends, they learned that she had a boyfriend with whom she lived with for a short while. At the time she went missing, Phoenix was living with her parents, but at age eighteen she moved out briefly and they’d believed a female roommate was living with her. Phoenix’s friend was sure that this mystery boyfriend would know her whereabouts as they were still dating but he denied knowing anything. The boyfriend also told detectives that he hadn’t spoken to Phoenix before her disappearance. Phone records indicate otherwise. On the day before — December 17th — phone records show about ten calls between the two of them; one incoming call lasted 116 minutes. On December 18th, he phoned Phoenix at 9:41 AM and they spoke for six minutes; that afternoon at 1:46 PM Phoenix made a call to him that lasted one minute. I am unable to locate the name of this boyfriend, but as far as I can tell, he is not a suspect, although I am curious as to why he claimed not to have any prior contact with Phoenix, nor has he ever reached out to her family.
As of today, Phoenix Coldon is still missing. Sadly, I had never heard her name before a week ago and she’s been gone since 2011. It is no secret that there is less coverage about black girls that go missing as opposed to white girls. Google Phoenix’s name, then Google Jennifer Kesse, Maura Murray or Natalee Holloway. This is not to say that their cases shouldn’t get as much attention as they do; I’m merely showing the difference in media coverage. Almost five days after Phoenix vanished and the Major Case Squad was assigned to her case, the media showed no interest despite the fact that the Coldons and those closest to them were doing all they could to get her name out to the public. According to Goldia, the production manager of a local station told her that the story just wasn’t interesting enough to cover.
I have no plans on going into a tirade about what is referred to as “missing white woman syndrome” as I am simply interested in discussing those who have either vanished without a trace or murders which have gone unsolved. This is a very bizarre case that seems to have been poorly handled and the fact that there was hardly any media coverage even several days after she was reported missing is alarming to me. What is even more heartbreaking is the fact that after so many years, not only do Lawrence and Goldia have no idea what’s become of their daughter, but they have also gone into considerable debt trying to find her and were the victims of a very cruel hoax by someone claiming to know where she is, costing them their home.
I don’t believe Phoenix ran away. She may have had secrets such as the boyfriend, but I don’t find that in the least bit unusual, especially since she is from a religious family. Could she have met some shady people through this boyfriend and met with foul play? Personally, the fact that her SUV was sitting in a traffic lane with the engine still running and the door open suggests so. As far as anyone knew, Phoenix had no reason to be in the neighborhood where her car was found. Was she meeting someone around there and if so, why? Does the note that her mother found have any connection to Phoenix’s whereabouts?