Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Missing Hannibal woman may have been spotted in Central Illinois

  • Police are investigating a report that a missing Hannibal woman may have been spotted at a restaurant in Central Illinois.


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  • Police are investigating a report that a missing Hannibal woman may have been spotted at a restaurant in Central Illinois.
    In an exclusive interview with the Courier-Post, a waitress said 21-year-old Christina M. Whittaker came into Raedene’s Country Cafe in Creve Coeur between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Sunday.
    “It was definitely her,” said the waitress, Beth Taylor. “I’m 110 percent sure.”
    Taylor said Whittaker’s long, red hair had been dyed black or dark brown, but that her facial and physical features matched those in a photo later shown to cafe workers by police.
    Taylor said Whittaker came into the cafe alone with no purse or pocketbook and was wearing a pink short-sleeved shirt and black pants.
    “She was upset,” Taylor recalled. “She had no coat on. She seemed to be shook up.”
    Taylor said Whittaker looked over her shoulder several times as if someone was watching her.
    “I offered her something to drink and she didn’t want anything,” Taylor said.
    Whittaker asked for a pen and a piece of paper. Taylor said Whittaker wrote something down, but the waitress said she couldn’t make it out.
    “She kept asking to use the phone,” Taylor said. “I said ‘Is it a long-distance number?’ She said no.”
    Whittaker apparently called a woman in nearby Pekin, but did not get an answer.
    A woman later called the restaurant asking why she’d gotten a call placed from the cafe’s number, but apparently didn’t recognize Taylor’s description of Whittaker.
    At the time, Taylor didn’t know Whittaker had been missing since Nov. 13, when she left a downtown Hannibal bar alone.
    “I thought she was just calling for a ride,” Taylor said. “I wish I would have known (about Whittaker’s disappearance) because I would have tried to keep her here.”
    Taylor said Whittaker left the cafe and walked across the street. Taylor watched from a window, but lost sight of Whittaker as she stepped behind a building.
    Taylor said she did not see Whittaker get into a car. Police used tracking dogs, but the animals couldn’t pick up a scent.
    The missing woman also may have been spotted at a bar a couple blocks from the cafe Saturday night, Taylor said.
    Taylor met Sunday with Whittaker’s mother, Cindy Young, and other family members.
    “They kept hugging me over and over,” Taylor said.
    “We’ve been praying for God to put people in our path to help us and He has,” Young said. “I feel we’re getting closer.”
    Creve Coeur is part of the Peoria metropolitan area, and sits on the east side of the Illinois River.
    Page 2 of 2 - Young said she and helpers have been putting up posters featuring Whittaker’s photo in Creve Coeur, Peoria, Pekin and other communities.
    “If she’s in this area, something’s got to turn up,” said Young, who is staying at a local motel. “We’re just trying to follow leads.”
    A Creve Coeur police spokesman said an investigation continued, and Peoria authorities also had been notified.
    Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis said his department had called Peoria area authorities early in the investigation after family and other sources had said Whittaker might have gone to Central Illinois.
    Davis said he hadn’t sent detectives to the region yet, but was keeping in contact with authorities.
    Davis called the case a “priority” for his department, but cautioned against speculation.
    “The information that was given to us (by other law enforcement agencies) didn’t yield any successful results,” Davis said. “We can only act on facts.”
    Davis said his detectives had followed up on dozens of possible leads and looked at “several areas” where Whittaker may have gone.
    “We have explored those extensively,” Davis said.
    Davis said tips were welcome and could be made by calling police at (573) 221-0987 or logging on to www.hannibalpd.com.
    “We don’t want to discourage people,” Davis said. “If they feel like they know something, give us the information (but) if it’s not based on any grain of truth, keep it to yourself.”
    Whittaker is described as five feet six inches tall with a weight of 130 pounds.
    Family members told police Whittaker has a six-month-old child who she would not willingly leave and requires medication that she has not had access to since Nov. 13.
    “I know she’s out there somewhere,” Young said.
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