Kirsten Joy Kryszak, age 18, went missing from Memphis, Tennessee on January 1, 2001.
Kirsten disappeared after attending a New Years Eve party the night of December 31, 2000. She was reportedly last seen the following day by her boyfriend, Brent, and two other men who had attended the party. The two men have given conflicting stories of the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, although both agree that she was last seen driving a 1988 Ford Aerostar, which belonged to one of the men and has never been recovered.
One of the men at the party, Josh, reported that Kirsten had asked him for a ride home the following morning. His car would not start, so he borrowed the Ford Aerostar from another party guest known as “Tolly”. Josh stated that he and Kirsten went to CK ‘s Coffee Shop for breakfast, then returned to his apartment. Kirsten waited in the running van while Josh showered and changed his clothes. He then drove for several hours with Kirsten because she could not find the house she wanted to be dropped off at. Eventually, Josh drove her back to her boyfriend’s house, and as he exited the van, Kirsten jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off, circling around the block a few times, laughing and pointing at Josh as she drove by, before turning a corner and never coming back. Josh claimed that he had to get gas twice during the drive, which took them through West Memphis, and even into Mississippi. Josh claimed that Kirsten was acting strangely during the drive, smiling and laughing one minute, crying the next, and dancing in her seat, trying to ‘put the moves on him’ the next. He claimed he ‘shot her down’.
Josh was asked about Kirsten by a news reporter a few years later, and responded with “That name sounds familiar.”
Kirsten’s boyfriend Brent, said that he had been in a neighbor’s apartment across the street on the morning of January 1, and through the window he saw Josh and Kirsten pull up in the 1988 Ford Aerostar. Brent stated that Josh, Kirsten, and another man named Shaun were in the vehicle. He watched as Kirsten went to his door and knocked, returned to the car, and then returned to Brent’s door again with Josh and Shaun. He then saw all three of them get back in the van and leave. Brent said that Josh called him at about 2pm that day, and told him that Kirsten had stolen the van while he stopped to get gas.
When asked by a reporter about Kirsten, Brent commented that he believed Kirsten died of an overdose, given the path she was taking at the time.
Although both versions of the story involve Kirsten stealing the van, there is no record that the van was reported stolen. The owner of the van has stated that he did report it missing, and has refused to discuss the case with the media.
Kirsten was living with a man named Earl at the time of her disappearance, and he contacted Kirsten’s parents when Kirsten did not return home after a couple days. According to Earl, he and Kirsten did not have a romantic relationship but were simply roommates.
Kirsten had some problems – she began to spiral into a high risk lifestyle following her parents divorce. She was involved with drugs, and frequently drifted between places – and men. She had also run away in the past, which caused a very delayed reaction by law enforcement to her disappearance.
The weather was poor on the morning Kirsten disappeared, the roads were icy and it had been snowing. Kirsten was last seen wearing a light jacket and a mini-skirt. Her family does not believe she would have been gone this long without contacting them.
There was some excellent coverage of Kirsten’s disappearance in 2007, which exposed the fact that investigators had not spoken with any of the witnesses in Kirsten’s case since 2001. Frustrated, Kirsten’s family attempted to have the case transferred to the homicide division, but were unsuccessful because there was no ‘evidence of a crime’.
In 2008, the case was finally transferred to the homicide division, and an article indicated that they would be re-interviewing those who were last with Kirsten, and following up on tips that were uncovered by the media in the above mentioned 2007 press coverage. It was stated that homicide was better equipped to put pressure on the witnesses, whose conflicting stories trouble Kirsten’s family.
It was a very promising article, however, I have not seen any updates on her case since 2008, other than an increase in the reward to $17000.00 in 2011.
It really sounded like they were going to make some headway. If this case had been taken seriously at the time, they could have asked which gas stations Josh stopped at, while driving Kirsten around. The gas stations probably had cameras and could have verified his story. If the van were actually stolen at a gas station, the attendant would likely have been aware of the stranded driver on his premises. Also, I’m sure there were other people at this party besides the four men already mentioned, that could have seen something. They probably would have remembered something unusual back then, but it’s been 12 years now.
A few unusual things found around the net:
One of the recent boyfriends of Kirsten’s mentioned in a news article was a man named JaJe Garibaldi. According to his MySpace, he came across the article, and thinks it’s funny. Oh-kay. Yeah. Hilarious.
A friend of Kirsten’s posted a blog about her disappearance, and referred to ‘hippie’ stuff, and the fact that she’d gone with a group in Tolly’s van (presumably the same van she was last seen in) to a gathering in 1999 or 2000. I wonder if she was referring to a Rainbow Family gathering, which is a mecca for ‘runaways’ of all ages.
Someone claiming to have been a friend of Kirsten’s commented on one of the news articles, saying that she saw Kirsten on New Years Eve, but had never been contacted by police. She said she has been told by 3-4 different people, including one person mentioned in the article, that Kirsten is dead. I really hope she has contacted police with what she knows. And if she did, I hope she wasn’t blown off by them. It seems there is no news on her case, so I hope her tips were investigated.
No Kirsten, no van. Did she veer off of a road due to the bad weather and her erratic emotional state? Did she leave voluntarily, selling the van somewhere along the way? Or is something more sinister hidden in the conflicting stories given by fellow partygoers?