China Renee Videon was born on November 30, 1982, and was a Riverdale High School junior. She resided on U.S. Highway 231 (Shelbyville Highway) in Christiana, Tennessee, roughly 11 miles south of Murfreesboro.
Life was good for China Videon. She was doing well in school, had recently purchased a 1999 black four-door Mazda Protegee with tinted windows, and ordered her class ring. She had no problems in her family life and kept a close relationship with her mother, Suzanne, a registered nurse.
After school on October 19, 1999, China worked a shift at Bi-Lo Grocery Store at Rutherford Boulevard and Southeast Broad Street in Murfreesboro and picked up her paycheck. Around 7 p.m., she visited Suzanne at the Just Image beauty salon at Jackson Heights Plaza, and her mother gave her some money to purchase groceries. China also planned to get gas for her car before returning home. Some reports say she left the salon to go to a friend’s house.
When Suzanne arrived home at 7:50 p.m., China was not there. She knew something was wrong; China was a homebody and always told Suzanne where she would be.
China’s best friend Angela Mathews said in 2015 that she and China were supposed to hang out that night. The following day a school resource officer told her China was missing. Angela also knew something was wrong and that China did not run away.
Suzanne called the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office to report China as missing and distributed flyers with China’s picture. She also contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Initial reports said China was last seen at the Golden Gallon convenience store at 2610 S. Church St. Investigators attempted to retrieve video surveillance footage from the store, but it had been recorded over.
The disappearance stumped authorities, who initially thought China had voluntarily left with an adult male. It is unclear why they thought this, but they now believe someone murdered her. Months went by with no leads in the case.
In June 2000, investigators had their first break when they found China’s Mazda in the parking lot of an apartment complex off Harding Road in south Nashville. The car had been there since China disappeared; the groceries she bought that day were still in the car, as well as some of her personal belongings. There were no signs of a struggle. Technicians from Nashville’s Metro police Department processed the vehicle for trace evidence, fingerprints, and blood, but the car was clean.
Detectives reopened the case in 2007, re-interviewed witnesses, and sifted through two large boxes of evidence looking for fresh leads. Again, nothing happened.
In 2015, the RCSO announced they had two suspects, known only as T.J. and Chris. T.J. lived in Goose Creek, South Carolina, and worked for a big box store on James Island. The other suspect, Chris, resides in Alabama.
Two months later, detectives said an arrest in the case was “imminent” but never arrested anyone in connection with China’s disappearance.
China Videon has never been found, and her mother believes China knew her kidnapper and that others know what happened to her daughter.
Suzanne had China legally declared dead sometime before 2009. Her family and friends have held candlelight vigils over the years, with the most recent one in 2015 (that I found) on what would have been her 33rd birthday.
RCSO has made public appeals for information, but no one has ever come forward. If you have information in this case, please call the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office at 615-898-7770.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
I posted a short one today due to time restraints, so I don’t have too much to say here.
China’s groceries and personal belongings were still in the car when it was found, so someone likely murdered her shortly after her disappearance.
She either willingly went with her abductor/killer, which meant that she knew this person, and thought she’d return to her car in a relatively short period of time, or someone approached her while she was running errands and abducted her.
Her mother believes China knew her abductor, but I think this can go either way. The car was wiped clean, so I wonder if it was a stranger abduction. If this was a last-minute attack by someone she knew, would they even think to wipe the car completely clean? Know how to dispose of a body never to be found? Maybe. Time was on his or her side, that’s for sure. And the person could have had help.
I would like to know more about the two men — T.J. and Chris. Did they know China? Was one her boyfriend? Why are they considered suspects? Why didn’t the police make the “imminent” arrest?
There was only one mention of possible sightings that I could find but nothing specific. RCSO seems a bit hush-hush on this case, considering it is over two decades old.