Gone in the night: What happened to sixteen-year-old Lashaya Stine?

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DENVER – Sitting 25 miles east of the city lies Colorado’s third largest city, Aurora, with a diverse population of roughly 400,000. The city stretches over 163 square miles and includes the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas. There are more than 450 neighborhoods in Aurora.

With its tree-lined streets and picturesque mountain views, Aurora seems ideal and is considered one of the top 20 safest towns in the state.

Aurora is known for its great schools and excellent healthcare, not to mention a variety of outdoor activities, thanks partly to the nearby Rocky Mountains.

Lashaya Stine wanted to become a nurse and be part of Aurora’s exciting healthcare system. Born on Feb. 8, 2000, to Sabrina Jones, Stine has five brothers.

Stine was a straight-A student at George Washington High School. She was supposed to start a five-day internship on Aug. 1, 2016, at the University of Colorado Hospital, named in the 2017-2018 US News & World Report Honor Roll, according to UpHomes.com.

Stine was looking forward to an interview for a summer job at Firehouse Subs. Everything was going well for the teen. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders and was not the type to disobey her mother.

But one day, for whatever reason, Stine did.

Stine left home on July 15, 2016, in the middle of the night without her mother’s permission, which was uncharacteristic of the teenager. She was last seen on CCTV cameras at 2:30 a.m. crossing the intersection at East Montview Boulevard and Peoria Street alone. No one has seen her since.

Stine was 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and about 150 pounds when she disappeared. She had long black hair and a quarter-sized round scar on her chest.

Jones does not believe her daughter had intended to be gone long as she left her clothes, phone charger, and wallet behind. Jones also theorizes that Stine left home to meet a boy who was a bad influence on her.

Within the first six months of the disappearance, police received numerous tips, including some about Stine with an adult male and a younger female. One came in on July 23, 2016, reporting Stine wearing a black tank top and blue shorts.

Investigators interviewed several people, including Stine’s ex-boyfriend. In August 2019, police released an age-progression of Stine at age 19.

Jones believes that traffickers are responsible for her daughter’s disappearance. In 2020, investigators received a credible lead when a tipster said they spotted Stine at an East Colfax Avenue hotel. The Charley Project reports that witnesses told police that a girl resembling Stine was “kept drugged and forced into prostitution.”

In November 2020, the FBI searched a vacant house in the 2200 block of Lansing Street for three days. The home is near where Stine was seen on CCTV. Stine had known the previous residents at the house; however, they had already moved out when police searched the residence.

Denver 7 reported that Aurora Fire Rescue brought heavy equipment to the home that could break up chunks of concrete, then investigators could sift through it. Police also used FBI cadaver dogs and other search dogs.

Public information officer Matthew Longshore told Denver 7 that investigators were focused on the home’s basement. However, they found nothing in the three-day search, which was the first public update in over a year.

Since Stine vanished nearly seven years ago, scammers have tried to take advantage of a grieving mother by offering information in exchange for cash or gift cards.

Stine remains missing, and police have never named a suspect in her case. She may have been spotted in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and New Mexico.

Authorities are offering a $15,000 reward for anyone with information. Stine would be almost 23 years old now. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

I’m with Sabrina on this one. I believe that Lashaya met that boy somewhere after she left home, and he took her where traffickers hung out, like that hotel on East Colfax. There is the possibility that the boy alone abducted her.

Traffickers drug their victims so they do not run away and become addicted to drugs. I’d like to know who this boy was and how she knew him. What was his age in 2016? How did she meet him — through school? What about his family? Does he have a criminal background? Any gang affiliations?

I know that traffickers will sometimes tell their victims to leave their cell phones behind. And in some cases, they will tell them to perform the factory reset. This is usually when they meet their victim through a platform like social media or an online advertisement for modeling, for example.

Did Lashaya have a computer, and did the police check it? What about cellphone records? I want to believe Lashaya is still alive, but as time passes, I don’t think that to be the case.

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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