In 1997, Kristen Modafferi was an 18-year-old honors college student from Charlotte, North Carolina. She had already completed her freshman year at North Carolina State University’s School of Design– during which she was reportedly encouraged to plan “an enriching summer experience.”
So, in the summer of 1997, she moved to San Fransisco to take a summer photography course at U.C. Berkeley and planned to enjoy a summer filled with new life experiences in a big city.
In order to afford that course’s tuition, Kristen found a job at a local coffee shop known as Spinelli’s, which was located at the Crocker Galleria mall. And on Monday, June 23, 1997, the very day before beginning her photography class, the 18-year-old arrived for her shift as usual.
Kristen was relieved from work at 3:00 p.m. But, coworkers reportedly saw her speaking with an unknown blonde woman up on the Galleria’s second floor approximately 45 minutes later.
What happened afterward remains unknown, though– because that was the last time anyone saw the teen.
Another coworker did recall how Kristen asked for directions to Baker Beach– suggesting that perhaps the 18-year-old had been heading to a party. But, authorities were never able to determine if Kristen ever attended a party or if there was even a party at all.
All that is known is that the teen left her job wearing tan pants, a black Spinelli’s t-shirt, a long-sleeved blue flannel shirt, and a green JanSport backpack holding a few library books.
At the time, Kristen lived with roommates in a rented home located on Jayne Avenue in Oakland. But her roommates were frequently in and out of the house, revealing that they were not concerned after the 18-year-old did not return on the evening of June 23.
Instead, her roommates assumed she might have stayed over at a friend’s house or met a guy.