On May 12, 2000, Jennifer Lancaster, a mother of two from Topeka, Kansas, mysteriously vanished with both of her young daughters in tow, and the search for the trio continues over two decades later.
While growing up in the southeast Highland Park region of Topeka, Jennifer reportedly became acquainted with the “wrong crowd” and found herself in some trouble at school. At that point, she transferred to Topeka West High School and earned her diploma in 1998.
Then, on March 22, 1999, Jennifer welcomed her daughter Sidney into the world when she was just 19 years old. Her second daughter, Monique, was later born on April 5, 2000.
As she raised her two daughters, Jennifer worked two jobs– one at a local bar known as Remington’s and another at a club called Baby Doll’s. She also lived at Misty Glen Apartments and Townhomes with her mom, Vicki, and her sister, Jessica. There, Jennifer and her two daughters dwelled in the basement.
On the night of May 12, 2000, nothing appeared out of the ordinary to Jennifer’s family, either. She and her daughters had attended a family dinner with Merlin and Opal Otteson, her grandparents, in southeast Topeka.
“Everything seemed fine,” Jennifer’s mom, Vicki, recalled.
But, around 8:00 p.m., Jennifer and her daughters arrived back at their apartment, and Jennifer told Vicki that she was going to wash her baby’s clothes. At the same time, Jennifer had been holding a clear trash bag containing both baby garments and quilts.
Vicki didn’t understand why Jennifer was going to get the clothes laundered since their apartment actually had a washer and dryer in the unit. Regardless, Jennifer left anyway with her daughters– 1-year-old Sidney and 5-week-old Monique– and they were never seen again.
At first, Vicki wasn’t immediately concerned when Jennifer and her daughters didn’t arrive back home that evening and simply assumed that Jennifer had gone to see her boyfriend. But her worries only grew as time passed, and the following day– May 13, 2000– Vicki contacted the Topeka Police Department to file missing persons reports for Jennifer, Sidney, and Monique.