As more and more women go missing, investigations fail to find answers, the number of unsolved murders continues to increase and families across the county beg for information, one media outlet is finally paying attention.
Spike TV will air eight-part series Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio on Saturday, July 22.
“Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentarian Joe Berlinger has teamed up with Spike to shed new light on a growing number of unsolved murders that have cast a dark shadow over a small Ohio town,” the trailer explains.
In fact, the show will focus on missing women and unsolved murder victims across Ross and Scioto counties. The fifth episode will include the story of Megan Lancaster, who went missing from Scioto County in April 2013.
The missing or unsolved murders in the local community include Melissa Blevins, who went missing in February 2010 at the age of 31; Kayla Eitel, who went missing January 4, 2016; Jennifer Shepherd, whose body was found in Pine Creek in Wheelersburg in June 2013; Angela Holsinger, who has been missing since May 1998; and Nichole Alloway, a North Carolina woman who went missing from Scioto County in June 2009 before her body was found a month later off route 73 in Otway. One arrest was made in connection with her death at the time; however, no one has been charged with her murder. The missing or unsolved listed are only those cases which have been identified by the Attorney General’s Office of Ohio or local family members.
Kadie Lancaster, of South Webster, explained that after working with producers and investigators from Spike TV, she remains hopeful that her sister-in-law Megan Lancaster is still alive and that new information will come to light.
“My heart doesn’t pull me in the direction that she’s dead,” Kadie stated. “I feel like she could just possibly still be out there. We’re going to fight whether she’s dead or alive. We can’t get any closure as long as we don’t know.”
Encouraging Kadie to keep searching for Megan is the thought that the missing young woman is still alive and in desperate need of help.
“I can’t stop when I just keep thinking, ‘She’s out there, and she needs you,’” Kadie explained.
Kadie and Megan have known each other since high school, years before Kadie married Megan’s brother.
“She was out-going and kindhearted,” Kadie said about Megan.
She went on to explain that everyone always loved Megan, who had always been very social. In high school, Megan earned a scholarship to Shawnee State University (SSU) to play softball. Then, as a junior in high school, Megan got pregnant. Kadie explained that Megan continued to play softball until she was five months into her pregnancy. She soon lost her scholarship but attended SSU after high school anyway.
According to Kadie, Megan started using drugs when she was approximately 16. She was dating the father of her son, who was also a drug user and a much older man. After breaking up with him, the teenager started dating another older guy, and he helped encourage her at the time growing opiate addiction. Soon, addiction led the girl who had an easy time making friends down the road to prostitution. She was just under 18.
Kadie says that Megan was always very open about her drug use and her illicit career. She remembers seeing Megan going out in public dressed in lingerie. When Kadie would ask where she was going, she remembers Megan telling her that she was dancing for a party or going out for the night with a local businessman.
On April 5, 2013, family became concerned after not hearing from Megan in a couple days.
“That just wasn’t like her,” Kadie stated.
Even though Megan was using drugs, she talked to her family nearly everyday. At the time, it was especially unusual because her son, now 11, was very sick at the time. After not hearing from Megan since April 3, her mother went to her apartment to check on her.
“Her car wasn’t there, so she (Megan’s mother) just thought Megan was out running around,” Kadie remembered.
Then, later that evening, Megan’s drug dealer showed up at her mother’s house concerned. Now in active addiction, Megan spoke with her dealer multiple times a day. He told the family he knew something was wrong because not only had he not talked to her, he had seen her car parked at Rallys in Portsmouth for the past several days.
The family went down and discovered the car was in fact Megan’s. Kadie said that the family immediately called the police, who rather than take the car in as evidence, told the family to have the car towed to Megan’s mother’s house. There it sat until fall. A list of items collected from the car is dated October 2013.
Since Megan’s disappearance, Kadie says the family has been through some horrific experiences. With no new details on the case, the family started looking for Megan themselves. Kadie explained that law enforcement has not been cooperative with the family, sending them letters stating that they can’t do their jobs with persistent calls from family and media. Portsmouth Police Officer Lynn Brewer even arrested Kadie on persistency-disorderly conduct (a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine) after she publicly approached him about her sister-in-law’s case. According to Portsmouth Municipal Court records, Kadie was charged on May 18, 2016. She was arrested, jailed and later released on bond for a non-jailable offense. The case was dismissed in court. She added that the police refuse to speak with any member of the family about Megan. They have not contacted Megan’s mother in two years despite her continued effort to contact them.
Aside from attempting to work with what the family has found to be uncooperative law enforcement, Megan’s family has been preyed upon by individuals claiming to have Megan and asking for money.
From October to December of 2015, Kadie says she received almost constant phone calls from a man who would say he had Megan and was going to hurt her if a ransom was not paid. He even had information about her disappearance.
“He tortured us, even calling in the middle of the night,” Kadie explained. “It was like he looked up all this information and chose our family.”
Eventually, Kadie found out that he was doing the same to another family across the country. Worried that the man may actually have Megan, Kadie took the ransom and went to Washington State, where she was ordered to drop the money off in exchange for her sister-in-law. However, she did not go alone. She took 20/20. She arrived to find out she was being scammed.
Though the family has theories as to what may have happened to Megan, Kadie say they don’t have any real leads or factual information. She added that law enforcement certainly has not updated the family with any information.
Numerous private investigators have also volunteered their help over the years but have failed to shine any light on the case. Spike TV also brought along a private investigator from New York though Kadie says she is not sure they have found anything either.
“I wish I could tell you what the show is going to be about,” Kadie stated. “I think a lot of the episode on Megan is just about her.”
She added that the entire documentary focuses on police involvement in the various cases of missing women across Southern Ohio and is even mentioned throughout the trailer available on spike.com.
“I know we hit a lot on police corruption,” she commented. “I don’t know about the experiences of the other families, but I know what we’ve went through. They’ve (law enforcement) put us through hell.”
The first episode of Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio will air at 9 p.m. on Spike.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.