You may not have heard about Phoenix Coldon, a 23-year-old girl who vanished in 2011.
That’s because her case has not received a lot of media attention — until recently.
Coldon was last seen by her father pulling out the driveway of her St. Louis-area home. Hours later, her SUV was found abandoned and still running in the middle of an East St. Louis street.
Her belongings, including her glasses, ID, purse and shoes, were still in the car, but Coldon was never found.
On Tuesday, Coldon’s mother Goldia Coldon and investigative reporter Shawndrea Thomas appeared on an episode of "Dr. Oz" to talk about Coldon’s case. Thomas said she had to push KTVI's newsroom, where she worked in St. Louis, to make sure that Coldon’s case got media coverage.
“When I first found out about her story, I felt it was my responsibility to make sure her story was told and to push the story,” Thomas told Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Every year, on Jan. 18, the anniversary of Colden’s disappearance, she made sure that a story ran on the missing woman, along with her picture.
“She’s beautiful, educated, very accomplished,” Thomas said, adding that a lot of questions were raised after her SUV was found in East St. Louis, a rough area of the city according to Thomas.
Coldon was an only child who was homeschooled by religious parents. She did well in school, played piano and was a champion fencer.
Despite all that, as Oz pointed out, her case hasn’t received much media attention. He asked Coldon’s mother Goldia Coldon, who has suffered health issues and panic attacks that attributes to her missing daughter since she vanished, why she thinks that is.
“Why do you think the media hasn’t published it? Why did Shawndrea have to come in on her white horse and save the day?” he asked.
“I hate to say it, but first of all, in our United States, we have too much division,” the mother replied. There’s just too much division about so-called races. It tears me up inside to say it but it’s true and we need to stop this in this country because we’re better than this. Phoenix is just as important as anybody else.”
Goldia Coldon then asked Oz, who is white, if he has a daughter and he said yes, and she said that Phoenix Coldon is just as important as his daughter. Phoenix Coldon is African-American.
After the Dr. Oz interview aired, Thomas told Oxygen.com that she finds it sad that Goldia Coldon feels this way.
“She eventually got coverage but she told me it was a challenge at the beginning of the investigation,” she said. “ I hope that the series will spur more conversations about how stories about people of color are covered and how long they stay in the news cycle.”
By series, she is referring to a new two-night special show "The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon," which will start airing on Oxygen on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Goldia Coldon believes her daughter was never in East St. Louis.
“Phoenix, in my opinion, was never there,” she told Oz. “Someone just put the car there to throw us off.”
She also believes her daughter is still alive. She said she called her since she vanished and she heard her voice, although police claim it was just a 14-year-old girl from Los Angeles playing with her phone.
The day that she vanished, Goldia Coldon said her husband noticed that their daughter seemed determined to go somewhere, but she didn’t explain where. That was unlike her.
“Phoenix has never left the house without saying something,” the mother explained. “Without saying, ‘I’m going down the street. I’m going to the store.’ Phoenix has never left the house like that.”
She said after she called police, once police discovered that her daughter was 23, they seemed to lose interest, telling her that Phoenix Coldon is an adult and can make her own decisions.
“She doesn't have to tell you anything because she’s grown,” the mother claimed one cop told her.
And, there were many things that Phoenix Coldon did not tell her mother, including who she lived with. As the mother told Oz, Coldon claimed she had a female roommate when in reality she was living with a man. In a teaser for the new Oxygen show, it’s revealed that even though her parents paid her phone bill, Phoenix Coldon had a separate, secret phone.
The case is considered a cold one, but Phoenix Coldon’s family, police and Thomas hope to change that.
Thomas said police hope more people will come forward with more information and hopefully find out what happened to the missing woman. Anyone with information is urged to call their local FBI office or a tip line at 314-229-6673.
Unfortunately, many people who could know information about the case may not have watched Tuesday’s episode. According to a Facebook post from Thomas, a different episode of "Dr. Oz" may have aired in St. Louis. However, she told Oxygen.com, that she will share the episode on her social media in hopes that it will be spread around the area where Phoenix Coldon vanished.
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