In December 2011, 23-year-old Phoenix Coldon got into her black truck, pulled out of her family's driveaway, and was never seen or heard from again. The story that has been reported for the last seven years is that Phoenix’s truck was found ominously still running with the lights on, many of her personal items inside, and the door ajar.
These details are false.
In the two-night special "The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon," airing on Oxygen Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 at 7/6c, journalist Shawndrea Thomas and retired St. Louis Deputy Chief of Police Joe Delia visited the spot where Phoenix’s truck was abandoned with police officer Kendall Perry, who had initially responded to a call about Phoenix's abandoned vehicle.
Thomas runs through the details she was initially given: The truck was discovered with the door open, still running, with many of Phoenix's personal belongings, including her purse, inside.
"So the engine was running," said Thomas.
"No,” corrected officer Perry. “The engine wasn't running."
Thomas then asked if the keys were still in the truck, as was previously reported.
"No," said the officer.
In fact, officer Perry said there was nothing alarming about the state of the vehicle.
"There was nothing to raise a red flag like that. The doors were closed,” he said. “The lights were off. The car was just sitting here parked. There was no indication of a carjacking or a struggle or anything violent. It was just an ordinary abandoned vehicle.”
Officer Perry’s initial thought was that the truck had simply run out of gas. “It’s not that unusual,” he said.
Shocked, Thomas, one of the first journalists to report on the case, said: "From the very beginning I was told that story of this car. Engine running. Lights on. Keys in the ignition. Door flung open as if Phoenix had been snatched out of this car."
Added Thomas, “One-hundred percent different than what we’ve been understanding this whole time.”
Thomas remarked in episode 1 of “The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon” that it was Goldia Coldon, Phoenix’s mother, who had initially conveyed the inaccurate information. But Goldia and her husband Lawrence Coldon said they couldn’t remember where they heard the false account. "I can't remember," said Lawrence.
"I may have read it,” added Goldia. “I don't know. I don't remember.”
This new development may mean that it is less likely that Phoenix Coldon was car-jacked or violently snatched from her vehicle. Could she still be alive?
Part two of The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon airs Sunday, November 4, at 7/6c.
[Photo provided by Goldia Coldon]
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