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For the past three decades, law enforcement in Berkeley County, South Carolina, has been searching for answers in the cold case disappearances of Korrina Malinoski and her 11-year-old daughter, Annette Sagers.
Malinoski vanished the evening of Nov. 21, 1987 after a reported fight with her husband, Steven Malinoski, at their home on the Mount Holly Plantation, where Steven worked as a caretaker. Steven told law enforcement Korrina left around 11:30 p.m. in her car, and that was the last time he ever saw her.
Sagers, Steven’s stepdaughter, went missing less than a year later while waiting for the bus on her way to school. Steven claimed that Sagers left a note at the bus stop, reading: “Dad, Mom came back. I have to go with her. Give the boys lots of kisses and hugs and also you to. Love, Annette.”
Handwriting analysis was done, which confirmed the note had been written by Sagers. It is unknown, however, if it was penned under duress.
Following Sagers’ vanishing, Steven moved to Florida with the two sons he had with Korrina, Thomas and James, and abandoned them. Thomas and James Fairbanks were ultimately adopted, and they later reconnected with their biological family through a genealogy website.
The brothers have since started their own search for Korrina and Sagers, hoping to solve the mystery of their disappearances. With their help, “Up and Vanished” host Payne Lindsey and his team tracked down Steven, who is considered a person of interest by law enforcement.
Both Thomas and James believe Steven knows more about their mother and sister’s disappearances than he has let on, and James theorized they could have been killed in “a domestic dispute that turned out wrong.”
Former Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office chief Randy Herod also believes Steven “knows more than he’s telling.”
“He was the one that we were looking at the hardest,” Herod told Lindsey. “We put him on a state polygraph, the state police talked with him, we talked with him … He didn’t seem very upset, not much emotion … [the polygraph test] was inconclusive.”
For the first time since they were abandoned 28 years ago, the brothers came face-to-face with Steven to ask him about their missing loved ones.
When questioned if any of his confrontations with Korrina ever got physical, Steven said, “My memory doesn’t serve me that well.”
“I had nothing to do with it. I had nothing to do with Korrina’s disappearance nor did I have anything to do with Annette’s disappearance … If they got hurt in any way, fashion or form, I had nothing do with it whatsoever,” he said.
“You know, I went through with South Carolina’s law enforcement,” Steven added. “I went through polygraph tests. And then, they cleared me of any wrongdoing.”
It is still unknown what happened to Korrina and Sagers, and their disappearances are currently being investigated by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office cold case team.
In August 2019, Steven was arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida, and charged with a domestic child abuse felony unrelated to the Korrina and Sagers’ cases. He is currently behind bars awaiting trial on a $150,000 bond, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
If you have any information about Korrina and Sagers, contact the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-719-4668.
To learn more about the case and hear from Korrina’s family, watch “Up and Vanished,” airing Saturdays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
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