A Missing Teenager's Texas Getaway

When a teenage girl from small-town Minnesota disappeared with a man 12 years older, everyone knew where they went. So why didn't anyone look?

Foss eventually got bored with blogTV, but Kenzie and Crawford corresponded throughout her ninth-grade year, Foss says, on Facebook, video chat, text. They had a lot in common. Kenzie told him she watched the same ThunderCats and He-Man cartoons that Crawford had grown up on more than a decade earlier, and they both liked rap music.

Soon Kenzie was adding 's' to the end of her words, like Crawford. They adopted pet names for each other, like Kenzieface Rosebear. She called Crawford Bear, or Choon after his Facebook handle Choontak Bloodsack.

"You're going to marry me," Crawford told her on Facebook, according to records provided by the family. "Even if you're drunk and bawlin' snot bubbles."

Before Mackenzie Foss moved from Minnesota to Flower Mound, she and the missing girl were best friends. Their friendship continued in Texas until Foss' dad, Shelby, unearthed the truth.
Jason Ryan
Before Mackenzie Foss moved from Minnesota to Flower Mound, she and the missing girl were best friends. Their friendship continued in Texas until Foss' dad, Shelby, unearthed the truth.
Kenzie was staying with her aunt Lisa (above) when she disappeared for the last time.
Mark Kartarik
Kenzie was staying with her aunt Lisa (above) when she disappeared for the last time.

"I do, Bear," Kenzie answered. "<3."

"I do, lovebear," he vowed, sealing the promise.

It was June of last year, a year after they met, that the two first met in person. Kenzie had been crying. It was the week before the eight-year anniversary of her mother's suicide; Amy suffered from bipolar disorder, her family says, and she died of a drug overdose. Still, Kenzie worshiped her. She had an array of keepsakes from her mother, including jewelry and a box her mom had painted for her, and she held tightly to the memory of her smell. The anniversary was always when Kenzie was at her weakest, when pent-up grief flooded out in tears and soft sobs.

"What are you doing this weekend?" Crawford asked her.

She didn't have plans.

"I'll come there and go to the graveyard with you," he said.

She didn't believe him. But on June 26, he left his house around 5 a.m. and drove straight through to Marshall.

"I hope you know how much this means to me, Bear <3," Kenzie Facebook messaged him as he drove. She'd even handmade him a card.

"Eheh, we'll see about that when you meet me :D," he answered.

That night he arrived in Marshall. He slept in his car, Foss says, at a park by the narrow, sluggish Redwood River. Kenzie sneaked out to take him coffee or spend the night in the car with him.

In the mornings, Foss says, Kenzie would tell her dad that she was going over to Foss' house. Instead she'd joyride with Crawford, touring him around Marshall and showing him off to her maternal grandparents, to Foss and to other friends. Crawford even let her drive.

Then, four days after Crawford arrived, on the evening of June 30, Kenzie's dad pulled up to Foss' house in a Jeep. There was a gun in the backseat, Foss remembers. He looked angry and frightened.

"Kenzie ran away with that guy Kris," he said. Kenzie had bragged about Crawford to a younger cousin, and word had gotten back to her father. "We have no idea where they are."

An old man cracks his front door and sneers into the fading Texas sunlight. He steps out, shutting the door behind him. A pit bull barks on the other side.

"Can I see some identification?" he howls.

Although this is Kristopher Crawford's last-known address, he isn't likely to be holed up in his mom and stepdad's modest Grand Prairie rancher. Still, it's a good place to start. Crawford has lost both of his jobs, at Home Depot and a temp job at a financial services company. He's broke. Everyone believes he's in Texas, if only because he's so close to his mother.

The man calls to his wife. "Leslie! Come here!"

He is suspicious, for good reason. The cops have knocked on his door multiple times in recent months. They even searched the house. But Crawford was never there. Neither was Kenzie.

Leslie steps out, looking around her husband's shoulder. She wears an oversized, fraying gray tee over her pudgy body, and her gray hair is knotted messily behind her. Her handshake is the firmer of the two, although her husband is working himself into a frenzy.

"If someone jacks with Kris, I'm going after them," he says. "I'll blow them away."

"No you won't," Leslie says softly, trying to calm him down.

"Yes I will! I'm serious." He's done calmly stepping aside as police walk through his house without a warrant, he says, searching the rooms, pressing on the walls.

The second of two boys, Kristopher Crawford was born in 1983 into a shaky household. Leslie and his father fought, then separated. For a while, Leslie was a single mother, working nights at the post office.

For years, Crawford was shuttled between his mother and father. As soon as he adjusted, Leslie says, he would have to move back. He never finished high school and got his GED instead. His most serious attempt at a career was when he went to bartending school.

"But the bars want you to have experience to work for them," she says. "And to have experience, you have to work at the bar."

Crawford never had many friends, his mom says. Most of the ones he made he met through Internet chat rooms and video games, including a teenager named Malcolm Robbins. They met three years ago in a chat room, when Robbins was 17. Crawford was 25.

Robbins lived in Northern California's wine country, but the friends spoke online for two years, Robbins says, getting extremely close without ever actually meeting. Early last year, Robbins wanted to win back his girlfriend, but he didn't have a ride to where she lived, 100 miles away. So Crawford drove 1,800 miles to give Robbins a lift. Crawford ended up staying more than two weeks and spending more than $2,500, Robbins says, although he recalls someone in Crawford's family helping with expenses.

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Give it a rest!
Give it a rest!

You are either ignorant of TX law or you've been the not so innocent teen girl as well. If you are a minor in TX you cannot consent to any physical relationship. I'm sorry but a grown man, no matter how immature, is still a man. NOT a boy. The legal age of consent in MN is 16! If he was doing nothing wrong them why manipulate her into crossing multiple state lines which is a federal felony?! Obviously he knew what he was doing. Isolate the girl from any family and you have complete control. Pedophilia much???


OK wow so who comes up with all that stuff?Total-Privacy dot US


OK yeah that makes a whole lot of sense dude.www.Total-Privacy dot US

East Texas P1
East Texas P1

Please keep us informed of the updates on this.


I'm glad she's been found and wish you best of luck.


Glad she's been found. 16 yr old kids make dumb mistakes and don't understand what love is or how relationships work, its part of being a teenager. 28 year old men should know better however, he is a child predator and I hope he gets more serious charges since it appears he kidnapped and raped this girl over a period of several months. Shame that the authorities did nothing about this for so long when everyone knew she was with him.

Just A Girl.
Just A Girl.

The ignorance behind that comment is kind of ridiculous. Sorry, but it is. In no way does this article say that he raped her, and either way rape is without consent of the other person. If the girl was as in love with this man as the article claims she was and agreed to it, it's not rape, but nowhere does this article say they were intimate. On another note, it doesn't state that he kidnapped her at all. Nobody is looking at this story from both sides, they're just looking at it from the whole "he's a 28 year old man which automatically makes all of this his fault because we find this morally unacceptable, so the 'innocent' little 16 year old girl did nothing to try to get close to him and to be with him". It should be looked at from both angles, not just his. According to the article, she WANTED to be with him, very badly. That doesn't mean he kidnapped her. Again, if it's within her own interests that she wanted to be with him, then it's not kidnapping. It's kidnapping if he just took her from the streets and she wasn't even aware of what was going on. If the girl truly found herself as in love with this guy as the article claims she was, then she would have incredible interests on being with him.

The only reason this was even an issue in the first place is because people think the age gap is "wrong". Generally, what this whole thing comes down to is what is socially or morally unacceptable by the standards of today. You are entitled to think whatever you want, but put into consideration that it wouldn't all be rested upon him. Teenagers do stupid things for love, and you can't control who you fall in love with.

Karen Spiegelman
Karen Spiegelman

Just A Girl, you are misinformed. If someone cannot legally give consent, you cannot legally have sexual relations with them, because that is legally rape. Someone below the age of consent cannot legally have sexual relations. It doesn't matter how badly a child wants to have sex with you -- if you are an adult, meaning above the age of consent, it is up to you to not perform statutory rape. Age of consent laws and classifying people as minors are arguably a bit arbitrary, but are based on the fact that teenage brains are not yet fully formed; that's why a 14-yr-old who steals from a store is treated differently from a 30-yr-old who does the same actions -- the grown-up should have more self-control. But in the end, rape is a crime because it is against the law. Argue against the reason for that law all you want, but if you are having sex with a teenager, you need to expect legal repercussions. Any way you look at this case, it's sad. The poor kid has a dead mother and a violent father, and then some 28-yr-old weirdo grooms her over the Internet and runs away with her. I hope she can make it back from her rough start. And I hope the 28-yr-old can fix himself and his life so that he can make more appropriate romantic decisions, perhaps start dating people above the age of consent.