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?

Crawford was scheduled to appear in a Marshall court in mid-September, but he was granted a continuance. One night that month, two Marshall police officers noticed a Lincoln Continental with Texas tags in a lumberyard near the bike path. They looked up the plates and traced the car to Crawford.

The officers informed Kenzie's dad, who had recently installed tracking software on his daughter's cell phone. Kenzie was out that night, supposedly at a friend's house. He pulled up her location and saw that his daughter was on a bike path not far from Crawford's car.

The officers walked until they reached an embankment under some railroad tracks. Crawford and Kenzie were sitting side by side; by now, the entire Marshall police force could recognize his face. He was arrested immediately and charged with violating a restraining order to go with his still-outstanding charge of depriving parental rights. He was released once again, and set off again to Texas, at least until the justice system lured him back.


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.

A couple weeks later, Kenzie was in her room when her dad came in and told her to get dressed. His grandmother had died; her wake was that day. But she refused, he remembers, and that's when he snapped: In a rage, he admits, he picked his scrawny daughter up and slammed her on the bed, his hand wrapped around her throat.

Kenzie later said that Jeremy had threatened to kill her. She called the cops, then Kristopher Crawford's mother, Leslie. When she heard, Leslie says, she called the cops, too. No charges were filed.

Later that month, a police officer called Aunt Lisa with a tip that Crawford was sending Kenzie a "care package": a cell phone and money, ostensibly to buy a bus ticket south. If it ever existed, though, it never came to the house, and Kenzie never ran. A receipt shows that on October 27, Crawford spent $102.94 on a hat and a black light-up tutu from raveready.com, which he shipped to "Kenzy Katt" at Lisa's address in St. Paul.

November came without Crawford facing the justice system; he'd been due in court again but was granted another continuance. One night, as Minnesota started to freeze, Kenzie stepped outside for 45 minutes to smoke. Lisa's boyfriend was concerned, so he walked around the house to the back alley. Kenzie was in their car, smoking cigarettes. She had a cell phone in her hand. She was talking to Crawford.

The boyfriend took the phone, stormed inside and handed it to Lisa, already in bed. Kenzie screamed and attacked Lisa. "I need that phone!" Kenzie screamed. "I need that phone!"

Lisa found pictures of Crawford in his underwear on the phone, and more suggestive photos of Kenzie. She turned over the phone to St. Paul PD.

On December 7, after being granted yet another continuance, Crawford wrote to Kenzie, using the handle agentpacman0007:

"You lost that phone. That phone was practically my life, and didn't even bother to pay attention or delete anything.

"Your lies kill me, bear. ..." He continued. "And as much as I hate them, I still answer you. ... Still talk to you. ... Because I can't be without you..."

Five days later, Kenzie, now 16, walked outside to smoke. She wore a black hoodie and sweatpants, a coat, the hat Crawford bought for her and $78 she stole from her aunt's boyfriend's wallet. She never came back.


Crawford takes a last drag on his Marlboro Red, peering into the darkness through small, ovular lenses, gaunt cheeks collapsing as he pulls. He looks at the butt pinned between his bony fingers, then flicks it into the night and walks into the Starbucks.

He slows, waiting for a hyper young boy to skip past, and chooses a table for two closest to the door.

"I guess you don't smoke," he says. He smiles, revealing two rows of perfect, white teeth. They look out of place. He smells rank, ripe from what must be days without showering. He's sleeping in his car, he says, or crashing with friends and ex-coworkers. His stepdad wouldn't let him near the house, so one time he spent an entire week sleeping in the Walgreens parking lot down the street.

Baggy black sweats sag from his waist, and a ragged, black T-shirt with a mug shot of Family Guy's baby Stewie hangs from frail shoulders. "Quahog's Most Wanted," it reads. A jagged widow's peak is all that remains of his hairline, and a wispy, narrow shock of dark hair flows unchecked from the front all the way back before plunging into a long, greasy rattail draped over one shoulder. He looks perfectly comfortable in the Arlington Starbucks on the corner of West Bardin and Cooper, just minutes from UT-Arlington's main campus.

It's April 25, more than four months after he failed to show in court. There is a national warrant out for his arrest, but no one seems to be looking for him. Police in Minnesota and Texas will say only that Kenzie's disappearance is "an ongoing investigation." Her face is on a few posters online, but due to a combination of jurisdictional confusion, incompetence and blind luck, law enforcement hasn't done much at all to find her or Crawford.

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11 comments
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???

wantgant
wantgant

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

wantgant
wantgant

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.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

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

ConcernedDad
ConcernedDad

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.

 
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