Snatched from the street? The disappearance of Mikelle Biggs
Mikelle Diane Biggs was born on May 31, 1987, the first child of Darien and Tracy Biggs. She was later joined by younger sisters Kimber and Lynelle* and younger brother Nathan.
Mikelle was a quiet, straight A student who played piano and clarinet. She loved art and drawing, aspiring one day to be a Disney animator. But she also had a bit of a mischievous side. In a Reddit AMA around 2014, Mikelle’s sister Kimber recalled Christmas morning of 1998, when Mikelle talked her into sneaking down before their parents woke up to see what Santa had brought them. Unfortunately, things would change drastically for their family just a few days later.
On the evening of January 2, 1999, 11-year-old Mikelle and 9-year-old Kimber thought they heard the familiar sound of an ice cream truck coming through their neighborhood. Around 5:50 pm, the girls walked about four houses down to wait. Kimber was walking their dog and Mikelle was riding Kimber’s new bike, which Kimber had just gotten for her birthday.
It wasn’t long before Kimber got impatient and gave up on the ice cream truck. She walked back to their house, where her mom told her to go back out and tell Mikelle it was time to come home. Kimber walked back outside but didn’t see her sister. As she approached the area where they’d been waiting, she saw her new bike in the road, one of the tires still spinning. Police would later estimate that Mikelle had been alone for about 90 seconds.
At first, Kimber was mad that Mikelle had left her bike in the road. But she also had a feeling something was wrong. So she went back home and told her mom what happened.
At first, Tracy Biggs though her daughter might have gone over to a neighbor’s house. Kimber and one of the children from that family continued to look for Mikelle. When they couldn’t find her, the police were called.
By the time police arrived on the scene, Kimber had already put her bike away. But the were able to judge that Mikelle appeared to have been running from someone. Two quarters were found on the ground, presumably the ones she was going to use to pay for ice cream, but ended up dropping. Search dogs lost her scent after a few feet, leading police to believe she’d been put in a vehicle and driven away.
And they had very little physical evidence and no witnesses. They investigated all the ice cream vendors in the area but found nothing. They’ve never even been able to confirm if there was an ice cream truck in the area at the time.
There were hundreds of tips in the early days, if not more — but many of these turned out to be false leads. In one particular incident, Mikelle’s dad got an e-mail from someone who said they were holding Mikelle for ransom. Police traced the sender, and the entire thing turned out to be a prank.
One possible offender is a man named Dee Blalock. Blalock was a neighbor of the Biggs and a registered sex offender. He was questioned shortly after Mikelle disappeared, and he told police that he’d been at home watching TV when she was last seen. His wife backed up his claim.
Then, about nine months after Mikelle’s disappearance, Blalock assaulted another one of his neighbors, a woman named Susan Quinnett. He broke into her house, sexually assaulted her, choked her until she blacked out, set her house on fire and left her there for dead. Fortunately, she survived this encounter, and later told police she had a gut instinct that Mikelle was buried in his house.
After this assault, police started to look into Blalock more regarding Mikelle’s disappearance. They searched his house, but didn’t find much of use, if anything. According to Kimber, Blalock had a trailer on his property that police didn’t have a warrant for, so they didn’t search it. By the time they got a warrant, he didn’t have the trailer anymore.
Blalock was sentenced to 187 years in prison for the assault on Susan Quinnett. Mikelle’s parents met with him in prison, where he denied any involvement in her disappearance. According to them, he said he couldn’t be held responsible for what his “other personality” did.
But they thought he was lying, and still appear to this day to believe he was involved. Police agree, but have never had enough evidence for an arrest. Blalock allegedly confessed to being involved while in prison, but has always publicly denied it.
As the years went by, Mikelle’s parents started to doubt Mikelle would come back alive. Kimber agrees and says she would hate to think that Mikelle has been somewhere out there “going through hell” all this time. About five years after Mikelle was last seen, the family held a funeral for her. This gave them a sense of closure, as well as a spot they could go to grieve.
One note about Mikelle’s memorial: The engraving on the stone she was born in 1989. This would have made her 9, not 11, when she was abducted; however, every source covering this case says she was 11, and some specifically say she was born in 1987. The reason for this contradiction isn’t clear.
2018 dollar bill
On March 14, 2018, a $1 bill with a strange message on it was reported to police in Wisconsin. The message read:
"My name is Mikel (sic) Biggs kidnapped From Mesa AZ I'm Alive."
Police did look into this lead, but most sources and speculators don’t believe it’s real. Not only is Mikelle’s name misspelled, but the handwriting appeared to many people to be that of a child. The bill was printed in 2009, when Mikelle would have already been an adult.
But a few people think it might be real. Some don’t think the handwriting actually looks like a child’s. Others wonder if Mikelle purposefully spelled her name wrong to save space, or to be able to tell her captor it wasn’t really her if they found out about the message. Not much more information about this bill is out there, and most people seem to believe it was a hoax.
So what happened to Mikelle Biggs? There aren’t really many theories in this case. People who knew about it in the early days say there was a lot of speculation that the ice cream truck driver was responsible. Others wonder if her abductor wasn’t really an ice cream truck driver, but simply emulated the music of an ice cream truck to lure in children. And some believe Dee Blalock really was responsible. Most people agree she was abducted — we just don’t know who did it or where she is now.
Mikelle’s disappearance spawned what was, at least at the time, the largest missing persons investigation in Arizona history. 35 abandoned mine shafts were searched, hundreds of people were questioned and every ice cream vendor in the state was interviewed. Despite the scant evidence at the scene, more than 800 items were gathered, including Kimber’s bicycle. The bicycle was checked for fingerprints and DNA, and is still kept in evidence in case any newer technology comes out in the future that can help.
Mikelle’s parents later moved to Utah, but as of 2019 Kimber still lives in Mesa. She and police believe Mikelle’s remains are probably in the area.
As of May 2022, there have been no named suspects or arrests in Mikelle’s disappearance. Police hope whoever presumably kidnapped her will one day be unable to deal with their guilty conscience and finally come forward.
Mikelle Biggs was 11 years old when she was last seen in Mesa, Arizona on the evening of January 2, 1999. Mikelle is a white female who was 4 feet 8 inches tall and 65 to 85 pounds at the time of her disappearance, with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a red t-shirt with the name of her school, Lindbergh, printed on it, bell bottom jeans, white canvas shoes and a purple Barbie watch. She has several moles on the left side of her neck and would be 34 years old if alive today. This video is set to go live on May 15, 2022, meaning that she will celebrate her 35th birthday very soon.
If you have any information about this case, you can contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211.
*because I’ve only heard Lynelle’s name being said and never seen it spelled out anywhere, this spelling could be incorrect