by Thomas Lauth | Aug 20, 2018 | Criminal Investigations, News |
(Kiera Bergman has been missing from Glendale, Ariz., since August 4, 2018.)
Kiera Lanae Bergman, 19, was last seen by her best friend and roommate, Destiny Hall-Chand. The two young women worked together at a Glendale furniture store, just west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Hall-Chand told the Arizona Republic that she and Bergman were at work on August 4, when Bergman became upset and asked to leave work early. According to Hall-Chand, Bergman’s ex-boyfriend picked her up.
When Hall-Chand returned to their Glendale apartment near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road, Bergman was not there but her car, keys, wallet, and purse were.
Hall-Chand said she sent numerous texts to Bergman and eventually received a response she deemed strange.
After Bergman failed to come home or show up for work the following day, Hall-Chand called the Phoenix Police Department and filed a missing person report.
“She was saying that she was going to go out with some guy she met at the store a couple days ago, which is something that’s not like her,” Hall-Chand told KPHO-TV. “That’s not something she would do.”
Bergman reportedly told Hall-Chand she would contact her as soon as she got a phone charger.
That was 14 days ago.
(Kiera Bergman was last known to be at her Glendale, Ariz., apartment on August 4, 2018.)
“Her family is concerned for her welfare,” said Phoenix Police in a press release.
Bergman moved from San Diego to Glendale in March, to be with her boyfriend. Family members told the Arizona Republic he and Bergman had split up before her disappearance.
Kiersten Bragg, Bergman’s mother left her home in San Diego to travel to Phoenix to search for her daughter.
Bragg told Good Morning America it wasn’t like Bergman to be out of contact, adding she last spoke to her daughter via text on July 30, but she wasn’t “her normal, happy self.”
“If we knew something, our minds wouldn’t be racing and thinking of all the different possibilities.”
In addition, Bragg told ABC News that prior to the breakup with Bergman’s ex-boyfriend, they frequently fought and her daughter did not seem as happy as she was before. After the couple split, Bergman moved into an apartment with Hall-Chand.
AZ Central reported the boyfriend says he has been questioned regarding Bergman’s disappearance.
Those concerned for Bergman’s safety have more questions than answers.
Jon-Christopher Clark, 23, told the HuffPost “I didn’t want to do anything that would give an indication I was hiding anything but also didn’t want anything on the record that would have them say I was doing anything or had any part in this.”
“I told them I would not like a lie detector test because, “One, they are not admissible in court, and two, whatever you guys gather from that is basically your interpretation on my feelings,’” Clark continued. “So, I didn’t want [investigators] to pretty much gather [their] conclusions off of something that is not guaranteed.”
Investigators picked Clark up at a hotel last Monday and transported him to the police station for questioning.
Clark has been dating Bergman since December of last year and has
(Jon-Christopher Clark was dating Keira Bergman since December 2017.)
consistently denied he was involved in Bergman’s disappearance. Police have not named Clark as a suspect.
While it is common for police to ask the significant other of a missing person to come to the station to talk, Clark claims he wasn’t given the opportunity to voluntarily come in as he alleges 20 tactical officers surrounded him while checking out of a local hotel.
“They handcuffed me, put me in the back of a car and. When we got to the interview room [they] handcuffed me to a table the entire time,” Clark said.
Chris Bragg, Bergman’s father is concerned something tragic has happened to his daughter.
Bragg was told Hall-Chand and Clark called police together, but Clark left before police arrived which he thinks strange. Bragg acknowledges he left before police arrived, saying he was staying with a friend and was unable to connect with Phoenix Police detectives until they picked him up at the hotel on Monday.
“They served a search warrant on my phone, car, the pace I was staying at and talked to all my friends and family,” Clark said. “DNA was one of the stipulations of the court order, so they took my DNA — did swabs, all kinds of fingerprints, my wrists, hands, everything — and took numerous pictures of me and my tattoos.”
Clark claims to have fully cooperated with investigators, except for voluntarily agreeing to take the polygraph.
Bragg took a tour of his daughter’s apartment last week and noted his daughter’s bedroom was the only room in the house that evidence had been removed by crime scene technicians.
“The bedding was stripped off the bed, taken as evidence, but aside from that, it looked like a college kid’s apartment,” Bragg went on to tell HuffPost. “It didn’t have a whole lot of furniture and wasn’t really nice.”
The scariest part of this whole situation is Bragg claims detectives told him they had found his daughter’s personal items in a very strange place in the home.
“Her ID for work, her purse with her wallet, ID and credit cards, was found thrown in the back of her closet,” Bragg said. “That is strange. What woman throws her purse in the back of her closet?”
When HuffPost called Phoenix Police, they would not confirm or deny Bergman’s personal belongings were found in a closet.
Bragg calls his daughter’s disappearance devastating.
“We just want her back, Bragg said. “Please just call the police. A piece of our heart is missing, and without it we don’t feel whole. It’s heartbreaking. Pleas somebody saqy something.”
(Kiera Bergman’s mother and family old vigil outside her daughter’s apartment in Glendale, Ariz.)
At a vigil family and friends held at Bergman’s apartment on the evening of August 11, her friend Hall-Chand told KPHO TV and KTVK TV that she doesn’t know what to think about her best friend’s disappearance. “I don’t know. I don’t know what to think, I don’t know what to believe, I don’t know,” she said. “It’s just, I know there’s something wrong. I’m just hoping she’ll come home, and everything will be OK.”
Phoenix Police Public Information Sergeant Vincent Lewis told KNBC that investigators are stymied in their search for the missing young woman and there is no information obtained through their investigation that determines she is a victim of foul play.’
However, Bergman’s family believe something horrible has happened to her.
“She’s a beautiful, sweet, super talented young woman,” says Bragg when describing her missing daughter. “She’s caring, she’s very strong-minded, she’s just a sweet loving person.”
Bergman’s mother told the Arizona Republic she had a message for her daughter. “Wherever you are, if you can hear this, if you can see or hear it, just know we are doing everything we can and fighting so hard to find you.”
(Flowers sit outside Keira Bergman’s Glendale Ariz., apartment, placed there by family and friends.)
Keira Bergman’s disappearance has caught the attention of national news and appeared in USA Today and Newsweek and one private investigator that has worked many missing person cases in the state of Arizona.
Thomas Lauth. Founder of Lauth Missing Persons has worked over twenty-years on missing person cases and considered an expert in the field. The family and friends give various and multiple accounts of arguments between Kiera and Jon Christopher Clark, and it would seem the hostility grew worse around the time of Kiera’s disappearance. Mr. Clarks excuse for not submitting to the polygraph is not supportive of someone wanting to clear his name and allow investigators to focus their efforts elsewhere. Mr. Clark’s behavior following Kiera’s disappearance is highly suspicious and he should submit to a polygraph.
In the United States, as of May 31, 2018, there were 87,608 actives missing person cases in the National Crime Information Center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There were 2,286 listed as missing within the state of Arizona.
Anyone with information should call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-534-2121.
For more information on missing persons investigations, please visit our website.
by Thomas Lauth | Mar 19, 2015 | News |
Stunning beauty vanishes in Aruba. Family of Robyn Gardner, missing since August 2, 2011 refuse to lose focus and remind public she is a friend, sister, and daughter and they need the public’s help to bring her home safe.
Robyn Lynn Gardner
Robyn Lynn Gardner
Oranjestad, Aruba – Robyn Lynn Gardner, a 35 year-old resident of Fredericksburg, Maryland, vanished August 2, 2011. It is known she had traveled with Gary V. Giordano, to Aruba on July 31, 2011. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, now assisting Aruban authorities, Robyn was last seen in the vicinity of Baby Beach, Sint Nicolass area of Aruba, located on the southeastern tip of the Caribbean Islands. The pair had been staying at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino in Oranjestad.
According to friends, Robyn had met Giordano online approximately a year and a half ago and described him as a platonic friend. Though it is not yet clear why she agreed to travel to Aruba with Giordano, Aruban authorities have confirmed they are making every effort to continue to detain 50 year-old, Giordano, for questioning in Gardner’s disappearance. It is reported Giordano contacted Aruban authorities at approximately 6:20pm on August 2nd, reporting he and Robyn had been snorkeling earlier in the afternoon. He claims last time he saw her, he tapped Robyn’s leg, motioning her to return to shore. He then states he proceeded to shore, noticed Robyn was not behind him, and assumed she had been swept out to sea by the current. To date, there is no confirmation that snorkeling equipment was ever rented by Giordano or Robyn. Giordano’s story just isn’t adding up.
Robyn Gardner and Gary V. Giordano
Robyn Gardner and Boyfriend, Richard Forester
Richard Forester, Robyn’s boyfriend and her brother, Andrew Colson, are both adamant that Robyn would not have had even the slightest interest in snorkeling. “Robyn is the type of woman who is very conscientious of her appearance, her makeup always perfect, she went to get her nails done regularly and took great care not to damage her hair extensions,” says Forester. “She is the type of woman who walks down the street and everyone turns and looks at her, amazingly beautiful!” Her family and friends place no credibility in Giordano’s account of the afternoon of snorkeling at an isolated beach. It doesn’t appear Aruban prosecutors place any credence in his story either.
According to Richard Forester, Robyn had initially told him she was traveling to Florida to visit her family. On Monday, August 1st, Robyn informed Forester her parents had surprised her with a trip to Aruba. A phone call cut short, and a Facebook post from Robyn simply stating “This Sucks,” began to draw Forester’s concern. On August 2nd, Robyn’s last Facebook message to him said, “Don’t worry. I care about you. I love you and we will talk and sort things out when I get back.” That was the last contact he received from her. Whether Robyn agreed to travel to Aruba for a week of relaxation or if she was lured there by Giordano under false pretenses; questions remain.
Google Mail Activity
According to Forester, he noticed Robyn’s Google Mail account was active in the days following her disappearance. With Google Mail a green indicator light reflects if a person is online and available to chat. Forester sent numerous messages with no response but noticed continuous activity on her account in the two days following Robyn’s reported disappearance. Confused, he was not yet aware Giordano had reported Robyn missing and it was not until the following Friday he received notification from Robyn’s brother authorities. Forester is now concerned the Google Mail activity, he was seeing may have been Giordano accessing Robyn’s email account possibly deleting incriminating correspondence.
Background of Giordano
Giordano’s financial history is in question, but he is described as a self-employed businessman, living in a $1 million residence located in an upper-scale, Gaithersburg, MD, neighborhood. Giordano’s history with women is obviously under a microscope and so far documents two restraining orders and allegations of domestic violence. According to a former female acquaintance of Giordano, who had also met him on the Internet, she obtained a restraining order after being stalked by Giordano. She claims he also covertly videotaped them having sex, then placed sexually graphic photographs of her on the Internet. Montgomery County court records indicate when Giordano was confronted by the woman he then proceeded to place inappropriate personal photographs of her inside her neighbor’s mailboxes. Yet an additional restraining order filed by another female acquaintance states Giordano tried to choke the woman and put his fingers down her throat.
Carrie Emerson, a Richmond, VA, resident has come forward to help in the investigation of Robyn’s disappearance. Emerson has told authorities, around the same time Giordano asked Robyn to go to Aruba, Giordano had viewed online photographs of Emerson’s daughter, a beautiful blonde teen model. Giordano called Emerson claiming to be a producer and offered to take both of them to Aruba for a photo shoot. During one conversation, Emerson recalls Giordano strangely said, “This won’t be another Natalie Holloway case.” Though Emerson declined, Giordano continued to pursue her, even offering lifetime financial security if Emerson and her daughter would both sleep with him. After her own experience with Giordano, Emerson is passionate that other women need to be educated. “Giordano is only one of millions of men who try to lure unsuspecting women into potentially dangerous situations,” Emerson says. “I came forward to help find Robyn first and foremost. People need to remember that Robyn is a person, not an object, who deserves to be further exploited in the media.” Emerson is haunted by a gut feeling that Giordano had been specifically targeting blondes and wonders if he may have been working with someone else, possibly even trying to pre-arrange some kind of deal in the sex-trade industry. When a person vanishes under suspicious circumstances, Emerson’s concerns are not unreasonable and should be investigated.
Giordano’s interactions with these women validates a history of predatory behavior; then add Giordano’s ex-wife who alleges domestic violence occurred in their very short marriage. It is evident, given Giordano’s documented violent behavior that Robyn’s family has every reason to be concerned for her safety.
The Insurance Policy
Aruban authorities state it is not uncommon for travelers to purchase travel insurance. However, reports that Giordano purchased a $1.5 million ‘accidental life insurance policy’ in Robyn’s name listing him as main beneficiary could be perceived as a motive for homicide. While purchasing a travel life insurance policy may not seem unusual, Giordano’s activities following Robyn’s disappearance send some huge red flags for those investigating her disappearance. It has been reported only two-days after Robyn’s mysterious disappearance, Giordano called American Express inquiring if all insurance documents he had submitted had been received, wanting confirmation he was listed sole beneficiary and reported he tried to initiate collection on the policy. While authorities and family were desperately concerned for Robyn’s safety, it appears Giordano had only one thing on his mind, collecting money.
Aruban solicitor general, Taco Stein, has stated Aruban authorities remain very concerned about inconsistencies in Giordano’s account of what happened the afternoon of August 2nd and making every attempt to continue to detain Giordano in Aruba while continuing to investigate Robyn’s disappearance. Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting and searched Giordano’s home. Disappearances of United States citizens overseas tend to be complicated by jurisdictional issues and FBI investigative activity in Aruba limited. Extensive searches of the water, coastline and even phosphate mines in south and north end of the island have produced no leads.
Stein has publicly confirmed a digital camera was recovered that contains images of Robyn but stated during a news interview that Gardener did not appear to be in duress in the photographs. Though reported by some mainstream media that a source described the photographs as ‘beyond pornographic’ friends and family of Robyn are convinced that Robyn would not ever willingly participate in pornographic photographs.
On the day of Robyn’s disappearance, a surveillance camera confirmed the pair went to eat at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill located in the Baby Beach area Robyn reportedly disappeared. Staff at the Reef Bar & Grill reportedly told authorities Robyn appeared woozy during the meal. Additional reports state Giordano has claimed Robyn took a sleeping pill and drank alcohol prior to snorkeling. Giordano’s own assertion may lend credence to speculation Robyn may have been unwittingly drugged the day of her disappearance as those who know Robyn well unanimously agree that is not consistent with her behavior. One must really question what ‘good friend’ would take someone who is inebriated snorkeling, placing them in danger.
The owner of a dive shop located next to the Rum Reef Bar & Grill claims Giordano and Robyn did enter his shop several hours before she was reported missing but did not rent any equipment. The dive shop owner also claims he saw Giordano and Robyn driving on a dirt road in a remote part of the island later in the day.
The Impact on Robyn’s Family and Friends
Ambiguous loss experienced by families searching for missing loved ones is said to be one of the most traumatizing experiences to the human psyche. While imagining what may have happened to their missing loved one; if their loved one is somewhere suffering or a victim of a horrific crime, words can’t adequately describe the worry, desperation, and the terror families of missing persons feel. While in this situation, sometimes lasting months and even years, simply moving on is not an option. When someone you love simply vanishes it affects every aspect of a person’s life. Short of being informed their loved one has been located safe or even deceased, loved ones of missing persons enter a perpetual limbo; unable to move forward. The word ‘closure’ becomes a wicked word for it doesn’t exist for families of missing persons. “I was asked if I think Robyn is still alive and without hesitation I answered, yes. I have to believe that and maintain hope because we won’t give up until she is found,” says Forester.
Public Speculation – Help or Hinder?
As with most high profile missing person cases, public opinion and speculation abounds. While exhausting every ounce of energy, family members and loved ones try to remain focused on finding their loved one and utilizing every resource possible remains paramount.
In today’s society and the age of social networking, keeping people aware is vital and discussion is healthy. However, blather can ignite like unattended embers fueling a fire that quickly consumes acres of forest. Unfortunately, gossip tends to receive more focus than the missing person and sadly some can’t even restrain themselves from blaming the victim for the circumstances of their own disappearance.
Headline news reports have read “Beyond Pornographic Images found on Camera,” and presented in a manner to draw attention but can quickly stigmatize the victim, rapidly desensitizing the public and diverting focus that a young woman is terribly missed by her family. On the ‘Missing Robyn Gardner’ Facebook page, a post from a stranger reads. “Boyfriend paid 50 year-old to hack his girlfriend,” and yet another posted by a man named Chuck Webster, says, “If she had a boyfriend in MD. She was cheating on him. Bad girl!” These statements clearly reflect lack of empathy and become personal attacks on the family and friends of the missing woman. “These statements are disturbing and only add insult to injury,” says Forester.
Quickly disseminating information about a missing person is crucial and increases the potential to generate credible leads, enabling the investigating law enforcement agency to progress with the investigation. For missing person cases, the Internet enables expeditious ‘information sharing’ and is vital to successfully solving cases.
Detective Stewart Martz of Phoenix Police Department says, “Whether people realize it or not, these statements can be perceived as malicious attacks on the family and the victim when it should be a time when communities, even social networking communities, need to come together. These families need help.” Det. Martz adds, “It is a stressful enough time for the victim’s family and when insensitive statements are publicized it only further traumatizes these families. The public needs to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement and we encourage them to help the investigation and make a difference by sharing factual information and photographs of a missing person.”
Despite gossip headlines and personal questions asked during interviews, Robyn’s loved ones remain hopeful and motivated. “There is nothing that will remove my focus on finding Robyn. People need to be sensitive and remember first and foremost, Robyn is not only a girlfriend, she is a daughter, sister and a friend,” says Forester. “Everything else, all of this gossip and questions, becomes irrelevant. We just want to bring her home because she has a family who loves and misses her. I refuse to lose focus on that!”
FBI – Robyn Gardner
Missing Person Advocacy Network
Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder of National Center for Missing Adults
& Social Network Advocate
Missing Persons Network