New videos released in med student disappearance | News
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- Irene Patrick anxiously paced her home Christmas Day, with one question in mind: Where was her daughter, Teleka?
It had been 20 days since anyone heard from her.
Teleka Patrick, 30, a first-year student in Western Michigan University's residency program, was last seen Dec. 5 in the parking lot of Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, where she worked. Her car later was found in a ditch 100 miles away in Indiana.
According to investigators, Patrick vanished without a trace, leaving her family and friends searching for answers.
"She's one fine girl I'll love for the rest of my life. I just want the public to search in every corner, I am so distraught," Irene Patrick said Friday from her home in Kissimee, Fla. She's hired a private investigator to assist in the case, which is being handled by the Indiana State Police, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.
"The family is currently heavily involved in looking for evidence," Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said. "We're ...seeking out information and taking it in different directions. There isn't enough information to speculate."
Here's what authorities say they've pieced together so far in the time leading up to Patrick's disappearance:
After finishing her shift around 7 p.m.at Borgess, Patrick got a ride from a male co-worker to the downtown Radisson Hotel. She was seen on surveillance footage at the hotel wearing a black hoodie and black slacks, and attempted to check into a room. She had no identification, only cash and ended up leaving.
The hotel's shuttle service transported her back to the medical center to get her car, a light-gold 1997 Lexus ES 300, just after 8 p.m.
Her car was found in a ditch off of I-94, in Portage, Indiana, around 10 p.m. central standard time, after Indiana State Troopers had received a call about a vehicle driving erratically. The car contained her wallet and identification, but no car keys. The car had a flat tire, but was otherwise undamaged. She was reported missing the following morning, when she failed to arrive to work.
Indiana State Police took a bloodhound to the scene Dec. 12, which traced her steps back to the freeway and stopped.
The question, investigators say, is what caused her to drive more than 100 miles west without her cell phone, purse or alerting her friends and family. She had purchased an airline ticket to visit her parents in Florida and was supposed to arrive Dec. 23.
"There has to be some triggering event to make a person in their 30s leave their phone anywhere," said Carl Clatterbuck, the Kalamazoo private investigator hired by Taleka's mother. "Phones for anyone between the ages of 14 and 35 are a large part of their life, to leave it means that you're leaving all of your friends, relatives, all of your connection to the world. That suggested to me that she wanted to be away from something, and to not be tracked."
Clatterbuck said Teleka had received a phone call the day before she disappeared that may have agitated her, but he has been told that there was "nothing remarkable" to be seen in her phone records. Clatterbuck confirmed that she had an "on-again, off-again" boyfriend, but that he was not a suspect and that the two were on good terms. Teleka's ex-husband, Clatterbuck said, also is not a suspect as their relationship was ended in 2011.
However, YouTube videos surfaced this week of Teleka singing to a suspected love interest at her home in the Gull Run Apartments. One video, posted to an account titled "sandra3000cassie" in early November, shows a breakfast she had made for the person and her saying, "I just wanted to show you what I made, first I start with, if you were here, this is what would be your plate," panning to a table set for two, with orange juice, bacon, pancakes and omelets. In another video, she refers to the person she's addressing as "baby" or "love."
Irene Patrick said she didn't know to whom Teleka was referring in the videos.
"She didn't tell me about her private life, she was an adult," Irene Patrick said. "But I wish she had."
Patrick was raised in Queens, New York, where she attended the Bronx High School of Science with a scholarship offer from Harvard, her parents said. She attended Oakwood University in Alabama, and left Loma Linda University in California this past spring with her medical degree and doctorate in biochemistry. She had only moved to Kalamazoo six months ago, to begin a 4-year residency program for psychiatry at Western.
"People in the community spoke so highly of her," Irene Patrick said.
Clatterback said Patrick had no history of psychiatric issues.
He noted, however, that the residency program at Western is stressful.
"One of the components of that program is a lack of sleep," he said. "It's a standard first-year residency program. But we don't know what is agitating her, we don't know what was bothering her enough to want to go to the hotel."
The FBI is helping the other agencies publicize the case, said RFBI spokesman David Porter of the Detroit field office.
"It's been all over social media," Porter said.
According to the FBI's website, the poster has been shared nearly 3,500 times on Facebook. A Twitter account, @FindTeleka, has garnered nearly 1,000 followers. A fundraiser titled #FindTeleka on gofundme.com has raised nearly $35,000 from almost 500 separate donations that will go toward search efforts.
The case has been featured on Nancy Grace, Good Morning America and CNN.
Irene Patrick said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, even receiving a message from a woman who had lost her husband to cancer at Borgess. The woman described how Patrick provided her great comfort during that difficult period.
"Tears were drawn to my eyes when I read that," Irene Patrick said. "She's one fine girl I'll love for the rest of my life. I just want the public to search in every corner, I am so distraught."
Anyone who has information on Teleka's dissapearance is asked to call the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's office at 269-383-8748 or Indiana State Police at 219-696-6242.
By Contact Emma Ockerman, Detroit Free Press.