WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE CHILLICOTHE SIX? 3 COMPELLING THEORIESBack to Discuss »
Since the investigation into the mysterious deaths and disappearances of six women from Chillicothe began, a number of theories related to the case have bubbled to the surface. Some people believe all of the women knew each other – but that’s only one of many speculations circulating among members of the tight knit community. As the FBI and local law enforcement comb through hundreds of tips, most of which are nothing more than hearsay, people continue to speculate about what happened to these women. Here are three of the most talked-about theories:
1. THE WORK OF A SERIAL KILLER
On May 27, 2015 The Huffington Post ran a story about the missing women that garnered major media attention and put the small town of Chillicothe in the national spotlight. In the days following the story, news outlets around the country echoed the same question: Is a serial killer on the loose in Chillicothe? When several women from the same town turn up dead near bodies of water, it’s no surprise the idea that a serial killer is lurking within a community of 20,000 quickly became the national headline. For many long-time residents, this fear intensified after the FBI was brought in to help local law enforcement with the case. Thus far, detectives have not confirmed the deaths to be the work of a serial killer, but the investigation is ongoing and authorities have yet to rule it out.
2. VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING
According to 2015 data from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Ohio ranks fourth in the number of human sex trafficking cases in the country. Places like Columbus, where interstates run through the city, are a hotbed for sex trafficking. Women are frequently sold for sex at truck stops and hotels along the routes in and out of town.
In a reddit thread related to the Chillicothe six, one user commented, “Around last year there was a new truck stop built by one of the main streets that's also a highway, and since then these girls have been disappearing. I've heard that they also think these are linked to some murders in Columbus and Portsmouth, which this highway has direct leads to.”
Detectives note that online forums and websites make it easier for criminals to traffic people than it is to traffic drugs. For the victims of sex trafficking, what may seem like prostitution on the surface is actually a life characterized by torment, fear, and abuse – and one that is incredibly difficult to escape. Columbus’s Human Trafficking Task Force is recognizing a link between drugs and sex trafficking, which leaves many families of those left behind wondering if there’s still a chance to bring their girls home.
The stories of the missing women are eerily similar in that they all point to the underground drug scene wreaking havoc on the once quaint and celebrated town of Chillicothe. According to police, many of the missing women struggled with drug addiction and ran in similar circles – some of them even knew one another. There has also been speculation that all of the women attended the same rehab facility, but law enforcement is unable to confirm those reports at this time.
Unfortunately, authorities have struggled to extract information from the people who are still active in Chillicothe’s drug scene. Most are afraid to come forward, fearing involvement in the case may be a death sentence. "Somebody out there knows something," Chillicothe police chief Keith Washburn said in an interview with the Chillicothe Gazette. "These girls are one call away from being found."
HOW TO HELP
Those with information on any of the missing women can call the Chillicothe Police Department at 740-773-1191 or the Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers anonymously at 740-773-TIPS or 800-222-TIPS. You can also submit a tip by texting LOWDOWN to CRIMES (274637), or go to their website at www.southernohiocrimestoppers.com. The tip line for the missing women’s task force can be reached at 740-773-FIND (3463).
Follow along as the story in Chillicothe unfolds, The Vanishing Women – All New Mondays @ 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.