kirstin kryszak

New Year’s Day thirteen years ago was snowy, icy and cold in Memphis, Tennessee. On that holiday morning 18-year-old Kirsten Kryszak tried to get home from a New Year’s party she’d been attending the night before. Exactly what happened that day is very unclear, but it seems that she was last seen driving away in a 1988 Ford Aerostar van owned by a guest at the party. Kirsten has never been seen again.

The last people to see Kirsten were two other guests at the party, her boyfriend Brent Wolverton and another man, Josh Anders. These two men presented two different accounts of what happened to Kirsten Kryszak.

Mr. Wolverton claims that he was across the street at a neighbor’s apartment on New Yea’rs morning and he saw the Aerostar van pull up with Kirsten, Josh Anders and another man. They knocked on the door–why he didn’t answer isn’t clear–and then got back in the van. Wolverton says Anders told him Kirsten drove off in the van at 2:00 from a gas station, stealing it. Strangely, however, the police couldn’t locate a theft report on the van.

Mr. Anders’s story is a little different. He says he borrowed the Aerostar to take Kirsten home because his own car wouldn’t start. They ate breakfast at a coffee shop, Mr. Anders changed clothes at his apartment, and they went out looking for the place where Kirsten had asked to be dropped off. Anders says Kirsten stole the van after dropping him off at Wolverton’s apartment. Anders said that Kirsten acted strangely that day.

A more detailed version of the two stories is given here, at the very good Whereabouts Still Unknown blog.

What really happened to Kirsten? The two stories quoted here can’t both be true. You’d think the owner of the van would have reported it stolen, but no such report has surfaced. Here is what Charley Project’s case file has to add about her:

Kryszak did not take any extra clothing, money or personal belongings with her when she vanished. She was leading a high-risk lifestyle at the time of her disappearance and was involved with drugs. She had been through drug rehabilitation twice, unsuccessfully. Kryszak grew up in Indiana, and moved to Memphis at age 16 to live with her father. She dropped out of White Station High School. She had a history of running away from home in both Indiana and Tennessee, but she always kept in touch with her family. None of her relatives have heard from her since her disappearance, and her Social Security number has not been used.

There is also more detailed information here, from a 2008 news story about the case.

The case is still being investigated by Memphis police, but unfortunately Kirsten’s family believes she’s dead. Sadly unless someone comes forward with new information–which is always a possibility–we may never know exactly what happened on that icy New Year’s morning in 2001.