A filmmaker’s obsessive search to discover a 21-year-old mom who vanished with out a hint almost 12 years in the past is the topic of a brand new true crime docuseries.
In Discovery+’s six-part collection Relentless, director Christina Fontana explores the unfounded theories surrounding Christina Whittaker’s mysterious disappearance within the small city of Hannibal, Mississippi, the place nothing is because it appears.
‘What I discover so intriguing about this case is that on the floor, it actually did appear to be there was this lady who was within the improper place on the improper time,’ Fontana informed Fox News. ‘However as soon as I began scratching beneath that floor and uncovering these layers to Christina’s life, there was a lot extra to the story.’
Vanished: The mysterious disappearance of Christina Whittaker, a 21-year-old mom from Hannibal, Mississippi, in 2009 is the topic of the brand new true crime collection Relentless
The filmmaker was filming a separate documentary about households of lacking individuals when she met Whittaker’s dad and mom in 2010. They had been so obsessed with discovering their daughter that she shifted the main focus of her authentic mission to focus solely on their case.
Fontana has over 400 hours of footage from her 11-year investigation, which stays unsolved. She mentioned there have been allegations towards ‘virtually everybody in Christina’s life,’ together with members of her household and the police.
Whittaker disappeared on November 13, 2009, after going out with mates. There have been eye-witness accounts of the younger mother being intoxicated and moving into an altercation with somebody on the bar, which led to her being kicked out.
She was separated from her mates and went to 2 different close by bars, reportedly begging folks for a trip dwelling alongside the way in which. She was final seen leaving one of many bars round 1 a.m.
Obsessed: Filmmaker Christina Fontana began investigating the case in 2010 after assembly Whittaker’s dad and mom, who had been determined to search out her
Thriller: Whittaker disappeared on November 13, 2009, after going out with mates. She left behind her six-month-old daughter
‘She had come alone, visibly upset and he or she was on the cellphone arguing with somebody,’ Fontana mentioned. ‘The bartender had requested her, “Do you want something? Would you want a trip dwelling?” And she or he mentioned, “No, I’m OK.” And ran out the again door. The following morning, her cellphone was discovered on the bottom. That was the final time anybody had seen her.’
Whittaker left behind her six-month-old daughter, and her sudden disappearance has spawned lots of of theories as to what has occurred to her.
Her mom, Cindy Younger, is satisfied that she was taken to Peoria, Illinois, towards her will and put into intercourse trafficking. She believes her daughter was brainwashed into pondering she will’t go dwelling.
Younger shared her idea with the native ABC 7 information station KHQA on the tenth anniversary of Whittaker’s disappearance in 2019.
Principle: Whittaker’s mom, Cindy Younger, is satisfied she was taken to Peoria, Illinois, towards her will and put into intercourse trafficking
Laborious to deal with: There are theories that Whittaker was murdered or died in successful and run, however there isn’t any proof to again up any of the claims, and the case stays unsolved
‘Christina, for those who see this, honey, please contact me,’ she mentioned, hoping her daughter was watching. ‘Please give only a name. Nobody’s going to make you do something you don’t wish to do. All of us want you. We’d like you again dwelling.
‘You don’t have to come back for those who don’t need, however at the least name me, and let me know you’re okay,’ she added. ‘I would like to listen to your voice. I simply need you to know I like you with all my coronary heart. You’re my little hero, little survivor. I’m so pleased with you. You’ve obtained nothing to be ashamed of.’
The Hannibal Police Division informed KHQA that it had interviewed greater than 200 folks throughout its investigation and labored with 45 businesses from throughout the nation to acquire leads.
Lt. Jennifer Grote mentioned the FBI got here to Hannibal two months into the case to analyze, and the division additionally interviewed prisoners behind bars who had been convicted of different crimes.
Lacking: Whittaker was final seen leaving a bar round 1 a.m., in keeping with Fontana, and her cellphone was later discovered on the bottom outdoors
Rumors: ‘This is not only a story of a woman gone lacking,’ the director defined within the trailer for the collection. ‘That is additionally a narrative of a small city crammed with darkish secrets and techniques’
Fontana investigated plenty of theories whereas filming the documentary. One common perception is that Whittaker has been dwelling in Peoria of her personal volition this complete time.
One other suggests she was murdered and her physique was disposed of at a hog farm. There was even a idea that she was killed in successful and run, however neither Fontana nor any of the non-public investigators engaged on the case have been capable of uncover proof that proves any of those suspicions.
Nevertheless, the data they do uncover does not match what they’ve been informed by Cindy and her husband Alex Younger, Whittaker’s stepfather.
In 2012, one of many household’s cousins got here into possession of a cellphone with a textual content message about eradicating Whittaker’s physique, Decider reported.
The way in which wherein they got here in regards to the textual content appears unlikely, and when Fontana confirmed it to the investigator the Youngs employed, she was informed the message could have been faked to forestall her from uncovering the reality.
Complicated: Fontana was informed that Whittaker had a drug drawback and her disappearance could also be associated to a drug-related debt, however her household denied that she used narcotics
Conflicted: Throughout her 11-year investigation, Fontana was confronted with risk that the Youngs weren’t being forthcoming along with her about Whittaker’s case
The investigator additionally mentioned Whittaker had a drug drawback and her household is aware of her disappearance needed to do with a drug-related debt, regardless of their denials that she abused narcotics.
‘This is not only a story of a woman gone lacking,’ the director defined within the trailer for the collection. ‘That is additionally a narrative of a small city crammed with darkish secrets and techniques.’
Fontana informed Fox Information that there are ‘plenty of what-ifs flying round’ that add to the thriller of the case.
‘Perhaps she needed to go away dwelling due to sure issues. Perhaps folks needed to hurt her due to sure actions that had been happening in her life that we uncover within the present,’ she mentioned.
‘This can be a very small city of about 17,000 folks. While you interact with the locals, all of them have one factor in frequent to say — there are plenty of rumors in Hannibal. And nothing is what it appears.’