Every tip that comes into the Custer County Sheriff’s Office in a 26-year-old missing person case in Challis continues to be checked out, according to a news release from Jail Administrator Linda Dubiel. Dubiel was the on-duty Sheriff’s Office dispatcher at the time of the incident.
Stephanie Crane’s case will remain open until she is found, Dubiel wrote. A $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Stephanie’s disappearance remains in place.
Stephanie was last seen around 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, 1993, at the Challis bowling alley. She left Challis Lanes headed either home, which was about 500 yards away, or to watch soccer practice at Challis High School, across the street. She never made it to either place.
Sandi Crane reported her daughter missing at 8:15 p.m. that evening. Law enforcement and emergency responders began searching for the 9-year-old girl within 45 minutes. The search was suspended at 12:30 a.m. Oct. 12, but resumed at 7 a.m. that same day. About 300 searchers spent several days looking for the girl. Two airplanes, a boat crew and search dogs were all part of the search effort, Dubiel wrote.
Sheriff’s Office personnel have searched around Challis many times during the decades, with no trace of Stephanie ever found, Dubiel’s release stated.
Stephanie’s disappearance has been featured in several national arenas. It was the subject of three TV programs in 1993 — America’s Most Wanted, The Front Page and on CNN. In 2016 the case was featured on a Dateline internet program titled Cold Case Spotlight. Last year, on the 25th anniversary of her disappearance, the case was the subject of a Discovery channel program titled Disappeared. That episode “Into the Mist,” can still be viewed free on demand on DishTV through the end of this year, Dubiel said.
Dubiel issues a press release in early October every year to news outlets around the country. Last year she told the Messenger she doesn’t want people to forget about Stephanie. Dubiel also said she doesn’t think missing persons cases should be closed until they are solved.
Stephanie’s grandmother, Hazel Crane, still lives in Challis. Last year she told the Messenger she has never moved or changed her phone number, in case Stephanie tries to find her. Stephanie has not been legally declared dead. Stephanie’s parents are both dead.
The Custer County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the FBI, Idaho State Police and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on this case. Missing person posters of Stephanie hang in Custer County buildings and her information is still on nationwide missing persons lists.
Dubiel asks that anyone with information they think could help find Stephanie contact the Sheriff’s Office at 208-879-2232 or leave a message on the office’s anonymous tip line at 208-879-5372. People may call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-842-5678. Comments may be left on Sheriff Stu Lumpkin’s Facebook page and emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.