(WSVN) - As a parent, nothing is more terrifying than the thought of your child going missing. One Fort Lauderdale family knows that pain, and now, more than three years after their 15-year-old daughter disappeared, the 7 Investigates team is learning new details about the case. Here’s 7’s Kevin Ozebek.
Sophie Reeder had a smile that lit up her face.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean, Fort Lauderdale Police: “I think about it all the time.”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean says this is the case that haunts her. This mother of five would like nothing more than to find out what happened to Sophie.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “I constantly think about what can I do different? What can I look at? What angle can I think of?”
Sophie disappeared more than three years ago, on May 20th, 2017, while she was out for a late night walk.
Her parents are divorced, and at the time, she was living with her father.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “We know that she did on a regular basis go for walks, so that wasn’t necessarily unusual. The unusual part is when she didn’t come back home.”
Court records obtained by 7 Investigates show Sophie left her father’s house with “… a candle burning in her bedroom…” and “… $300.00 cash in a bag near her bed.”
All signs she did not run away.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “She walked down the street, kind of meandered in the area for a while, then we have her going eastbound on Davie Boulevard.”
Fort Lauderdale Police used cell tower records and Google account locations to make a map of Sophie’s route.
Security camera video shows Sophie walking through the neighborhoods.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “She’s by herself. Other than that, we have no idea what she was doing in the area.”
Sophie’s phone either died or was turned off at Southwest 11th Court in Fort Lauderdale.
Kevin Ozebek: “There’s no question: she was in this neighborhood.”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “Absolutely.”
Kevin Ozebek: “That night.”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “That’s not a question.”
Kevin Ozebek: “Through early morning.”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “Right.”
Kevin Ozebek: “And this is her last known whereabouts.”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “It is.”
Before her phone signal dropped, detectives believe she was in contact with two men in this neighborhood. Police suspect both men at the time were dealing in dark, dangerous and illegal underground activity.
Kevin Ozebek: “So you can tell us now, a suspected drug dealer, a suspected trafficker?”
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “Yes.”
Sophie’s mom, Nicole, says she had been worried about her daughter.
Nicole Twist, Sophie’s mother: “When I went through her room, I saw things like stockings and garter belts, booze, drugs. I’m just surprised that she would even think about bringing that to my house. She picked the wrong crowd to hang out with, and I totally believe social media and being on the computer and talking to the wrong people led to her disappearance.”
Police say Sophie would go on websites to find so-called “sugar daddies,” men who want relationships with young women.
And young women looking for older men can sometimes be forced into sex trafficking.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “It’s very prevalent in South Florida and, unfortunately, it’s so easy to get entangled into it and not even know necessarily right away that you’re involved in it until you’re so deep into it that you don’t know how to get out.”
If Sophie is still alive, she is 18 years old now. A poster shows what she might look like, but what it doesn’t show is the kind of life she might be living.
Nicole Twist: “As a mom, I have conflicting feelings that, even if … maybe it would be better for her to be dead than have the life that she’s having now. What does she have to do to survive? I just could imagine what kind of hell … I think she’s probably strung out on drugs and having to prostitute.”
That fear is the reason Detective Saint-Jean will not give up the search.
Detective Jennifer Saint-Jean: “The grim reality is, she could be in a very dark situation right now, which is why we’re hoping for any tips or any leads that could get us information so that we could locate her safely.”
She will not close the case until she gets an answer to the question: what happened to Sophie Reeder?
Sophie’s father declined our request for an interview. If you have any information on Sophie Reeder, call the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Anonymous Tip Line at 954-828-5534.
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