A quarter century has elapsed since 3-year-old Randi Evers disappeared from his Las Vegas home, and the passage of time has done little to help police solve the case.
The East Rochelle Avenue apartment where the blond, blue-eyed boy was last seen has since been leveled. Dry, dead shrubs have collected against a dilapidated chain-link fence, and trash is scattered throughout the vacant lot in the shadow of the glitzy Strip.
Hope has dimmed in the effort to learn what happened to little Randi 25 years ago, but Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield said missing persons cases never close.
“Not all cases are solvable right now, but they are always open,” Hadfield said recently.
Newspaper stories from the time recount how Randi was sleeping with a blanket on the living room floor during his father’s birthday party on Feb. 15, 1992.
The father, Mike, had been celebrating with friends before he fell asleep in a back room with his 1-year-old daughter. One friend fell asleep on a couch near Randi, and the boy’s stepmother, Tina, left the party to go to a casino.
When she returned a few hours later, Randi was gone.
According to a police report from that day, Mike Evers showed little concern and had to be dragged from his bed when he learned his boy was missing.
The subsequent investigation immediately focused on the uncooperative Evers couple, who first refused a polygraph test. Tina Evers told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1992 that the couple later failed the test by incorrectly answering questions about the boy’s whereabouts.
She also said police asked the couple whether they owed anyone money.
“They think that he was sold for drugs or to settle a drug debt,” Tina Evers told the Review-Journal at the time.
Mike and Tina Evers soon were at the center of a grand jury investigation, during which they refused to testify. They were never charged in connection with the disappearance.
According to court records, the couple filed for divorce in 1997.
Mike Evers died in 2014, according to an obituary in the Hi-Desert Star, a newspaper in San Bernardino County.
Alexis Maynard, Randi’s biological mother, had legal custody of her son when he disappeared. In a recent phone interview with the Review-Journal, she was critical of the Metropolitan Police Department’s initial investigation.
“Their investigation was trying to indict Mike and Tina,” she said.
Maynard said she and Tina Evers started occasionally communicating on Facebook about 10 years ago. Recent attempts to reach Tina Evers for an interview were unsuccessful.
Police originally thought Maynard might have driven up from Southern California to take her son. Investigators later determined she was not a suspect.
She said more than a week went by before she knew her son was missing. She said she found out about the disappearance when the FBI knocked on her door in San Diego.
Maynard said about 20 years passed before investigators followed up with her on her missing son. She said they asked her to do a DNA test about a year and a half ago, because they thought they had found Randi alive, but the DNA did not match.
She said she moved to Texas about 20 years ago.
“At some point I felt like I needed to move on,” she said.
The case is now in the hands of Metro’s homicide detectives, who have made no progress.
Hadfield said he understands how a lack of closure could leave a victim’s family feeling frustrated.
He said he had no information about investigators contacting Maynard for a DNA test.
Maynard said the experience of her son disappearing changed her personality forever. She said the process was so traumatic that she couldn’t raise her eldest daughter, so family had to take her in. She later raised two daughters in Texas.
“I kind of fell apart after my son disappeared,” she said.
Contact Blake Apgar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.