Search continues for California teen Karlie Gusé

Updated November 6, 2018 - 1:46 pm

Shortly after dawn on Saturday, Oct. 13, neighbors in the eastern California community of Chalfant Valley spotted 16-year-old Karlie Lain Gusé walking by herself near the highway that leads toward Nevada. She hasn’t been seen since.

Despite an extensive air and ground search, an investigation by local law enforcement and the FBI, and nationwide publicity, no clues have surfaced in the mysterious case.

Last weekend the sheriff’s office in Mono County, California, which is leading the investigation, searched the desert with cadaver-sniffing dogs.

“The biggest clue in this case is that there’s no clue,” Sgt. Seth Clark said. “We think Karlie may still be out there.”

The sheriff’s office is treating the incident as a missing person case and said in a Facebook posting that there’s “no evidence of an abduction or any other crime.” But Karlie’s family suspects otherwise.

“Just the thought of her going to the highway,” said Melissa Gusé, 34, Karlie’s stepmother for the past nine years. “It makes me feel like somebody just happened to be driving by and grabbed her.”

On the night before she dis­appeared, Karlie told her family and boyfriend she feared for her own safety.

Dream turns to nightmare

A tall and slender girl with long hair and blue eyes, Karlie lives with her family in White Mountain Estates, a rural neighborhood along U.S. Highway 6, close to Boundary Peak, Nevada’s tallest mountain.

Many people who reside in the neighborhood have jobs or attend school in Bishop, California, 10 miles south on U.S. 6. Karlie is a junior at Bishop Union High School.

Melissa is an escrow assistant at a title company, and Karlie works there part-time. Karlie’s father Zachary Gusé, 43, works in construction. Zac and Melissa have two sons, ages 10 and 9, who live with the family.

In August, Zac and Melissa bought their dream house, a three-bedroom modular in Sierra View Estates.

But starting on Friday night Oct. 12, their life became a nightmare.

‘She got scared of me’

After school that Friday, Karlie told Melissa she was going to a high school football game.

Instead Karlie went to a house party with her boyfriend, 17, whose name is being withheld because he’s a minor.

The boyfriend told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that while they were at the party, Karlie smoked marijuana and started to panic. “She got scared of the music,” he said. “She got scared of me.”

Around 8 p.m., Karlie used her iPhone to call Melissa. “She was frantic,” Melissa said. “She wanted me to pick her up.”

When Melissa got to Bishop, she found Karlie running down the street. “She was really pale, looked like a ghost. Her pupils were really dilated.”

Karlie admitted to Melissa that she was high. It wasn’t her first time.

‘I really messed up today’

Earlier in the year, Karlie’s grades plummeted, and she got in trouble for coming to class while high on marijuana.

Zac and Melissa told Karlie the misbehavior needed to stop, and that seemed to have the desired effect. “Her grades were getting better, she was getting better,” Zac told the Review-Journal.

Then came the events of Oct. 12. After Melissa brought Karlie home, Zac could see his daughter was agitated. “She was scared of something,” he said. “I was trying to talk to her.”

At last Karlie headed to bed, and she asked Melissa to stay with her. But the restless teen couldn’t sleep. “She wanted to paint toenails,” Melissa said. “She wanted to read the Bible.”

Melissa decided to make a recording on her phone, so later she could replay it for Karlie as a teaching moment about drug use.

At one point in the eight-minute audio, Karlie says, “I really messed up today,” and Melissa tries to soothe her by saying, “We all do things in life that we regret, drugs especially.”

A tearful Karlie thanks Melissa and says, “I love you.” But when Melissa gives Karlie a salad, the teen blurts out, “This the devil’s lettuce!”

After Melissa urges Karlie to get some sleep, the troubled girl responds, “No, I don’t want to go to sleep. You’re going to kill me.” Melissa tries to reason with her. “Why would I kill you? That’s preposterous.”

“I’m just thinking all this demonic stuff,” Karlie sobs. “I can’t help it.”

Marijuana or LSD?

Zac believes Karlie ingested something stronger than marijuana. “It could’ve been laced with something else,” he said.

Karlie’s boyfriend insists marijuana was the culprit. “She hadn’t smoked in a while,” he said. “It could’ve triggered something.”

But Karlie’s birth mom Lindsay Fairley, 39, of Yerington, Nevada, said she suspects her daughter was high on LSD. Karlie had recently asked about the drug, and Lindsay warned that it was dangerous.

In the predawn hours of Oct. 13, Melissa fell asleep while lying beside Karlie. At about 5:45 a.m., Melissa woke up, looked over at Karlie and fell back asleep.

When Melissa awoke again around 7:15-7:30 a.m., Karlie was gone.

Three witnesses

Richard Eddy, 78, a retiree who used to work for the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office, lives down the street from the Gusé home.

At daybreak Oct. 13, Eddy was sipping coffee while relaxing in his Jacuzzi, which sits in an enclosed room facing the street.

Eddy said that sometime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m., he saw a tall, slender female with long hair walk by. “She was looking up, looking around at the sky,” he said.

According to the Mono County sheriff’s office, two other witnesses reported seeing Karlie that morning in the vicinity of White Mountain Estates Road and Highway 6.

Karlie took nothing with her when she left home — not even her cellphone or glasses. She was wearing only sneakers, a white T-shirt and gray sweatpants, even though the temperature was in the low 40s.

‘Like ground zero’

After Karlie went missing, Zac and Melissa spent two hours driving around White Mountain Estates and the surrounding desert.

“Because of what happened the night before, the thought was she went on a walk to clear her head,” said Zac.

But when Zac phoned Lindsay, she urged him to call the police, so he dialed 911. That afternoon the Mono County sheriff’s office launched a search and rescue operation.

According to Sgt. Clark, the weeklong effort involved multiple helicopters, half-a-dozen scent dogs and upward of 60 personnel.

Rex Hamilton, a neighbor who watched the search unfold, told the Review-Journal, “This is a quiet little community, but for a few days it was like ground zero up here.”

The sheriff’s office also enlisted help from the FBI in analyzing cellphone data and pursing leads.

A week after Karlie disappeared, the sheriff’s office set up a checkpoint along Highway 6. About 50 people reported that they’d driven through Oct. 13, but none recalled seeing anyone matching Karlie’s description.

Even so, because of the sightings by three independent witnesses, the sheriff’s office concluded that Karlie walked down to the highway from her house, a distance of under one mile. What happened after that is anyone’s guess.

‘Your worst nightmare’

This past Saturday and Sunday, personnel from the sheriff’s office, assisted by volunteers, searched the desert again using K-9 teams. But they left the field Sunday afternoon without any apparent breakthrough.

Melissa believes Karlie was abducted. Zac concurs but also remarked, “It just doesn’t make sense that your worst nightmare would show up at that time.”

According to Caltrans, at peak times the section of Highway 6 where Karlie vanished handles about 200 cars per hour. Fewer cars pass by early on a Saturday morning.

Zac acknowledges that, given Karlie’s recent troubles, it’s possible she ran away. “Maybe’s there’s things she kept from us. Who knows?”

There’s also been speculation Karlie’s disappearance might be linked to the case of Madelyn Lingenfelter, 19, who parked her car along Mount Rose Highway near Reno on Sept. 19 and hasn’t been seen since. But no evidence has emerged to support this theory.

‘It hurts me to be attacked’

Karlie’s disappearance has attracted nationwide media coverage. The case has also been generating controversy on social media, especially after Lindsay spoke to Nancy Grace’s “Crime Online” and questioned Zac and Melissa’s account.

The Mono County sheriff’s office admonished in a Facebook posting that “hurtful comments directed to Karlie’s mother, stepmother and/or father just add to their suffering.”

Melissa was also accused of being a publicity seeker, after she launched a Facebook group called “Bring Karlie Home!” that now has more than 12,000 members.

“It hurts me to be attacked when I’m out here looking for her,” said Melissa.

Zac has been criticized for not being more visible. “People wonder why I haven’t been heard from, but I don’t do social media,” he explained.

Zac and Melissa said they’re cooperating with law enforcement and are willing to take polygraph exams.

They’re asking anyone with knowledge about Karlie’s whereabouts to contact the Mono County Sheriff’s Office at 760-932-7549, option 7.

Doug Kari is an attorney and writer in Lone Pine, California.

ad-high_impact_4
News
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy and Clark County schools
Tony Stark, one of 23 attendance officers with the Clark County School District, have a tall order tracking down students who aren't in school.
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like