Ex-Cafe Risque waitress missing for 17 months
Published: Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 11:34 p.m.
A search is under way for information on a former Cafe Risque waitress who was last heard from in August 2007 while at the Gainesville Greyhound bus station.
Heather Ann MacCrossen was 26 when she used her cell phone to call her mother in Michigan on Aug. 17, 2007 and told her she was at the Gainesville bus station.
The Alachua County Sheriff's Office said the former Newberry resident's family formally reported her missing in December.
The search for MacCrossen has included a fruitless search for any activity on her Social Security number or credit cards.
"It is difficult for a legal resident to live for any period of time with no Social Security number activity," said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Steve Maynard. "Because there has been no activity, this is an indicator for us that something bad may have happened."
Among those questioned about MacCrossen is her former boyfriend, Andrelo Witcher, 30, who is serving a 15-month state prison sentence for fleeing from a law enforcement officer in Columbia County.
MacCrossen's case has been assigned to Investigator Thom Kinsey, who said Witcher has been questioned about the young woman's disappearance.
"Her ex-boyfriend denies knowing where she is," Kinsey said. "We have no reason to believe he has done anything at this time."
While MacCrossen did not request a restraining order to keep Witcher away from her, Kinsey said the couple apparently had a violent relationship.
"In 2006, deputies took a sexual battery report involving (Witcher) and Heather (MacCrossen), and that went to the State Attorney's Office" to be prosecuted, Kinsey said. "The State Attorney, due to Heather not cooperating, did not move forward on the case."
Shortly before her disappearance, MacCrossen's relatives said she fled to Michigan, arriving with two black eyes, and that she told family members, including her cousin Jennifer Wiegand, that she was terrified of Witcher.
Wiegand, who still lives in Michigan, said MacCrossen moved to Florida about four years ago to start a new life and had been dating Witcher for about a year before she disappeared.
According to Wiegand, prior to MacCrossen's involvement with Witcher, she would get in contact with a relative at least once every month or so, often calling to check up on her now 8-year-old son who lives with his father in Michigan.
"Once she started dating him, he wanted to control who she was talking to on the phone. He was very controlling," Wiegand said.
MacCrossen reportedly spent about a month in Michigan with relatives before returning to Florida to deal with a misdemeanor traffic ticket issued by the Florida Highway Patrol in Columbia County. A warrant for MacCrossen's arrest was issued when she failed to appear in court.
Kinsey said the MacCrossen family apparently tried searching for her over the Internet for months and eventually reported MacCrossen as missing after an unusual incident.
"They got a phone call from one of her friends who said that in October 2008 an officer had come to their house to make a death notification," Kinsey said. The claim could not be verified with any local law enforcement agencies.
In December, one of MacCrossen's cousins filed a missing person's report with the Sheriff's Office.
"When we realized that (Witcher) was in jail, we couldn't understand why she wasn't calling someone just to let us know where she was and that she was OK," Wiegand said. "Something serious has happened to her."
"We are at a point where we need more information," Kinsey said. "Hopefully she told somebody where she was going."
Anyone with information about MacCrossen is asked to contact Kinsey at 384-3320 or 955-1818.
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