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Tuesday marks 29 years since disappearance of Stephanie Crane

The 9-year-old Challis girl left a local bowling alley without a trace in 1993. The Custer County Sheriff's Office still follows up on every tip they get.

BOISE, Idaho — On Oct. 11, 1993, 9-year-old Stephanie Crane left Challis Lanes Bowling Alley, never to be seen again.

The Custer County Sheriff's Office renews their call for any leads on her disappearance every year. 

The office has not received any tips for at least a year, but they say Crane's case will remain open until they find out what happened to her.

Crane was last seen at the bowling alley with friends between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. After she finished, she either headed home, or walked 500 feet across the street to Challis High School to watch a soccer practice.

However, she did not make it to either destination.

Linda Dubiel is the general administrator and a dispatcher for the Custer County Sheriff's Office. She was the dispatcher on duty the night Crane went missing.

“Her mom came in and said she had been looking for her daughter for about maybe an hour and a half," Dubiel said. "So, then we sent the deputy down behind the bowling alley because she lived behind the bowling alley and there was a creek there, so wanted to make sure she didn’t fall in. Immediately we had volunteer search & rescue and the fire department going out looking until about 1 in the morning."

The search for Crane continued over the following days, but those days turned into months, which have turned into 29 years.

“She’s still missing. The case shouldn’t be closed until she’s found,” Dubiel said. "I like to keep a little faith that it will be solved.”

There is no leading theory on what happened to Crane.

“We’ve had the Project ALERT from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children come out and help us. We’ve had tips where we’ve gone and searched other areas of Custer County, and just don’t put it out to the public, because we just don’t want everyone else going out," Dubiel said. "A lot of times with some of the tips we won’t tell the family because we don’t want to get their hopes up.”

Dubiel said the sheriff's office has received countless calls over the years, but not all of them have been helpful.

“Lots of psychics call up and say they had visions of where Stephanie would have been," Dubiel said. "My favorite one was that her body was buried by a tree in a mountainous area near a creek, which is most of Custer County.”

"We’ve had women call up and say, for whatever reason, they think they’re Stephanie Crane and we found out where they are and we call that sheriff’s office wherever they are and go and get a DNA sample and send it in and have it tested against Stephanie’s to find out if they are Stephanie, and they’re not."

The Custer County Sheriff's Office still follows up on every tip they get.

Crane's parents passed away in 1996 and 2012. She has three sisters who are alive.

Dubiel said they acted as fast as they could to get out information the night Crane went missing. An AMBER Alert was not sent out because the system did not exist until 1996. However, Crane's case would not have met the criteria for an AMBER Alert. 

"Because there wasn’t enough information for an Amber Alert," Dubiel said. "An Amber Alert you have to have the suspect’s information, which we didn’t have a suspect at the time.”

Crane's case would have fit an Endangered Missing Person's Alert, which Governor Brad Little signed into law in March

“For that you just need the missing person’s description and their last known location, and that we had," Dubiel said. "So, we had a general location of where she was and we had her description, so that would have gone out to Idaho and the surrounding area and let people know we had a missing child. I mean, we did the best we could to get that information out as quick as we could."

Crane would have celebrated her 38th birthday in September.

The Custer County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with tips to contact them or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Tips can be given anonymously. 

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