On Friday, May 13, Karlie Lain Gusé should have been celebrating her 20th birthday at home with friends and family, but Karlie wasn’t there. She vanished sometime around dawn on the morning of October 13, 2018.
There was no evidence of forced entry at her place of residence. Karlie, 16 years old at the time, is believed to have walked out of the family home located in the White Mountain Estates area of Chalfant Valley in Mono County, California. She left her cell phone and other belongings behind, so it is not believed she ran away.
Karlie was reported missing by her father and stepmother at about 9:35 a.m. that morning after exhausting their own efforts to locate her. Police began an immediate search with helicopters, officers, and dogs, according to Carson Now. They continued to search until October 25, 2018 but found no traces of the teenager. A checkpoint set up in the area of her disappearance at the time also turned up no clues.
According to Stories of the Unsolved, Karlie’s stepmother, Melissa, said that she picked the teen up in Bishop, California, at around 8 p.m. the night before her disappearance. She claimed that Karlie told her she had smoked pot earlier and that the teenager was acting “paranoid” and “disoriented.” Karlie was said to be voicing concerns that she was going to die and that someone was tracking her movements on her cell phone.
However, Melissa told Crime Online that after Karlie got home, she was calm. She said that she slept in Karlie’s room with her to make sure she was okay. She claimed to have seen Karlie lying awake at about 5:30 a.m. but then dozed off again. When she awoke an hour or so later, Karlie was gone.
In statements to the FBI, Karlie’s father, Zach Gusé told them he has a couple of theories as to what happened to his daughter. One of his theories is that she was perhaps still affected by whatever she had ingested the night before, perhaps something stronger than marijuana or something laced into it, and wandered too far out into the desert where she somehow died. The other theory is that she was abducted as she walked by the road. In the second scenario, she could still be alive somewhere.
Both Melissa and Karlie’s father claim that they don’t know what happened to the missing teen, but her mother, Lindsay Fairley, is skeptical of their story, saying they have changed their version of events several times. She told Crime Online that she believes her daughter took drugs the night before she vanished and had some sort of reaction to them. Lindsay believes that Karlie died of a drug overdose in bed while at home with her stepmother and that when Melissa had seen Karlie’s eyes open, she was not awake, but was deceased.
Members of the family have appeared on the Dr. Phil Show to discuss Karlie's disappearance and talk about what they each believed may have happened. However, there is no evidence to support Lindsay’s claims and police say Karlie’s father and stepmother have been nothing but cooperative. No charges have been filed against anyone in the case.
According to the FBI, witnesses placed Karlie walking south just 30 yards east of Highway 6 and 100 yards south of Sierra View Road on the morning she was last seen. Searches of the area and investigations into the circumstances surrounding her disappearance revealed no clues to her whereabouts. Friends and family have not received any communications from her since she left home that day.
A Facebook page dedicated to finding Karlie continues to post updates about the case.
In a video posted on the FBI’s YouTube account, a witness named Richard Eddy describes seeing a girl he believed was Karlie.
In another YouTube video posted by the FBI, Agent Brad Bilderback said that the location where Karlie was last seen is a “desolate” area.
"To really up and vanish like she did — it's mind-boggling. Somewhere somebody knows something." – Brad Bilderback, FBI
The Mono County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI have continuously reached out to the public for assistance in the case. The FBI has posted a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the recovery of Karlie and has posted the video series below to help with the search for their missing loved one.
- Zach Gusé: My Whole Body and Soul
- Melissa Gusé: Your Mind Wanders
- Richard Eddy: Witness
- Brad Bilderback: Somebody Knows Something
- David Kaulk: We May Never See Her Again
- Zach Gusé: I Lost My Mind
- Melissa Gusé: Damaged Family
- Kole Gusé: She's Probably Dead
- Ashley Forbes: Nobody in Town Goes Missing Like This
- Branson Jernigan: It Seems Like People Have Been Forgetting About Her
- Zach Gusé: I Wanted to Let the Light In
- Brent Gillespie: Please Come Forward
At the time of her disappearance, Karlie had dark blonde hair, and her left nostril was pierced. She was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 110 pounds then. She was last seen wearing gray sweatpants or jeans, a white t-shirt, and Vans shoes.
Anyone with information about Karlie Lain Gusé is asked to contact the Mono County Sheriff's Office at 760-932-5678 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sacramento FBI field office can be contacted at 916-746-7000 or you can submit an anonymous tip.