Chisholm, MN

19 years ago, a 5-year-old girl vanished while walking to a friend's home alone. What happened to LeeAnna Warner?

Fatim Hemraj

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LeeAnna WarnerDuluth News

It was June 14, 2003. After a long summer day at the lake, Kaelin Warner returned to her Chisholm, Minnesota home with her 5-year-old daughter, LeeAnna. It was 4:30 pm, almost time to begin preparing dinner and wind down for the evening, but LeeAnna still had some energy left and she begged her mother to let her play with a friend who lived just down the block.

Kaelin told LeeAnna, whose nickname was Beaner, to return by 5 and the little girl took off — a short walk Kaelin said her daughter took often by herself.

But by the time 5 pm rolled around, LeeAnna still hadn’t returned and by 5:30, Kaelin and her husband, Christopher were frantic. The Warners rushed over to the friend’s home where they found their daughter’s shoes sitting on the front porch. LeeAnna herself was nowhere to be found.

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LeeAnna WarnerWikipedia

A neighbor told the police he saw the little girl knock on the front door of her friend’s home but no one answered. Figuring no one was home, LeeAnna turned around and began making her way back to her own. Other neighbors saw her between 5 and 5:15 pm. Then, the trail suddenly went cold.

Tragically, the Warners never saw their beloved daughter again.

Authorities received over 1,800 leads in the next several years but none ever led to LeeAnna. A lake near her home was even drained but it proved to be fruitless.

The closest suspect investigators ever had was 24-year-old Matthew Curtis, who lived just down the street from the Warners. Matthew was arrested for possession of C/P just two months after LeeAnna vanished. His vehicle was searched but there was no evidence she had ever been inside. Before investigators could interview Matthew again, he took his own life.

Unable to live in a house where every corner of the home boasted memories of the little girl, the Warners moved away and eventually divorced — common for parents who live through the trauma of a missing or murdered child.

19 excruciating years have gone by and the search for LeeAnna Warner, who would be a fully grown woman at 24-years-old today, continues. Her parents and her older sister, Karlee still have hope that she is alive and well.

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Age progression photo of LeeAnna WarnerNational Center for Missing and Exploited Children

At the time of her disappearance, LeeAnna was wearing a blue sleeveless denim dress with a belt, orange underwear, and one floral earring with a garnet. Investigators believe she was abducted and murdered. If you have any information, contact the Chisholm Police Department at 218-254-7915.

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