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— A Ducks Transcription —
To Live and Die in LA, Season 2, Ep 2: I Hope I Don’t Die Tonight
911 Recording from Geoffrey’s Restaurant in Malibu.
NEIL/VO: The 911 call you just heard led to what may be the most infamous and tragic missing persons cases in recent history in Malibu. On September 17, 2009, a 24 year old beauty pageant contestant and psychology graduate named Mitrice Richardson was arrested after acting erratically and failing to pay her bill at the Malibu restaurant Geoffrey’s, just 2 minutes away from the spot where Elaine’s parked car was found. She was brought to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s station, where her mother called and asked if it would be possible to get Mitrice that night, or if she needed to wait until morning. Here’s that very call:
Latrice Sutton’s infamous and heartbreaking call to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department.
NEIL/VO: Her mom woke up to a morning report much like the one she was worried about. The Sheriff’s Department released Mitrice Richardson that night onto the deserted Canyon Road outside the station without her cellphone, wallet, car and she was never seen alive again.
News clip reporting that Mitrice Richardson’s remains were found.
NEIL/VO: After an 11 month search, park rangers inspecting a marijuana grow site in the mountains found Mitrice’s body deep in an isolated canyon, 7 miles away from the Lost Hills Sheriff station. The Sheriff claimed there was no evidence of a homicide, but based on several inconsistencies and irregularities, many people believe foul play, as well as negligence, and possibly a coverup, on the part of the Sheriff’s Department.
DR. HAMPTON: I don’t care what anybody says, because common sense says you do not release a young woman, or anybody, in the middle of the night with no means of caring for themselves. I want her returned and I want to find out what happened to this young woman, and I want to find out now.
NEWS ANCHOR: Dr. Ronda Hampton is a psychologist whom Richardson interned with.
NEIL/VO: I’m sharing this story, not just so you know what happened to Mitrice, because we will be discussing it more, but because Ronda Hampton, who has led the fight for justice for Mitrice, would soon step forward with not just possible evidence of what happened to Elaine Park, but also more details on a very disturbing motive.
Episode 2, Chapter 4: The Concert
JAYDEN: What we’ve discovered, beyond what the police discovered, um, is, that, um. Elaine was, um, at a concert, and, uh, dates are important, because—
NEIL/VO: That’s Jayden Brandt, he’s the investigator working pro-bono for Susan Park, the mother of Elaine Park, who went missing 2 months earlier. Ingrid and I are at our first meeting with them at the Malibu home of our friends violinist, Ann Marie Simpson, and her husband Mike Einzinger of Incubus. Jayden and Elaine’s mother had just left the room to discuss sharing some confidential information with us. They then returned and decided to disclose that information because they believe it’s the key to solving Elaine’s disappearance.
JAYDEN: All indications from multiple sources—
INGRID: (whispering) —the 27th—
JAYDEN: —ah, she was raped at that event.
NEIL/VO: Jayden and Susan believe that shortly before Elaine went missing—
JAYDEN: There were deleted Tweets, um—
NEIL/VO: —she was planning to report this assault and those responsible to the authorities.
JAYDEN: Ah, talk about seeking justice. She became aware of this at the end of December, around the mid- to end of December, 2016. This is in the time frame where she was heavily involved with Divine.
NEIL/VO: Divine, or Div, as you may recall, was Elaine’s ex-boyfriend whose house she was last seen at. And this is where Jayden goes even further.
JAYDEN: A week before she went missing she knew that the people that—
NEIL/VO: He’s been investigating a theory that Divine knew people connected to Elaine’s assault and that she was going to talk to him about her intentions to reveal the truth. Please keep in mind as you listen, you’re hearing this information for the first time, just as I heard it in 2017. I tried to remain neutral and not jump to any conclusions and I’d ask that you do the same. This was my first missing persons investigation and I’d soon learn that things aren’t always as they seem.
JAYDEN: We were able to recover the text messages from her computer. They spoke constantly since November 8 all the way up until, ah, January 3rd when, ah, she sent him a long text saying she wants to get her life back together, and, you know, he should go out and work on his life, and, and, and they can’t be together anymore. No communication at all from January 3rd until January 20th when he sends her a dozen text messages in a row with no response from her.
NEIL/VO: Note that this is 8 days before Elaine disappeared.
JAYDEN: They were basically, we’ve to talk about this, don’t— don’t do anything crazy, you gotta call me.
ANN MARIE: That’s motive with evidence.
JAYDEN: The indications from the friends initially, it was other artists, it wasn’t Father, but it was these other artists at the— at the show. When I talk about having a great deal of circumstantial evidence, that’s what that is.
JAYDEN: Now, I can tell you that the Sheriff’s Department is ready to act on that evidence. Sheriff’s homicide feels that that is sufficient evidence to move forward and continue in the investigation, but at this time they, they just can’t do anything about it.
NEIL/VO: The reason the Malibu Sheriff’s hands are tied is because even though Elaine’s car was found in their jurisdiction, the case officially belongs to the police department in Glendale, where Elaine actually lives, so the Sheriff’s department has no authority to investigate this, which is very frustrating for Jayden and Elaine’s mother, so we promised to do everything we could to help. Since there was a connection to music, I also offered to look into writing about this for Rolling Stone. The magazine might open the doors for us to some of these artists and people they were mentioning.
JAYDEN: So we can really work together on that.
NEIL: Should I talk to my writers tomorrow, then?
JAYDEN: I, I mean, I think the, ah, everything you guys are saying, um, I think is of tremendous value, and the consensus is among all the investigators involved is, we gotta start going back to some of the friends and asking some things that we didn’t ask before. Hopefully, we can kind of collaborate on that.
NEIL: We just have one question, then I— we should probably let you guys go. Let’s just say that I take this story and then I start sniffing around that group of people, ah, what are— do you think it’s dangerous, as far as my safety, or my family’s safety?
JAYDEN: I mean my perception of, of danger and safety is probably skewed a bit, but, um, you have to be aware of it, for sure.
NEIL/VO: Jayden’s answer wasn’t very reassuring but it wasn’t a clear and direct threat, either, so we committed to pressing forward. As everyone prepared to leave, Elaine’s mother made one last request.
SUSAN: Before we go, I just want to mention like, um, there’s been a few comments in the Facebook, an— about, um, increasing the reward, but, you know, you have certain like amount of reward, like they turn their mothers in, and you know, this, a few people are saying—
NEIL/VO: What Susan is referring to is comments from followers of the Help Find Elaine Park Facebook page, who apparently suggested that the current reward of $5,000 donated by Elaine’s father, was too low. We told her we’d talk to our friends and neighbors and see what we could do to increase that reward. Then, as Elaine’s mother stood at the door, after a meeting that had been over 2 1/2 hours, she told us about the last heart to heart conversation she had with her daughter.
SUSAN: And last, sort of a conversation we had, was, I guess, uh, three months ago now. Ah, she came to my room, standing, and she’s like, “You know, mom, you know, what should I be? And what can I be? What did you want to be when you grow up, mom?” And I say, ah, you know, when I was young, I guess I wanted to be a singer, but I’m not really good singing, but I wanted to be a singer. And, um, so she’s kinda chuckled, and she goes, “Well, what should I be? I don’t know what I wanna be.” And I said, well. She’s really good in English, she loves to write, and she’s very creative in writing. And she’s really good in a detail drawing, too. Um, and I say, since you’re like traveling a lot and you’re really good in English and you like to, you know, be on the spot, and attention and all, so, uh, why don’t you be a— a journalist? I can see you on TV. And I always watched, you know, Fox News, CNN, Channel 9, Channel 7. See, see, that— I would like to see you do that. But then, like, you know, I was crying the other day. Like, I want— I didn’t mean to see you on TV on a missing person case, you know, that’s not— Sobbing and crying, talking to myself.
Chapter 5: The Smoke Out
NEIL/VO: Our little team jumped into action. We had never done this before, but clearly we’d been deputized. Being a journalist and a former newspaper fact checker, the first thing I wanted to do is confirm first hand the information Jayden had shared. I called Rosemarie Wheeler. Rosemarie is the friend of Elaine’s mom we met at that initial meeting.
NEIL: How do we know that Elaine was going to confront Divine about this?
ROSEMARIE: Ronda Hampton was told at the search by friends of Elaine that that was the plan of Elaine— the night that she went, um, to see Divine.
NEIL/VO: Ronda Hampton as you may recall from the beginning of this episode, is the psychologist Mitrice Richardson had interned for. Ronda had helped Mitrice’s family after she went missing, and like Ingrid, she also noticed how little had been done for Elaine Park so she helped organize a search on March 12.
NEIL: Do we know which girls those were?
ROSEMARIE: It might have been Danielle and Sadie. You know what, I might even have pictures, um, ’cause I had taken so many pictures that day. There were only, like, 2 or 3 of her friends that showed up, there weren’t very many.
NEIL: If you give me those photos I can show them to Ronda and ask.
ROSEMARIE: Let me go look through my photos and see if I have any of the girls that were there.
NEIL/VO: Rosemarie went on to tell me about an incident that occurred at the search between Divine’s mother Tanya and Elaine’s friends.
ROSEMARIE: When we were, um, searching, the Comperes had driven by a few times. Tanya was sitting in the front seat and she rolled down the window at the stop sign and just yelled, yelled, “Are you Daisy? Are you Daisy?” She was yelling at Daniele. “Are you Daisy, you little bitch?”
NEIL/VO: Daisy is a friend of Elaine’s from when she went to Pierce College.
ROSEMARIE: She was just awful, and I don’t know why. Unless Daisy was going after Divine after the fact? And Daisy wasn’t at the search.
NEIL: Well, why— why wasn’t Daisy at the search?
ROSEMARIE: I don’t know. You know what, I could double check, I should send the sign-in sheets. I have it all. Of who attended.
NEIL: That would be great to see.
ROSEMARIE: So. Yeah, yeah yeah yeah, I’ll get that. (lengthy pause) What’s the connection between Daisy and Divine? Because, um, as far as I know? They didn’t really know each other. I never had the opportunity to ask Daisy, I wish I had. (lengthy pause) You know what, can I, one more thing?
ROSEMARIE: The Comperes shut Facebook down. They shut my Facebook down.
NEIL/VO: By her Facebook, Rosemarie means the Help Find Elaine Park facebook page that she started to support Elaine’s mom.
ROSEMARIE: I couldn’t make any posts.
NEIL/VO: While I was speaking with Rosemarie, Mike Einziger was trying to talk to Divine. The reason he took on this task is because he had a direct connection to Divine’s father, Shakim. It tuns out the Incubus’s manager, Johnny Wright, happens to know Shakim, so Mike had his manager make a direct introduction. Here’s a reenactment of part of that call with an actor playing Shakim.
MIKE: We— I’d love to be able to get together with you and your son. I don’t know if that’s possible, but he might be able to actually give us some information that might be able to help us out.
SHAKIM: Well, yeah, my son they weren’t really, like, dating. It was like, you know, they had recently met, so, it wasn’t like it was his girlfriend.
MIKE: Okay, I mean, we’re— we’re just trying to help figure out what happened and solve a problem.
SHAKIM: Well, Michael, I appreciate it a thousand percent, but, it would mean a lot more to me, because, you know, like I said, I’ve talked to the detectives a couple of times and we have nothing to hide. We gave them the video of everything we had and they’ve been in the house, they’ve talked to our attorneys. So, like I said, I think the best thing to do in this situation, if you really want to help us, is to share that information with the police and let them do with it what they may.
MIKE: Yeah, that— That’s fair enough. You, you know, the only issue with that is that the police decided very early on that this is just like a voluntary missing persons case, so they’re kinda not really doing anything.
SHAKIM: Well, not this guy. Not this guy. I think you will like this guy. I think you will like this guy that I’ve been dealing with. And like I said, if you really want to help, I think it’s best to share that information with the people that can do something about it.
NEIL/VO: While Shakim was polite, it was also clear that he wasn’t interested in speaking with some random rockstar moonlighting as a detective. So, with this one road to Divine closed, we decided to continue our research, then circle back later. My next step was to schedule a meeting with psychologist and missing persons advocate Ronda Hampton at her office in Diamond Bar California. Ronda had helped organize the initial search for Elaine.
RONDA: I talked to the detective, he was not going to search, and I said, well, I’m gonna do it myself, and I just got my volunteers together and then she was able to get lots of other— of her friends together to come out and we just did the search.
NEIL/VO: Ronda Hampton had also been doing her own social media diving and noticed something that bothered her.
RONDA: I just felt like she was involved in something else. If that’s true, I’m looking at her friends and those friends know something.
NEIL/VO: So Ronda found a situation during the search where she could talk to Elaine’s friends, alone and unobserved.
RONDA: I said, “Well, what do you think happened? Why do you think she was even at Divine’s house in the first place?” And they told me because she told them that she was going there to confront him about the rape, and that she wanted to file charges. She wanted him to be like, her witness, or to, you know, support her in that, so that’s why she was going.
NEIL/VO: Ronda asked Elaine’s friends what evidence they had to prove that Elaine was going to see Divine to get his support before she reported the assault to the police.
RONDA: The girls said that there— there was a video, which I believe they said was like about 45 minutes long, and she was going on and on and on about what happened to her, and how she was gonna go challenge Divine on it. And I think it was about two or three days before she actually went to the house. They clearly were saying that she was going to tell him, “You need to help me confront him.”
NEIL/VO: Ronda then brought up the name of a very famous rapper. Why she mentioned him is unclear to me, since he wasn’t performing at the concert that Elaine went to that night.
RONDA: Then we start talking for some reason about Kodak Black and, so, they were saying, that they thought it was absolutely crazy to think that Kodak Black would have anything to do raping anybody or anything like that. And I said, “Well, girls, you do know that he’s been in jail?” They didn’t. They stopped dead in their tracks and that’s when the tone changed. I said, “Okay, girls, so what’s up?” There’s one that has brown hair and one that has blonde hair.
RONDA: So the one with the blonde hair was saying, “No, we have to tell her everything, we need to tell her everything.” And then the other one was like, “No, no, we’re not, we’re not.” Those two girls know something.
NEIL: They said Kodak Black?
RONDA: No, I did—
NEIL: Oh, you did?
RONDA: —because I was looking at— It was either instagram, or whatever, and just looking at who was in and around Div— around the time that Elaine went missing, like maybe a month before and a month after, and Kodak Black’s name— It, he, he just showed up in one of the photographs.
NEIL: And you saw that on Divs’ instagram?
RONDA: I think it was Div’s instagram.
NEIL/VO: I asked Ronda what evidence she had that Elaine was going to come forward now and she reference a video on the streaming app Periscope.
RONDA: They said it happened a while ago, but for some reason she put it on Periscope, like, right before she went missing. I don’t what they— what it is they’re not telling me. Cause one of them wanted to tell me, the brown-haired one, like, she wanted to tell me everything, the other one wouldn’t let her.
NEIL/VO: I showed Ronda the pictures Rosemarie had given to me so she could identify the two friends, and she identified them as Kristin and Danielle. I also asked her if she knew why Divine’s mother was yelling for Daisy, and she had no idea. So now, I needed to talk to all three of these friends, Danielle, Kristin, and Daisy.
RONDA: Smoke those friends out, somebody knows something. One of those friends knows something.
NEIL/VO: The friend I was most curious about was Daisy. Why was Divine’s mother looking for her, and what does she know about the events leading up to Elaine’s disappearance? The only problem was that we weren’t sure how to best get in touch with her. Fortunately, there are cases when having a famous musician on your investigative team comes in handy.
MIKE: I tweeted something about Elaine and then Daisy re-tweeted it, like she’s paying attention, you know, to what we’re saying. And, so, I figured if she re-tweeted my tweet that she’d be receptive to me reaching out to her. So, I said, “Hey Daisy, thank you for re-tweeting the post about Elaine.” And then I sent her a screenshot of this concert that we were playing at the Staple Center a few days later and it was, like, Skrillex and Zedd and Halsey and Macklemore and Imagine Dragons and all these artists. And then I wrote, “I’m playing this concert at the Staple Center on Monday, wanna come hang?” And she wrote, “Thank you for sharing. Elaine’s my best friend,” and then she wrote, “Yeah, sounds like fun.” So, we exchanged numbers, and I just wrote, all good, we’ll text you so it’ll be easier for you to find me backstage after the show.
NEIL: That’s amazing.
NEIL/VO: We all met at Mike Einziger and Ann Marie’s house before the show and discussed the plan for the night
ANN MARIE: We were strategizing about how Mike’s meeting Daisy tonight.
NEIL/VO: The goal was just to build a relationship with Daisy so we could get honest answers to our questions that might not be shared in a police or private investigator interrogation. If Ronda Hampton is right, and the friends are hiding something, this may be our best chance to build trust and get the truth. Here’s Ann Marie.
ANN MARIE: It’s a really simple plan, we’re going to let her talk, let her be organic, no probing. Mike will brief the band that, like, Daisy’s coming, not to talk at all about the case, cause I think they know about it.
NEIL: Do they know about it?
MIKE: They know. But I don’t want any of them to be like, “Hey, what’s up with that, like, murder case?” Right, like, they know, they know— they know about the case, but they don’t know that, like, they don’t know any specific details about it.
ANN MARIE: And then, um, we also mention how important it is for, if they organically do talk about the case for Mike not to, like, accidentally reveal there’s details.
MIKE: I— I can act cool.
ANN MARIE: So then, thats all that we have for the Daisy strategy, it’s really basic, we don’t want to get too (illegible) up.
[AUDIO OF THE CONCERT]
NEIL/VO: Mike called on his way home from the concert and said that he had indeed met Daisy and she agreed to speak with us candidly about Elaine.
MIKE: —and they were like, they were super excited about the concert, they seemed super happy to be there. They’ll definite— they’ll totally talk to us.
NEIL/VO: While waiting to meet with Daisy, I called Jayden to figure out if I needed to look into Kodak Black also. The name appeared to come completely out of the blue and it seemed that this connection was based more on his arrest record than on actual fact.
JAYDEN: We— We looked into him because there was some incidental, you know, link to, kind of, that group and what was going on. Um, we actually spoke with his attorney, um, and, he stated that he talked to Kodak and actually showed him a picture of Elaine and you know, from what he said Kodak said that he’s never met Elaine, never seen Elaine, and that he was in fact not in Los Angeles on January 27 or the 28. Um, and we actually confirmed that because he did have a— ah, he had a concert on January 28 in, ah, Richmond Virginia.
NEIL: Okay, great, thanks. I’m gonna chase down all the rest of the stuff that you mentioned, uh, and also that Ronda Hampton mentioned.
JAYDEN: For sure, yeah, no problem. And, uh, let me know.
NEIL/VO: Two days after Mike’s concert, Daisy nervously arrived at his house with her boyfriend.
MIKE: That’s Neil.
DAISY: I’m Daisy.
NEIL: Hey, good to meet you—
NEIL/VO: And though I expected to meet someone who was nonchalant about Elaine, the person I met instead was a friend who cared very much about Elaine. This is Daisy.
DAISY: I hadn’t talked to her for like 2 months before this even happens, and then she goes missing, this is crazy. She just said she was getting her life together and, she’ll talk to me soon.
NEIL/VO: I asked Daisy if she was comfortable speaking with us about everything, even things that might make her or Elaine look bad or possibly be illegal.
DAISY: I’m like, really okay speaking about everything, just like the most probably, with, like, talking about the boyfriend. Just ’cause, I don’t pers— I’ve never personally met him, I don’t even know what he looks like, and I just don’t want him to, like— He was asking for me, and I think that’s just really weird for him to be asking for me. I never met him, like, I never even knew what he looked like until recent.
NEIL: And you didn’t, like— You weren’t in touch with Div at all?
DAISY: No. The only time I had like a conversation with him was when it happened. I called him and he knew who I was, and I was like, “Okay, well I’m just calling you to like, trying to ask you what happened.” He said they went to the movies and he Ubered them there, so she doesn’t have to drive, they came back and they fell asleep or something like that. And she got up at 4 in the morning. He told me 4, he was very sure that it was 4 in the morning.
DAISY: And he said, she woke up at 4 in the morning, and he’s like, I never seen anybody change so fast in my life. And, um, she got up and left.
NEIL/VO: It’s worth remembering that according to the security camera footage outside of the compere’s house, Elaine left just after 6 AM.
DAISY: She seemed very upset over something, and I was like, okay, upset about what? You didn’t ask her? And he was just like, “I dunno, you know, everything that’s going on in her house,” but, um, yeah.
NEIL: And do you believe what Div’s saying?
DAISY: I don’t really believe it, just because I don’t know who he is, I never met him, so I don’t really know, like, how he is, you know? Why do you go to the search party and ask for me and don’t even help to look for Elaine? He didn’t even help look for her. All he went is to go ask for me and that was it. And then they said Daisy’s not here and he drove off.
NEIL/VO: I asked Daisy why she thought Divine and his family were looking for her so intently.
DAISY: I dunno, it’s just weird. Like, what do you want? Why are you looking for me? Like, you know.
NEIL: It’s— So, so what do you think?
DAISY: I don’t know, it just doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, like, that’s literally the only thing that I can think of. She’s not the type to be taken, she’s just, so like, aware of everything. If a car’s following her, she’ll notice it. She’s just, like, not the type, for like, that to happen to her at all.
NEIL: Her and Div had broken up beforehand, right?
NEIL: So, why was she going back to Div’s—
DAISY: You see, I don’t know.
NEIL: —after they broke up?
NEIL/VO: Since Daisy was at the concert where Elaine was assaulted, I asked her about that night.
DAISY: Went to this concert, and then, this was at the Observatory in Orange County. It was bad. We got to the show and then we met up with Michael.
NEIL/VO: Michael is the road manager of the rapper Father, who headlined the concert that night, which also featured Playboi Carti and other artists.
DAISY: And we were at the, um, the merch table, and I was— it was me and my other friend Vibiana, and we were like hanging out there, and Elaine was with us, too. Playboi Carti came up to the table. At the time I had no idea who he was—
NEIL: Right, right.
DAISY: —so, I was like, who are you? He comes up to me, and I don’t even know how he knew I had weed, but he was like, “Let me buy some weed off of you.” And I was like, who are you, no, this is like mine, you know, I’m not gonna sell you my weed. And he was like, “C’mon, come with me,” and I was like, um, I’ll smoke with you if you want, but, like, I’m not gonna sell you my weed. Then this is how we got to the back. And then I went to the back with Playboi Carti and then, like, I smoked, and instead of, like, smoking with him he took my weed, so I was like, okay, I’m just gonna leave, I don’t wanna be here. I kinda just wanna go see the show, and she wanted to stay there. And, and she was cool with Michael and stuff, and I was like, okay, that’s fine, and I was like, I’m gonna go, I’ll be back. And then, um, and then I left, and then I didn’t see her the whole concert. At all. Until to the end. Until the end, I was like, okay, like, where’s Elaine so, like looking for her, and she finally— she like came to me. And then, I thought at the time, I thought she was just really drunk. So then, like, one of her friends like Ubered us from there, and like dropped everybody off. She told me, like, that she feels like maybe she had, like, hooked up with somebody, like when she was like really drunk, and like, in the restroom or something. But, we, we don’t know who. Yeah, we don’t know who. When I asked like, Michael, cause I was like, what did she like did she do any drugs or anything, like why was she so fucked up? And then he was like, “She was doing Xanny—”
NEIL/VO: Daisy went on to explain that she was told Elaine was doing Xanax with an artist backstage, which when combined with alcohol put her in a condition where she was not fully able to recall what happened, let alone give consent. A year later, as Elaine began to realize what had happened at the concert, she began cutting off friends who were with her that night, including Daisy.
DAISY: Elaine wasn’t talking to me for like a month and a half, like two months, and then, I dunno, my friend, um, Elizabeth, and I was talking to her and was like, have you talked to Elaine? Cause I haven’t talked to her and I’m kinda getting a little worried. And it’s like, she’s like, “No, like me too, like, she’s not talking to me either, like, I don’t know what’s wrong, maybe she’s mad at me. And yeah, I text her everyday, like, are you okay?” and that’s when she told me about the tweets. She was telling me that she was posting like, provocative pictures as well like on there, and that’s not Elaine, she doesn’t do that. Elizabeth says something about, “You know who you are, you know what you did.” I feel like she recently found out. I feel like those two months that she didn’t talk to me, I think that’s when she found out. I’m pretty sure she knows something, cause Michael told me, when I called Michael, he said that Elaine contacted him about that night. Recently, like, in January before she went missing, and she was asking him more questions, like, you know, anything that happened or stuff like that, like. She was just a lot more curious about it, and I don’t know why. That night was so bad, thats literally like the worst ever. Like, I wasn’t there, you know, I would never let her do something like that.
NEIL/VO: I ask if there was anyone Elaine was still close to and Daisy mentions one of Elaine’s high school friends.
DAISY: In the months that I wasn’t talking to her? She was talking to— Elaine was talking to Sadie, but she wasn’t talking to me. Sadie saw her, like, right before she went to Div’s at 7 PM. Div told me that she got to his place at, like 8 or something like that. Sadie went to Elaine’s house to pick up like a curler, or something like that. She said that Elaine just went in and got it, and gave it to her and said nothing and just she drove off. Like, Sadie knows stuff. Like, that she didn’t want to tell me. I even pretended, I was like, oh yeah, Elaine told me, to try and see if she’ll tell me, but— I dunno, I think she— she knows stuff, but I just don’t know. Just, maybe she doesn’t want to say because Elaine probably told her like not to say anything, but like, at this point you kinda have to talk.
NEIL/VO: What’s unbelievable to me is that Elaine has been missing for 2 months and the people who care about her aren’t effectively communicating to find out what happened. It seems like everyone is hiding secrets about her. Shortly after the Father / Playboi Carti show, Daisy was with Elaine at another concert at the Observatory by the artist Xavier Wulf and something odd happened in the parking lot.
DAISY: So we all went to the parking lot and then this, this like Asian guy, I have no idea what his name is, but this Asian guy, like, whispers in her ear, saying like, um, it’s like so gross, but he was like, “Give me top,” or something, or something like that. And we were like, what? What are you talking about, who the hell are you? And then I think he was like at the show, um, and he like remembers her from the show. See him a lot, he’s like a photographer or something, but I don’t know his name. But I always see him at like a lot of shows, I see him on— I’ve seen him at Father once, I’ve seen him at Playboi Carti shows, I’ve seen him at Xavier shows, I’ve seen him everywhere. But I just don’t know his name at all. Maybe he saw something, I dunno—
NEIL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DAISY: —maybe he knows what happened that day. Cause I, yeah, he did whisper in her ear and I was like, what are you talking, that’s so weird. But it was creepy.
NEIL/VO: This person that Daisy is talking about may not only know what happened to Elaine, but he may have been backstage at the Observatory that night. I needed to find out who he was.
NEIL/VO: Before Daisy left, I asked her for the number of Father’s road manager, Michael. Here’s Michael.
MICHAEL: Um, ah, I met Elaine about 2 years ago, I was a tour managing for an act that she was a fan of. He, ah, he tweeted out, like, “Who’s got Xans in LA,” or like, Xanax, and she was one of the people that responded to the tweet.
NEIL/VO: Just to clarify, according to Daisy, Elaine was definitely not a drug dealer, she just wanted to meet the artist and since she had a hook up for Xanax, she found a way to make it happen.
MICHAEL: —they exchanged infos, they came to our Air B&B, and uh— We were in Pasadena at the time. She came through, she sold him the Xans, she ended up being cool, so we put her on the guest list.
NEIL: Is there any chance at all that Divine— that Divine was there that night?
MICHAEL: I’m not sure to say that he wasn’t at the show or not, and I came across his, ah, Instagram, just ’cause I’ve kind of been obsessed with this case, too, past couple months. This guy is huge Ian Connor fan, huge Playboi Carti fan. Like, really follows, like, their fan pages, their regular pages, like a real ASAP kinda guy. So, I have— you know, I have hella theories in my head about what happened to Elaine.
NEIL/VO: As far as what happened to Elaine at the concert, Michael says that he knows nothing about this. However, about a month before Elaine’s disappearance, he received an unusual phone call from her.
MICHAEL: Fast forward to this past December, ah, December 2016, so she texted me says, “You know, Mike, I gotta talk to you about something serious, call me.” And, I call her and she asks me, like, “You know, a lot of people have been coming up to me saying, you know, I mighta possibly gotten like, assaulted, or raped, or something, at the show, ah, 2 years ago, and I know you don’t drink or smoke at shows, so. Um I just wonder if you, you know, remembered anything that would be like that?” I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Observatory in Santa Ana, but backstage at the Observatory in Santa Ana is huge. Like, several rooms. Usually venues have like one or two green rooms, like one or two private bathrooms, but that shits huge, so. I— I told her I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened, but at the same time I couldn’t say that it happened. I feel like the possibilities are endless. I just asked her like, you know, if this is happened so long ago, like, why are you just calling me about it now, like, when everyone’s memory is so fuzzy. And she just said, like, “I can’t take it anymore, I try to block it out, like, I try to forget about it. I don’t remember what happened, but at this point I gotta search for answers. It’s been tough lately, like, with school and work and all types of shit, like, I just really haven’t been myself, like.” She used to like, like get a little artsy shit, like drawing and shit, she says she hasn’t been on that shit, just cause like, how heavy the situation has been weighing on her. She’s trying to block it out but she like literally couldn’t because it kept coming up over, you know, whether it be weeks or months or whatever, even years. It was just something that kept reemerging. Two weeks after that, so maybe three weeks, is when Daisy added me on Instagram and I saw that her picture was like, you know, help me find my missing friend Elaine.
NEIL: Do you know any of the people who came up to her and said stuff? Cause, like, if I could somehow find those people.
MICHAEL: No, I don’t. Um, she had told me a name, she asked me if I knew him, and I didn’t, but. Um, she had mentioned a specific name.
MICHAEL: But man, it’d be impossible for me to recall right now.
NEIL: Shit, man, Was it like a stage kinda name or just a person’s name?
MICHAEL: No, it was a guy’s name. And he was involved with Xavier Wulf.
NEIL: Oh, dude! Was it an Asian dude?
NEIL: Fuck. Oh, shit, no—
NEIL: —cause, no, Daisy mentioned. It was an Asian dude, huh?
MICHAEL: Yes. Yeah, it was an Asian dude, somehow like affiliated with Xavier Wulf.
NEIL/VO: After hearing Michael’s first hand account I had enough clues to search hashtags and followers on Instagram to try to find Asian male who was at the concert where Elaine was assaulted, and was also associated with the rapper Xavier Wulf. And sure enough, I eventually found an account under the name Kenny Chosen of an asian male who was at the concert and had photos hanging out with Xavier Wulf and Playboi Carti, so I immediately called Elaine’s friend Daisy.
NEIL: Oh, hey.
DAISY: Hey. Sorry, my phone was charging.
NEIL/VO: I wanted to confirm that this was indeed the person who came up to Elaine talking about the assault.
NEIL: I’m gonna send you a photo and see if you see if this looks like him to you.
NEIL: Hold on, I’m gonna text it to you right now. Let’s see if this is the guy, hold on.
DAISY: Oh yeah. That’s him.
NEIL: No way, really? This is definitely the guy who came up to Elaine and said the weird stuff?
DAISY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was the guy that came up to Elaine. We didn’t even know him, never hung out with him, never interacted with him, he was just there.
NEIL/VO: We had our man. Finally, we might be able to find out what happened to Elaine at that concert and if there’s any connection between that and her disappearance. I messaged Kenny Chosen on Instagram and eventually he responded with his phone number. So, I called him.
NEIL: Hey, uh, Kenny? Kenny?
KENNY: Hey, what up? How you doing?
NEIL: Hey. So, yeah, I’m calling kinda about a strange story that you might not even know about, but, ah, you might actually be able to help with it?
NEIL: There was a Playboi Carti / father show in LA at like the Observatory or something? Were you backstage at the show?
KENNY: Oh yeah, I was backstage.
NEIL: Do you remember there was like an Asian girl named Elaine Park? And she was like drinking, taking Xanax, and like a little fucked up?
KENNY: Oi, oi, I’m doing a phone interview—
NEIL/VO: Kenny steps away from the phone, then returns.
KENNY: I remember, I remember that sir.
NEIL/VO: Thank you for listening to this episode. I have a few important announcements. This is still an active investigation so if you have any information regarding the disappearance of Elaine Park, or any of the parties that have been mentioned here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us anonymously at 213-204-2073. As mentioned in this podcast we’ve been able to add to the reward and it currently stands at $140,000 for any information leading directly to Elaine parks’ whereabouts. We’ve posted supplemental material related to this investigation on our social media accounts @livedielapod.