NEIL/VO: The following podcast is a documentary of real events that happened between 2017 and the present day. They chronicle our real life experiences as we were swept into a missing person’s case in our community, and information often evolves over the course of multiple episodes. The police have not named any suspects nor have we. All the facts and theories that we came across in our investigation are being presented to you over the course of these episodes so that you can join us in this search for justice for Elaine Park.
[LOTS OF BACKGROUND NOISE AND CROSSTALK]
MALE VOICE/(FINNEAS EILISH): I think the reason we were so aware of it is because–
BILLIE EILISH: They were all so–
FINNEAS EILISH: — [inaudable] about it–
NEIL: Who was?
BILLIE EILISH: [inaudible]
FINNEAS EILISH: The dance company. Like, we were just involved in Facebook with like, people who had been in the dance company. Really active–
NEIL: Yeah, ’cause it’s a mother, a dance mother, who started the Facebook page for the mom.
NEIL/VO: Around this time in the investigation of Elaine Park’s disappearance I was at a dinner. I was sitting across from a brother and a sister. His name was Finneas. Her name: Billie Eilish. Today she’s a number one recording artist. Back then, she was just starting her career. Billie and Finneas were telling me that they’d recorded a song for a performance by dance troupe that they belonged to near Glendale. They’d put it on SoundCloud and woke up the very next day to discover it had over a thousand listens, and climbing. Now, because of this fortunate accident they were signed to a major label. I’m sharing this story because I recognized the name of the dance group. It was the same one Elaine Park belonged to. I asked them if they knew her, and it turns out they knew all about Elaine’s disappearance.
NEIL: I can’t believe it’s the same person from the dance, so– let, let me write down your number ’cause I might call and see– Are you still, are you still in the dance group?
BILLIE EILISH: I, I was in the company for a long–
NEIL: You’re in the company–
BILLIE EILISH: –time. Then I got injured recently–
NEIL: Oh shit.
BILLIE EILISH: –but I’m still close with my [inaudible] —
NEIL/VO: I asked them if they had any thoughts about Elaine’s disappearance, and this is what they had to share.
BILLIE EILISH: Well, just like when I saw it they– the mom, she acted so suspicious to me, just because she kinda– at one point she was like, “Honey, if you see this I, I just wanna know that, like, I hope you feel safe to come home. I really wanna mend our relationship–“
FINNEAS EILISH: Almost was her intimating, like, that the daughter had run away, that was like —
BILLIE EILISH: Yeah, that’s what it felt like–
FINNEAS EILISH: Like they didn’t leave on good terms.
NEIL: There’s a lot of people lying, what’s motivation.
BILLIE EILISH: Some shit going on.
Episode 6, Chapter 11: UNWANTED
SUSAN: …I was going to send you the PDF version–
NEIL: I think this is good ’cause I was gonna hand these out at Coachella whenever do something like attends– attends Co– Coachella every year, add something like that to the flyer.
SUSAN: You know–
NEIL/VO: I’m on my way to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, an event that Elaine Park, who went missing some two and a half months earlier, loved attending. And I’ve stopped by her mother Susan’s house to get photos of Elaine so I can make up flyers to distribute to attendees. If Elaine is voluntarily missing this is definitely a place she would be.
NEIL: And maybe we could take a picture of her at Coachella, would be good to put on the, on the–
SUSAN: –and she has this, you know–
NEIL/VO: Susan’s friend Rosemarie is also at the house, and as we go to look for photos I enter Elaine Park’s room for the first time. It’s an uncomfortable experience now that I know about the “DIE! DIE! DIE!” texts and the insurance money, but I want to keep an open mind. I look around and I notice a bed against the wall, a closet to my left, a desk on the right, a dresser across from me, and I think about the 20-year old who once lived in this room.
NEIL/VO: When Mike, Ingrid, and Ann Marie visited for the first time, they mentioned that Susan had shown them an erotic modeling card in Elaine’s backpack that seemed to be staged. This time Susan doesn’t mention the card. Instead, she walks to Elaine’s dresser–
SUSAN: –there was something, that kinky kind of stuff that I noticed uh, for the uh, last four, five months, that I noticed I wasn’t happy with. She would wear that. You want me to show it to you?
NEIL/VO: –and begins to open Elaine’s underwear drawer to show me her lingerie and undergarments. Uncomfortable, I attempt to stop her.
NEIL: I– I don’t need to see her– I don’t need to see her personal garments.
SUSAN: No, it’s like a leather with– kinky stuff. I would never even touch it or, so–
NEIL: Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to show me that.
SUSAN: (Sotto voce) No, the reason why I mention that is at one point they mention about if she’s doing prostitution.
NEIL/VO: It seems like such a strange thing for a mother to imply, that her daughter was a sex worker, without any actual knowledge about it. And at this point I’ve been thoroughly through Elaine’s phone and computer, and I’ve seen nothing even remotely alluding to this.
As for the modeling card, I actually looked into it, and according to Elaine’s friends someone gave it to her when she was working at the restaurant, Dave & Buster’s. She showed it to multiple friends and saved it because she thought it was funny, not because she was interested in pursuing it, and the number doesn’t appear on her phone records. Susan then points out a whiteboard behind the door to the room, where she’s written a note for Elaine in blue marker.
SUSAN: This was written, like, you know, the day before the car was found. And up ’til the, the, February 1st, I felt that she’s gonna be home.
NEIL/VO: It reads, in its entirety:
As soon as you decide to come home and you are at home, please let me know at your earliest. I am sooooo worried.
NEIL/VO: “So” written with five “o’s”
I do love you,
NEIL/VO: And then at the bottom it’s dated February 1st, 2017, which is one day before Elaine’s car was found, as Susan noted, and four days after she went missing.
SUSAN: I felt that she’s gonna be gone for a couple days —
SUSAN: –I felt that she was gonna be home, because first thing I did was I checked and see, um, she normally likes to take that bag when she goes away–
SUSAN: So, that was missing. Her makeup was missing. Shoes are missing, um, so I say, okay maybe she’s gone for few days or something.
NEIL/VO: When I first came over to Susan’s house for the Coachella flyers I didn’t intend on an intensive inspection of Elaine’s room. But the longer I stood there, the more unusual things began to seem to me.
SUSAN: I cleaned everything–
SUSAN: –The only thing I didn’t clean is that box of documents that I gave to, uh, Ingrid, but Ingrid–
SUSAN: –gave it to Jayden.
NEIL: And there’s nothing in her bag that all [inaudible] stuff?
SUSAN: Those are all clean–
SUSAN: –but, uh…
NEIL/VO: I asked Susan if there was any way to inspect Elaine’s car, the one that was found abandoned on the side of PCH.
SUSAN: Half of her shoes were in the car when we, they returned the vehicle–
NEIL/VO: I promised not to touch or disturb anything,. However, she tells me that the car has also been emptied and cleaned–
SUSAN: They sub-leased it–
NEIL/VO: –and leased to someone else.
NEIL: Such a shame. Unless they haven’t leased it, yet?
SUSAN: No. I asked him and her and her dad said, um, it’s– it’s just too late.
NEIL/VO: I was curious about Elaine’s father, Ray, and how involved he’d been in the search for her.
NEIL: So her dad just hasn’t, like, said– anything, huh? He hasn’t reacted any emotional way?
SUSAN: Oh, he has. The– the– the day that the vehicle was found, February 2nd, is his birthday. I informed him the vehicle was found, and he was just sobbing and tearing, and he said that, “You know, she wanted some money from me to help out with payment and I just didn’t have the money to give to her.” And he felt guilt. More than anything between him and me is that she never got the normal lifestyle. She never got the love, you know, because of the divorce, this, all this happened, the, this all this things, emotional things happening.
NEIL/VO: The following is Susan’s account of Elaine’s early years, her relationship with her father, and other previously undisclosed details. This is from a separate interview around the same time, but I’m going to insert it here, because this information will become important.
SUSAN: I had a very tough marriage. We got divorced, uh, 2008. Several times, even during the divorce, he would say, “Hey,” you know, “I’m willing to sign papers that said, ‘I don’t need to see– I, I, I won’t see the kids anymore.'” You know, he was willing to sign those kind of documents. He didn’t want anything to do with that. In addition to that, I couldn’t love her. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t love her the way a traditional American would. It came to a point where, um, I asked, “Can you take Elaine, please? If we live together one of us is going to get hurt, because we’re just not getting along.”
She never got the love from anyone. Her grandma didn’t love her, her brother doesn’t love her, her dad doesn’t love her– as a child should be loved.
NEIL/VO: When I hear Susan speak I feel so bad for Elaine, because I think one of the worst things a child can experience emotionally is to feel unwanted by their own parents. Normally in these podcasts one protects the victim, and tries to avoid pointing out any negative behavior. But at this point I’ve gone through all of Elaine’s emails, photos, texts. More than anyone would want a stranger seeing, and there’s nothing to protect Elaine from. She’s really a great, kind, positive person – in every respect – so to hear her mother talking about her like this breaks my heart. I think this was the moment I fully committed to this case.
I asked Susan about the last time she saw Elaine. She launched into a sort of backstory about Elaine’s car problems.
NEIL: But, what was that– that last time you saw her? That last interaction with her?
SUSAN: It– it– it wasn’t really an interaction. Um, on Thursday– the 26th, January 26th. Thursday, 3:30 in the morning I get a call:
- “I’m out of gas. Can you come pick me up?”
- “Where are you?”
She pings me the location, so I went there. The car battery died, uh, on top of no gas, in middle of the bridge on 118 Freeway. And, uh, we jumped the car, we got a two-gallon gas, emergency gas, so everything okay, we came home.
SUSAN: That morning, Thursday morning at 10 o’clock, um, I saw her in the living room with the little skimpy lin– lingerie, you know, in the living room resting. And my friend and I, we– he was helping me doing some house project–
NEIL/VO: By friend, Susan’s referring to her boyfriend, Jeff Hayn.
SUSAN: –and then, uh, when we walked in she hurry up and jumped in, um, hide to the dining room area. And we had to go through the back gate. And then when, when we come back she went into her room. So that’s last time I saw her.
NEIL: Right. And, and, that was the day– night– day she saw Div later?
SUSAN: That next night. So, I wouldn’t know what happened that night–
NEIL: Right, right. Got it–
SUSAN: Everything just happened without me being aware.
NEIL: Right, so you went to your friend’s house–
NEIL: –and did you say, ho– did you knock on the door and say, “Hey, goodbye, I’m taking off,” or you just go– you guys kind of just took off?
SUSAN: Oh, we didn’t– we don’t talk.
NEIL: You don’t really–
SUSAN: She lives her own life, I live my own life in the same roof. Um, she doesn’t tell me where she goes. Whenever I ask, “It’s none of your business.” She has this terrible attitude. I learned to accept leaving her alone. Or else we’ll fight all the time.
NEIL: Yeah, yeah.
NEIL/VO: Since Susan wasn’t in touch with Elaine much, and they led separate lives, I was curious about what even made her aware in the first place that Elaine was missing.
NEIL: Yeah, so how’d you start to realize [inaudible]
SUSAN: Um, we had an agreement. She wanted to borrow some money, and I always QuickPay her through the phone.
SUSAN: So she said, you know, “Okay, I need $20. I will pay you back ’cause my dad’s going to give me spending money,” um, that Friday. So, actually we did text Friday morning. So I te– I send her $20 and then I say:
- “Well when are– when do you think your dad’s gonna give you spending money?”
- “Um, I think around six-o’clock. I’ll give it to you at six-o’clock.”
So, six o’clock comes, seven o’clock comes, she doesn’t– she’s pretty good about– her– because I trained her to be good about it–
NEIL: Right, right, right.
SUSAN: –she’s pretty good about it — and she knows she needs to pay me back. So, at 7 o’clock she doesn’t-– I text her as a reminder. She doesn’t call me back, or reply. Then two hours later she texts me back– that was on Friday the 27th at 9 o’clock, or something– she texts me back:
- “Give me until later tonight.”
Those were her exact words. So I said, “Okay.” Then Saturday at 10:41 — she didn’t come home that I was — I remember I stayed home that night, she didn’t come home the next morning— oh wait, was I home? I don’t remember.
NEIL/VO: Susan seems to remember what she did every night leading up to Elaine’s disappearance, but doesn’t remember what she did – or where she was – on the actual night of Elaine’s disappearance.
SUSAN: But, 10:40, I text her as a reminder. She didn’t reply back, so I called her, and it rang twice, then it shut to– directly to voice message. Then ever since, the phone wasn’t working. And it was off constantly. And then I said, um, “Ah, that’s strange, you know?” So, I kind of, you know, sent her, [nagging sounds] you know,
- “Why didn’t you keep your word, da da da.”
Um, but still she didn’t reply back. She would– normally would. So oh, something is wrong, what’s going on? Um, so I immediately went to her room and see if there was anything’s missing, or she packed or went somewhere and I looked and uh, she– her baby blue bag was missing, all her makeup was missing. Um, and it looked like she’s planned to go somewhere for few days.
SUSAN: So I’m thinking, “oh, maybe she’s just when–” She does that–
SUSAN: –few times. Um, goes off without telling me, two or three days and, come– appears. So I thought it would be the same situation. Um, but because she didn’t reply back on the money she was supposed to pay me back, that was a trigger right then and there. And I’m thinking, “Something is not right. Why is her phone off?”
So, I emailed her, I Facebook her, um, uh, and then she still didn’t reply back. So, Sunday comes and I’m saying to my friend, you know, “Something is wrong. You know, I want to do a missing person’s report.” Um, and that’s how everything started.
When I called Sunday, first thing the police asked me is ‘How old is she?’ and I said, “Twenty.” And it would be under “voluntary missing.”
NEIL: Do you have the texts that you sent her– at–
SUSAN: I only have it in the uh, uh phone record– Verizon record.
NEIL: Oh, you don’t have it on your phone?
SUSAN: No, I don’t have it on my phone. I have a problem with– whenever I take care of something–
SUSAN: I wanna– I delete it.
NEIL: Oh, you’re OCD– You’re OCD so you delete everything.
SUSAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
NEIL: Yeah, on the [inaudible] —
SUSAN: I only keep the ones–
NEIL: Oh, no. That you haven’t answered.
SUSAN: Well, honestly, with our group and–
SUSAN: –Jayden and Rosemary [sic] —
SUSAN: –are only ones I do not delete. But any others, like, I don’t even, oh, my son, like, I only keep the ones I have to follow up.
SUSAN: I don’t like to, “Oh, what was that, again? What was that again.”
SUSAN: Yeah, I don’t like to keep– ’cause it’s just clutter for me–
NEIL/VO: As we’re talking about Susan deleting messages when she gets a response, I realize that she just said Elaine never responded, so why would she have deleted those messages? I asked her about it.
SUSAN: Yeah, this one, you cannot lock it. It– I have to be careful–
NEIL: Wait, wait, what’s that? Wait, wait–
SUSAN: Not the iPhone. I used to have Samsung. You lock the message that you wanna follow up. You lock it, so it doesn’t delete. So that’s how I accidentally deleted Elaine’s, ah, texts.
NEIL/VO: At this point I’ve studied Susan’s texts to Elaine pretty thoroughly, and over two months before Elaine even disappeared she’d asked Elaine specifically, “Is it possible to lock messages in the iPhone?” And Elaine had said, “No.”
SUSAN: Actually, the give me, uh, give me until tonight, I think I have, may have a screenshot of that.
ROSEMARIE: Can you check– sometimes your iMessage’ll keep it in the computer. Sometimes– it’s sometimes. Not all the time, but–
SUSAN: Um-hm, um, hm–
ROSEMARIE: –but sometimes.
SUSAN: Yeah. I don’t even know if I set up an iCloud backup or nothing. I used to have Samsung, and this is new to me.
NEIL/VO: To be accurate, according to her texts to Elaine, Susan switched to an iPhone on November 23rd, over two months before Elaine went missing, and almost five months prior to the date of this conversation. In addition, unfortunately Susan was not able to find a screenshot of her last text with Elaine, which makes finding a way to get into Elaine’s now disabled iPhone all the more important.
I had hoped that maybe after speaking more with Susan I’d see that the “DIE! DIE! DIE!” texts and the fighting over the insurance money were another dead end. But her behavior is so odd, and there are so many apparent contradictions, I feel like I’m in a position of pursuing a direction in this investigation that feels really uncomfortable.
Chapter 12: I THINK SHE’S IN HEAVEN
NEIL/VO: Back at Susan’s house, I leave with a photo of Elaine at Coachella to scan into a new flyer, and I grab a couple of the old flyers for reference.
NEIL: All right. I’m going to get this to Jeff. Thank you so much–
SUSAN: –Yeah, okay, thank you.
NEIL: –uh, so I’m going to– I should take a few of these just in case.
SUSAN: You can take much– much as you want.
NEIL: All right, I’ll take these just in case and–
SUSAN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah–
NEIL: –I’ll bring them back in [inaudible]
SUSAN: –I gave to all the people I need to give to–
NEIL/VO: I’m curious if Susan’s friend Rosemarie has any suspicions. She’s been with Susan since almost the beginning of this, so on the way out I asked if she had some time to talk.
ROSEMARIE: My house [inaudible]–
NEIL: Okay, whatever you think is good. What’s easiest for you?
ROSEMARIE: [Speaks Klingon]
NEIL/VO: She agreed, and invited me back to her house. On the way there I called the rest of the Malibu team to fill them in on my visit to Susan’s–
NEIL: Hey, man, I just left, uh, Susan’s house–
NEIL/VO: –but before I can share the details, Mike cuts me off.
MIKE: I’ve got some crazy stuff to share with you too, man. So, Incubus has a, a charity organization called the Make Yourself Foundation. There’s a guy named Brandon who runs the foundation. He got a– a phone call from what seems like Susan, um, and she was trying to pressure him into making a– a donation directly into the GoFundMe account.
NEIL/VO: The GoFundMe page is a fundraising account that Rosemarie set up for Susan to help her with the expenses of finding Elaine.
MIKE: Somehow Susan must’ve gotten his number, and called him up and started pressuring him, saying, like, “You need to make it now. Here’s where it needs to go,” etc. And Brandon was like, “Who are you?” And when he started asking questions about who the person was, um, she hung up on him. Like, when he started asking questions. It’s just so strange, like–
NEIL: –That’s bizarre.
MIKE: Yeah. It’s, it’s just so weird, because I– I never connected Susan with Brandon, um, like she fig– she figured that out on her own. Totally weird.
NEIL: And I don’t know, I feel weird, like you don’t wanna suspect the mother. It’s hard to kind of put my head around it.
MIKE: I wish there was something that pointed us in a different direction, but there isn’t.
NEIL/VO: I park in front of Rosemarie’s house and enter. We sit on the couch and talk about the case.
NEIL: What’s your– like, if you had to put together your theory, what’s your theory?
ROSEMARIE: My theory?
ROSEMARIE: The– I act– I, I think that the, the– the family–
NEIL/VO: It soon becomes apparent that Rosemarie’s suspicions are focused on Divine Compere, Elaine’s ex-boyfriend and the last person she was seen with.
NEIL: Let’s just say there was no way it was the Compere’s, do you have a second theory?
ROSEMARIE: Hm. Jeff told me–
ROSEMARIE: -her boyfriend–
ROSEMARIE: –on the phone, that Elaine’s last words to her mom — it’s awful, it’s terrible — were “I’m– I will cause you pain.” Th- that’s what Jeff said that she–
ROSEMARIE: –and I just thought, “Whoa, what?” You know, I didn’t know the relationship was– I didn’t know she was into what she was into.
ROSEMARIE: But, uh, you know when Jeff said that it just kind of, whoo. It hits you hard.
NEIL/VO: Jeff, you may recall, is Susan’s boyfriend, and she mentioned that she was with Jeff the last time she saw Elaine, so I’m curious about him, and the story he said about Elaine insinuating that she’s going to hurt herself.
NEIL: What do you think of him? ‘Cause I haven’t met him. I wanna meet him–
ROSEMARIE: He’s a nice guy. You know his wife, um, passed away, er, she committed suicide.
ROSEMARIE: Evidently. Took p–, I think it was pills, may– six years? Five years?
ROSEMARIE: I’m not sure.
NEIL/VO: I asked Rosemarie how she first got in touch with Susan, and she explains she reached out to her through the dance studio. The one that Elaine, Billie Eilish, and Rosemarie’s daughter belong to.
ROSEMARIE: Uh, when I got a hold of her I said, “What do we do? What do I do for her?”
ROSEMARIE: And she goes, “Well, start a GoFundMe. Your, you know, do the Facebook thing.” Which we did, and–
NEIL: What was she doing, uh, otherwise up ’til that?
ROSEMARIE: What was Susan doing?
ROSEMARIE: She was doing nothing.
NEIL: So what– what–what do you make– what do you make of Susan?
ROSEMARIE: As far as Susan? Um, uh, her behavior is, it’s just very, it’s– it’s just very odd. She doesn’t cry — very much, at least from what I’ve seen. And you know, and then she’ll say it’s her Korean, uh, background. It’s her– the way that she is, but, I mean, everybody feels something. I mean, do– it’s your daughter. It– behavior is just– You watch ABC and she just said that I think she’s in– she look– she like, “I think she’s in heaven–” And, and after the interview I said, “You know, Susan, it’s really sad that you think this, because–“
ROSEMARIE: –there’s nothing that says she– she isn’t alive.”
NEIL/VO: Rosemarie is referring to an ABC interview with Susan that took place about three weeks after Elaine disappeared. And it does seem odd for a mother to give up hope that her daughter’s alive so quickly with no evidence. While I couldn’t find that exact clip, I did find a similar statement from an interview that Susan did with HLN, CNN’s Headline News Network.
[Soundbite of Susan Park on HLN]
“I don’t know what happened, but I do know there’s missing pieces that needs to be put together. I’ve recently hired a private investigator using GoFundMe, and we’re working on it. Um, I got a lead last night, someone said about Kilton Alleywtf, Calabasas area, so we were like desperately going out there last night with flashlights. Just small group of people, and– I just need to find her body. I don’t know what happened, uh, I don’t know.
NEIL/VO: What’s also unsettling is that Susan says she used the GoFundMe money to hire a private investigator, however the private investigator she’s working with, Jayden Brant, is supposedly working pro bono. I need to reconfirm this with Jayden. Rosemarie also tells me that early in the search for Elaine, Jayden told Susan that he was able to get Divine Compere’s phone records. Susan, despite having money in the GoFundMe account to cover this expense, didn’t want to pay for them, even though Divine was supposedly her number one suspect.
ROSEMARIE: I mean, she just didn’t want to give the money. ‘Cause she says, “What if I need it in the end?” I’m, I’m like, “Wha– it’s– it’s now. There’s no time important like right now.” I mean, with every tick of the clock–
NEIL: Yeah. It’s getting further away and harder to do.
ROSEMARIE: –it’s getting further away, and you know, it’s one step further away from finding her. But she says, “But what if I need this in the end?'” and I’m, “For what? A funeral?” And she said, “Yes.”
NEIL/VO: This also seems like the right time to ask Rosemarie about what Mike had told me. If Susan had indeed called Incubus’s charitable foundation and tried to get money from them.
ROSEMARIE: See, and the story that she tells me is that I’m at Venice Beach, I’m just , you know, trying to pass flyers out and then I saw a girl on the beach and went up and talked to her. Gave her a flyer. And then I met Brandon. In Venice. And he knows Michael. And he– he runs his, I–
ROSEMARIE: –I, I just– it’s so confusing.
NEIL/VO: This is very strange. According to Mike, Susan called his foundation and asked for a donation. According to Susan, she just happened to run into the person who runs the foundation in Venice by complete coincidence.
NEIL: What did she want you to do?
ROSEMARIE: She wanted me to call him, because she didn’t understand why he couldn’t give money. Foundations can only give to non-profits, and she wants to start a non-profit.
ROSEMARIE: I’m like, “We can’t just start a non-profit.”
NEIL/VO: If your child is missing, there are a lot of expenses involved in an investigation, and most families cannot afford this, so getting financial help and setting up a GoFundMe account is necessary. But there are two issues I’m having with all this. The first is: is she going about this in a deceitful way. And the second is: are these donations actually being used to find Elaine? So, to start with, I’ll need to speak to someone at Mike’s foundation to find out which story is true. There’s one other odd thing I want to ask Rosemarie about, and that’s the note that Susan wrote to Elaine on the whiteboard in her room. When I show Rosemarie a photograph of it, her first reaction is disbelief, especially when she notices that Susan dated the message.
ROSEMARIE: Oh, no way.
NEIL: What? What?
ROSEMARIE: The– February first? That just doesn’t make any sense. The car found the next day.
NEIL: Yeah, so what do you think of that?
ROSEMARIE: That’s sick– that’s weird. I don’t know, why is that– that’s– When you decide to come home? I mean, and so she doesn’t believe that she’s maybe hurt somewhere or– somebody hurt her, I mean, she– I don’t think she believes that. At all.
NEIL/VO: Rosemarie stares transfixed at my photograph of the note a bit longer, struggling with her thoughts and feelings.
ROSEMARIE: There’s something off in– in my–
ROSEMARIE: –in my feeling-
ROSEMARIE: –and I can’t put my finger on it.
ROSEMARIE: And I– maybe it’s because I don’t want to, to be honest with you.
ROSEMARIE: Maybe I don’t want to and I keep disallowing myself to go forward with any of the thoughts.
NEIL/VO: Rosemarie seems to really be confused about Susan’s behavior and I don’t want to tell her what we know yet. Either Susan is really not a great mother, as she’s admitted to us, or she knows more about her daughter’s disappearance than she’s telling us. So I thank Rosemarie for her time and begin the long drive to Coachella.
[ELAINE: “What the fuck is up Coachella?]
NEIL/VO: While I’m at Coachella we follow up on a few of the things that Rosemarie brought up. First, Mike emails Brandon Deroche, the director of Incubus’s charitable foundation. Here’s an actor reading Brandon’s response:
On Friday, April 7th at 3:12 PM I received a blocked ID phone call from an older woman with a Korean accent who instructed me to donate on behalf of the Make Yourself Foundation directly to the Find Elaine Park GoFundMe page. This was shortly after speaking to related parties and informing them that the foundation was not able to make a donation. She insisted I could donate via the GoFundMe page, then ended the call quickly after I continued to stress that this was not a possibility.
NEIL/VO: So it turns out that Mike’s story was correct, and Susan’s version of events — that she randomly bumped into him in Venice — was not true. Next, I get in touch with Jayden to see whether, as Susan told HLN News, she used the GoFundMe money to hire him or pay for him in any way.
JAYDEN: Yeah, Susan never paid me a d– anything. Like, I have the original contract that she signed where I was not being paid anything. She paid for some copies to be made early on.
NEIL/VO: One other odd thing happens around this time. Rosemarie texts me. She wants me to call her. The note I showed her that Susan wrote on Elaine’s whiteboard has been upsetting her.
ROSEMARIE: I mean, who writes a note like that? That’s not a note that you– sl– leave for your daughter. Who’s missing.
NEIL/VO: What strikes me as strange about Rosemarie’s reaction is that she’s Susan’s close friend. She’s been involved in the investigation for Elaine from almost the beginning. So how has she never seen this note before and why is it so distressing to her?
NEIL: Why hadn’t you seen it before?
ROSEMARIE: I’d never been to the house before. She never wanted me to come over, so I’d never seen– had that note on the whiteboard. It’s just the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I mean, it made my stomach flip. [whisper] Ah– God–
NEIL: And why, why– why was– why is that though?
ROSEMARIE: I think it was calculated. It wasn’t for Elaine, I think it was for us.
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 email@example.com, or you can call us anonymously at 213-204-2073. I’ve also posted several details about the case. You can find these on our social media accounts: @LiveDieLApod.
(Yes, Rosemarie Wheeler is fluent in Klingon. I will hear no argument.)