Segment from the February 20, 2017 podcast episode: “Sarah Dunsey’s rescue brings hope for others”
Found and transcribed by Redditor rolyat_au
NANCY GRACE: And right now I want to talk about Elaine Park. What do we know about this girl? She’s a 20-year old girl, and her mother is absolutely beside herself. A 20-year old Glendale girl. What do we know about Elaine, and why does this seem eerily similar?
ALAN DUKE: She is from Glendale, California, an LA suburb. She went missing after going to her boyfriend’s house in the Calabasas area, one weekend. And a couple of days later her family realized she was missing. They couldn’t find her, they couldn’t get her to answer her cell phone, so they went to the police in Glendale. Finally, what happened was her car was found parked on the Pacific Coast Highway, in Malibu, not that far from Calabasas.
NANCY: It was near Corral Canyon and in the car, I believe were her personal belongings, her phone and keys were still inside. She is a Korean-American girl. She is American, five-six, just a hundred and twenty-five pounds. She’s got long brown hair, and blonde on the tips. She’s a gorgeous young girl, and joining us now is her Mother.
NANCY: Everyone, with me is Susan Park. Ms. Park, again, I’m trying to understand how Elaine went missing, and why did it take a day or two before everyone realized she was gone?
SUSAN PARK: Well, Friday afternoon she asked me to borrow $20, and we have a little money thing going on where she asks me to QuickPay, I give her twenty dollars, I ask her to pay me back. You know, it’s like a- a managing money strategy I’m trying to teach her. So, she says, “Yeah, I’ll pay you back um, Friday night, after my dad gives me spending money.” So that’s fine, that’ll be around six o’clock. She text- she text me about that. And then, seven o’clock comes and she has not, you know, responded, or said anything at six. So at seven o’clock I text her about it and she said– at nine o’clock she text me and saying, “Oh, give me until later tonight.” So I said, “You know, keep your word.” You know, as a Mom I was, like, saying couple things. That was it.
Then, she didn’t come home. Then, on Saturday, 10:41, text her, she didn’t respond. So I called her, and two times it rang, and then after that the phone dead– phone died, it– then it went straight to voicemai– voice message. So I’m thinking, well that’s really strange, because she usually are good about paying me back and she has not responded or called or– and then the phone is dead.
The reason why I did not think of much, because in the past she would pack her bags and makeup and she would go away for a couple of days. Three– two, three days, or two days, and she just appears and we don’t have a traditional, or affectionate mother-daughter relationship. Uh, she’s 20-years old, we live in the same household, but she always wants me to leave her alone. And she just closes the door. She doesn’t want me to come into her room. Every time I try to pick up her hair, or sweep her hair she would say, “Why you sneaking around, don’t come to my room.” So I learned to leave her alone. So, I’m thinking, “Well, she’ll be back.”
And then Saturday evening I called her. The phone kept– it was off. All day it was off. So, now I’m starting to think something is wrong. Sunday afternoon, she still didn’t come home and her phone was still off all day, all night. So I’m thinking, “All right, so something definitely is wrong.” Sunday, I called the police department to look into filing missing persons report, but they say, “Oh, she’s twenty years old, so– we don’t take this critical, we take it as a volunteer, so why don’t– you know, ah– she– is anything missing?” I say yeah, “Her duffel bag is missing, her makeup is missing.” So they didn’t take it too seriously. So I’m thinking, “Hmm, well, lets give it one more night.”
So, Monday came and that’s when I finally say, “Okay, I have to do something, something is not right.”
NANCY: Have Elaine’s credit cards, her ATM, any of that been used since she went missing?
SUSAN: Her driver license were in the car. She doesn’t have a credit card, but the driver license was there. Friday afternoon she purchased gas near my house. That was the last transaction.
NANCY: Has she tried to contact you in any way?
SUSAN: No, she has not contacted me in any way. Last time I got text from her, around nine o’clock, Friday– was when she say, “Give me until later tonight to give me the $20.” That’s the last time she text me.
NANCY: What are police telling you now about her disappearance?
SUSAN: They’re puzzled. They’re– don’t know what else to do. They’re just waiting for leads. They just went to, “That’s all there is.” They’re- they’re just sitting back.
NANCY: What do you think happened?
SUSAN: I thought it might be suicide at first. Because of our rel– bad relationship, and she was n- not happy at home. Um, she was not loved as traditional parents would. I’m Asian, I’m Korean. All her friends are American friends. She must’ve compared American friends’ parents towards their daughter against my relationship with her, ’cause I’m not lovely-dovey, “I love you” affectionate, so I- I felt like that has impact, and she was– for her being unhappy. Uh, but then, like, why would– I thought, why would she– that’s what I thought at first, but then as time goes by, I feel abduction. I feel trafficking.
ALAN: Ms. Park, this is Alan Duke. I know you talked to your daughter’s boyfriend. Apparently he was the last known person to see her at his home in Calabasas, just a few miles away from where her car was found three days later. What did he tell you about that night?
SUSAN: “We went to see movie Friday night, and then, um, we came home on the 28th, and then all of a sudden she woke up at, like, 4 o’clock or something, singing and shaking, and she looked like she had a panic attack. I asked her not to go but she dressed so fast and she just left.”
ALAN: And you’ve told me the police gave you security camera video from the boyfriend’s home that shows your daughter apparently leaving the house that next morning?
SUSAN: At 6:05 AM my daughter, only by herself, uh, she was exiting. She was going towards her car uh, from- from, uh, 6:01 to 6:05, and that’s when she finally came out. And that was cut off. At that– 6:05, immediately when she got out, the video– the footage was cut off.
Then a separate DVD, a community one– there was only one footage of her leaving. Not her leaving, the vehicle leaving. And on January 28th at 7:14 AM– the car just driving off. It’s totally black, dark, and only the license plate you can see, I know that that is her license plate number. And what if some– where is one hour?
ALAN: So you see her leaving about 6:05 AM, but her car’s not seen driving out of the community gate until after seven?
SUSAN: Exactly. And we don’t know who dro– we don’t know who the driver is. As far as I know– what my concern is, maybe the body’s inside there. In the car. I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s no answer to it ’cause I can’t see. And why did it take one hour for her to leave?
NANCY: Ma’am, you have got to know that we are praying for, and thinking of Elaine and doing everything we know within our power to help bring her home. Everyone, we are talking to the mom of Elaine Park, who is missing. A gorgeous young girl out of Glendale, California. If you could reach her right now, if she were listening to our voices, what would you tell her?
SUSAN: I just want a second chance with her. If you’re listening out there, I’m sorry for not loving you as much as other girls that you see. I want her home safe. You know, I do love you very, very much. I lacked in expressions and I– all I wanted to do is discipline you in traditional Korean way and that’s my fault, and I just want a second chance with Elaine, my daughter, and I wanna love her no matter what. Unconditional love. I wanna to help you, Elaine, if you are into any kind of trouble, I wanna help you. Please come home safe. We all love you. The whole community wants you back safe. We are doing all our best, 24/7, practically. Putting up fliers, searching for any clues. Anything. We’re doing everything in our power. They’re helping me pull together to look for you. We all want you back safe, we all love you, Elaine. I love you very much and I’m sorry I didn’t say it enough. Please come home safe.
NANCY: I know this is a tough question, but do you think your girl is still alive?
SUSAN: I don’t know. I don’t know. She’s a very smart girl, and I know she’ll find somehow, some way, if she’s alive. Escape, fight, use her intelligence to get out, and get help. But if– trafficking– I heard that if you drug the girl and threaten their lives, or their family’s lives, they’re trapped somehow. Especially when it’s drugged. So, I’m confused. People are giving me hope, but I’m confused. I don’t know if she’s alive. I don’t know. I’m– people are trying to keep me up hope, but it’s fading out. And it’s– one way or the other I- I want her back, I want her back. I need to have her back. I need to find her.
NANCY: I want to thank you so much for being with us, ma’am, and again, our prayers go on for Elaine.
[END OF SEGMENT]