The search for Aleah Beckerle has hit the one-month mark, with still no sign of the missing 19-year-old. Now, the mother of the disabled young woman is coming under increasing scrutiny.
The Indiana teenager, who suffered a stroke as an infant and is now bound to a wheelchair and in need of around-the-clock care, was last seen by her mother on the evening of July 17. Cara Beckerle claims that she went to her daughter’s room the next morning to find no sign of her, NBC News noted.
That prompted a search that started around the Evansville area and quickly gained national attention, with a number of major news outlets covering her disappearance, including a feature on Dateline.
Police said early that Aleah’s disappearance was being treated as an abduction.
“There is someone out there who knows where Aleah is,” Evansville Police Department Captain Andy Chandler told Dateline. “You can’t just carry a disabled 19-year-old out of her home and have no one see anything.”
But as the days stretched into weeks and now more than a month with still no sign of Aleah Beckerle, there has been increased scrutiny on what role her mother may have played in the teen’s disappearance. That speculation grew last month when police served a search warrant at the house where Aleah lived with her mother.
“It’s unclear at this time what police took out of the house, but they were seen walking out of the house with large bags,” a report from TristateHomepage.com noted. “The search warrant was for electronic devices. Aleah’s mother, Cara Beckerle, has not been listed as a person of interest and has not been labeled a suspect.”
Cara Beckerle would later tell TristateHomepage.com that she suspects someone may have targeted the Beckerle home because of some prescription drugs that were inside.
“She said the person who took Aleah knew she was on medication, the layout of the house, that the dog wouldn’t bark, and stole a copy of the house key, locking up as they left.
“‘This was planned kidnapping. It’s not a random. It was planned, but if you’re just scared now, it’s ok, just bring her back. Please, I just need her,’ Beckerle said.
But while police have said that Cara Beckerle is not an official suspect in Aleah’s disappearance, Cara still wanted to respond to the rumors that have been circulating about her possible involvement.
“Well I understand, because they don’t know me personally, so, and it’s happened before, where parents have hurt their own children, or what not. This is not the case. I got involved with some people I should have never got involved with, but it happened,” Beckerle said.
Cara Beckerle has been in trouble with police in the past, including a felony arrest in 2007 for child neglect and selling marijuana. Beckerle said that she was an attentive mother and that the charge related solely to the marijuana found in the house and not because the girl was not being fed or cared for.
There have already been other members of Aleah’s family in trouble related to the teen’s disappearance. A group of three people, including Aleah’s cousin Donna Robertson, were arrested for allegedly beating a man into making a false confession about the girl’s disappearance, WXIX reported.
And other rumors have spread about the possibility that Aleah Beckerle may have been found dead. Within the last week, a picture circulated on social media claiming to show a body stuffed into a garbage bag. The photo was shared on Facebook pages related to Aleah’s disappearance, but Evansville police said they had already seen the picture weeks before and investigated it.
“There’s nothing in that picture that is conclusive one way or the other. It’s just another theory that has been put out there,” Sgt. Jason Cullum told TristateHomepage.com. “With social media now, a lot of stuff gets put out there that would normally not have made it in the public view because we would have eliminated it right off the bat. This is one of the things that’s out there. What impact it may or may not have on this investigation is still yet to be seen.”
Anyone with any information on the disappearance or whereabouts of Aleah Beckerle is asked to call the Evansville Police Department at (812) 436-7979 or the anonymous WeTip hotline at 1 (800) 78-CRIME.
[Image via Evansville Police Department]