The absence of a loved one is felt in so many ways. Missing their calming voice during a stressful situation – or their laugh when you hear something you know they would find funny. Whatever triggers the memory, their absence leaves a void. And that void is especially deep when their whereabouts are unknown.
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Casi Ann Pogue’s family knows this feeling all too well. The 40-year-old petite blonde disappeared on July 5, 2020 after being discharged from Prisma Health Greenville Memorial. Security cameras captured images of her walking away from the hospital. After she disappeared from the viewpoint of the camera, she vanished into thin air. Over three years have passed and her family is no closer to discovering what happened to this vibrant woman.
But they haven’t given up hope … and they will never stop searching for answers.
Casi had been living with Debbie and Wyatt Brown – the parents of a friend named Nathan Brown – in a home located on their property off of Reid School Road in Greenville. She had battled addictions and struggled with her mental health for years. According to her family, Nathan and Casi met during a stay at a mental health rehab center in 2014. The two kept in touch on and off through the years. Casi’s family stated that every time Nathon found his way back into Casi’s life, she seemed to spiral, but when he wasn’t around, she was healthy and in good spirits.
The holiday weekend was rough for Casi. She found herself checked into the hospital twice due to increasingly erratic behavior. On July 4, 2020, she unlawfully entered a neighbor’s home. Shortly thereafter, a neighbor observed her climbing out of the window of the Browns’ home and running into the woods. Not much is known about her first hospital visit on July 4, 2020 other than she was brought there and picked up by Nathan Brown and his mom later that same day.
The following day – the day of her disappearance – a neighbor spotted Casi attempting to climb out of the window again, this time using a sheet. The neighbor took a video of what was happening and called 9-1-1. The video stopped abruptly after Casi fell from the window. When the neighbor went to check on her to see if she was injured, Casi ran off into the woods. The neighbor then notified Debbie Brown, at which point Casi was located and eventually transferred via ambulance back to Greenville Memorial.
Prior to the ambulance arriving, Debbie Brown took a photo of Casi sitting on the ground. She was clad in a tie-dyed t-shirt with multiple cuts on her arms.
In the image – the last photo of her ever taken – she is clearly extremely distressed.
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According to a Greenville County sheriff’s office report (.pdf), Casi was discharged from Greenville Memorial at 8:04 p.m. on July 5, 2020. It is unknown whether she was discharged or if she checked herself out against doctor’s orders.
In an attempt to determine where Casi went after she was discharged, investigators reviewed surveillance camera footage from the hospital and determined she left the facility at 8:09 p.m. EDT. Immediately upon leaving, she approached a blue van parked at the hospital entrance and spoke briefly with the driver of the van.
After a few minutes, she walked away from the van and another camera captured her headed to West Faris Road where she turned right towards Doctors Drive. At this point, she walked out of view of the cameras.
Casi hasn’t been seen or heard from since that moment …
WHERE DID CASI GO?
No one seems to know where Casi went after she vanished from the vantage point of the surveillance cameras. Greenville investigators began looking for her on July 8, 2020. That’s when Casi’s aunt reported her missing after attempts to locate her via Facebook posts pleading for information failed to generate any answers.
The investigation began at the hospital where the security footage was obtained. It then moved to the last people who saw her – Nathan and Debbie Brown.
According to the incident report, Nathan told investigators Casi did not have her phone with her when she went to the hospital – and that they did not know where it was. As they were leaving, investigators told Nathan and his parents they would try to “ping” the phone to locate it. Later that same day, Debbie Brown called investigators to inform them she and Nathan had Casi’s phone – and made arrangements to turn the phone over to police.
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When police arrived, Nathan (whose first name is spelled incorrectly in the incident report) admitted lying about the phone when initially questioned by police – claiming he was “scared to turn the phone over because there were pictures on the phone of him smoking marijuana.”
He provided the passcode to the device and it was seized for forensic download. A search warrant was obtained for phone records from Sprint as well as Casi’s medical records from July 5, 2020.
In late September of 2020 – nearly three months after Casi vanished without a trace – her cousin Trina Burns received a message on Facebook from a woman named “Christine.” Trina had been spearheading the online search for Casi – and to this day continues to play a pivotal role in keeping her story visible on social media.
According to “Christine,” she believed she saw Casi in an abandoned shed on Woodruff Road in the Five Forks area of Greenville County – approximately ten miles southeast of downtown Greenville – on or around July 7 or July 8, just days after her disappearance.
When Christine opened the door to the shed she found a white female with “short spiked up blonde hair.” She said the female looked scared and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. She went on to describe the woman as being “real skinny” – and said she was wearing a black shirt and possibly black sweat pants. Christine asked the woman was she was doing in the shed and she replied that she was waiting for her boyfriend to return. Not long after, she observed a gold or champagne colored car – possibly a Ford Taurus – pull up and pick Casi up. The driver was a white male in his twenties with scruffy blonde hair.
THE INVESTIGATION …
After the possible sighting of Casi in the abandoned shed, investigators continued to push forward. Considering Nathon Brown admitted to lying about Casi’s phone, investigators decided to take a closer look at him. Brown’s apartment was located just 1.25 miles from the emergency room where Casi was last seen – and based on the direction she was walking, it seemed logical she may have been attempting to walk there instead of her parents’ home, which was much further away.
Casi’s family is still trying to get her cell records from police to determine if she made any calls or texts while she was in the hospital. It was believed she sent a text to her mother and called her father during her July 5 hospital visit – meaning she would have been in possession of the same phone Nathon Brown lied to investigators about having when they questioned him.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Brown’s phone to confirm he had no contact with her following her disappearance. It’s unknown what was discovered by police from either Casi or Nathan Brown’s phone records.
Multiple search warrants have been executed over the years to check Casi’s bank account for activity. There has been no activity since she disappeared.
The driver of the van in which Casi sat briefly after leaving the hospital has not been identified. They are not considered a suspect as surveillance cameras showed her leaving the van shortly after and walking away, but that person’s (or persons’) identity – and the subject matter of their conversation(s) with Casi – could hold critical information.
Debi and Wyatt Brown gave consent for police to search their property off of Reid School Road, and on January 8, 2021 – a search team from the sheriff’s office along with two cadaver dogs and their handlers arrived. The extensive search covered several acres of wooded land surrounding the home owned by the Brown’s – the last known address at which Casi was residing. After searching the property on Reid School Road, the team traveled to West Faris Road where Casi was last seen walking and searched the banks of the creek that cross under West Faris Road at Brookview Circle.
Both searches were unsuccessful …
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NO ANSWERS …
After years passed with no answers from police, Casi’s cousin Trina Burns became frustrated and determined to do everything she could do to find answers for her family. She went back to school, earned a degree in criminal justice and is now in the process of becoming a licensed private investigator. Working with Casi’s ex-husband, Matt Daniel – a private investigator in Oklahoma – they have relentlessly pursued every lead possible to find out what happened to Casi.
Trina says Casi was like a sister to her.
“It’s the least I can do,” she said. “If Casi was in my shoes, she would do the same thing for me.”
“One of the main things that we’re kind of struggling with is trying to get more cooperation and more action on the part of the police department there,” said Matt Daniel, who owns Stonewall Security.
Knowing that his involvement in any investigation would likely be perceived as a conflict of interest, his team takes the lead on investigating any tips they receive.
“I would just encourage people if they even think that they have seen something, even if they don’t think it’s significant, let the police or even let my agency be the ones to do the hard work and decide what’s significant and what’s not,” Daniel said. “You know, some people might not come forward because they don’t feel like what they saw was anything important. But you know, if somebody saw her, even two minutes after she was last seen on cameras, and you know, they become the last person to see her alive.”
Daniel also clarified his company’s goal is to assist law enforcement in whatever way is possible.
“It’s not us versus the police department,” he said. “We’re trying to be the JV team for the police department.”
Casi’s family also runs an active Facebook page called Casi Come Home – which is dedicated to keeping her story alive. Those efforts are paying off, too, as her story was recently featured on a podcast called Vanished. Utilizing social media to keep the public engaged is common in cold cases, but Casi’s family has gotten creative utilizing QR codes and placing teddy bears with flyers around the area where she was last seen.
They will not give up until they have answers … no matter what those answers may be.
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Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Casi Ann Pogue is urged to contact the Greenville County sheriff’s office at (864) 467-5548 or Stonewall Security at (405) 886-5220 or [email protected].
ABOUT THIS SERIES …
Unsolved Carolinas – sponsored by our friends at Bamberg Legal – is a new series by FITSNews devoted to shining a spotlight on cases which have fallen off the front page. We hope to tell the stories of those individuals who are seeking answers and justice on behalf of their lost loved ones. We will dive deeper into their stories, get to know them through their families and friends and hopefully help find answers for those they have left behind.
In every unsolved case, someone out there could know something that provides a missing link – a critical clue that could bring peace to a family in pain and help them write the next chapter of their stories (even if it is the final chapter). If you know someone who is missing – or has been a victim of an unsolved homicide – email their story to [email protected].
The more stories we share, the more hope we can spread …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at [email protected].
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