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Age at Report: 22
DOB: May 13, 1978
Weight: 150 lbs.
Height: 5′ 04″
Incident Type: Endangered / physical
Missing From: Mount Pleasant, IA
Investigating Agency: Mt. Pleasant Police Department
Case #: 00-4376
NCIC #: M-670900255
NamUs MP # 398
Last Seen Alive: July 16, 2000
Elizabeth Syperda was last seen by her roommate at their East Madison Street apartment in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, about 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, 2000, when the roommate left to go to work. When the roommate returned at 4:00 a.m. the following morning, Elizabeth was gone, though she did not have access to a car and all her personal belongings were left behind.
The door was locked from the outside, leaving investigators to initially believe she left the apartment voluntarily.
She’d been living apart from her husband of two years at the time she went missing.
Syperda never claimed her paycheck from her employer, and there has been no activity on her bank account since the night she disappeared.
One month before Syperda vanished, her estranged husband, Michael Syperda, had been arrested for assaulting both his wife and her roommate. The court immediately put a protection order in place.
In November 2000 — four months after Liz went missing — Michael Syperda pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and domestic abuse assault stemming from the June assault. He received a suspended prison sentence and was placed on probation for five years.
Though authorities could not find any evidence of foul play in her disappearance, Elizabeth’s family is convinced her husband — whom they describe as dangerous and violent — murdered her.
Michael Syperda stopped talking to police soon after the investigation began and also refused to take a polygraph (lie detector) test. He eventually moved to Colorado.
Liz was just 14 when she first met Michael and his wife in Truckee, Calif., and began babysitting their daughter. Two years later, she’d moved with the couple to Winfield to serve as a live-in-babysitter. After the couple divorced, Michael and Liz eventually married, but she left after he allegedly became physically abusive.
Elizabeth has been described as a 5-foot-4 white female with naturally curly brown hair, hazel eyes, and weighing about 150 pounds.
Her ears are pierced multiple times, and her tongue and left nipple are also pierced. A heart tattoo encircles her navel. She was last seen wearing a t-shirt, black jeans, a diamond and emerald ring, a wedding ring and a diamond “Year 2000” necklace.
Elizabeth’s mother, Donna Forshee, of Sacramento, Calif., remains determined to keep a light on for her daughter’s return.
In a Hawk Eye article published Friday, July 15, 2010, Donna Forshee said that every year she makes a trek to Mount Pleasant to raise awareness that “Liz” is still missing. She stays in close contact with local law enforcement in efforts to get the latest information about her daughter’s case.
In 2010, Forshee paid for a billboard on U.S. 34 between Danville and New London, announcing a $20,000 reward for information about Liz and seeking information that might lead to her daughter’s whereabouts or fate. She also planned an informal gathering at the Mount Pleasant square for Saturday, July 16, 2010, stating that its purpose was “to raise awareness that Liz is still missing and that we still need help from people to help locate her and possibly bring people to justice.”
Her son, Michael Forshee, accompanied her on the trip.
Forshee said she suspects her daughter may have met a tragic death, but is optimistic they’ll eventually find her.
“Someone back there knows what happened to her, and I hope that our presence would spark a recollection,” she said during a phone conversation with the Hawk Eye from her California home Wednesday, July 13, 2010. “My hope is to find Liz, that’s my whole focus. The reason for doing this is to find her.”
Lt. Ron Archer of the Mount Pleasant Police Department told the Hawk Eye the case remains open, although he has not received any new leads. He said Michael Syperda has not been ruled out as a suspect.
Donna Forshee has her theories about what might have happened.
“My assumption is that he called her and enticed her somehow to come out of the apartment and meet him,” Forshee told the Hawk Eye for the July 2010 story. “Then, they got into a fight and something happened during that night.”
Elizabeth Forshee-Syperda remains listed as missing and endangered, which the Iowa Department of Public Safety classifies as a person of any age who is missing under circumstances indicating that his/her physical safety is in danger.
If you have any information about Elizabeth Syperda’s unsolved disappearance, please contact the Mount Pleasant Police Department at (319) 385-1450.