Karlie Lain Gusé is a California teen who mysteriously disappeared during the early morning of Saturday, October 13, 2018. She was last seen outside of her home. But no witnesses have come forward with information about where the teen went after walking outside the house.
Karlie was 16 when she vanished; her birthday was May 13 and she would be 17 years old now. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to her location.
The case was featured on the Dr. Phil show on March 25 and 26, 2019. Karlie’s father and stepmother, Zac and Melissa, said they were the last people to see the teen before she vanished and insist they do not know where she went. Karlie’s mother, Lindsay Fairley, has expressed suspicion that the couple was responsible for Karlie’s disappearance. It’s important to note that police have not made any arrests in the case.
Deputies deployed a massive search effort to find Guse, and friends of the teen created social media campaigns to spread awareness about the search. But the search has not yielded any clues. Police say it remains a “Missing Person” investigation because they never uncovered any evidence of an abduction. But they stress they are “considering all possibilities and are investigating every potential aspect in case this becomes a criminal investigation.”
Karlie’s mother and stepmother took different approaches to the case on social media after Karlie first went missing. Her mother asked the public not to speculate about a possible abduction, so as not to hinder the official investigation. But Karlie’s stepmother posted a video on October 15, 2018, which specifically speculated that this was the case. She stated that Karlie would never have just left her family. The video has been deleted or made private.
The miracle discovery of Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, who vanished the same week as Karlie and was found alive on January 10, 2019, gave Karlie’s family hope. Her mother posted about the Closs case on her Facebook page, writing, “God is so good! It gives me hope when I thought it was all lost… My emotions are running wild for this family. I’m so happy for them!”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Deputies: Karlie Lain Guse May Was ‘Disoriented’ at the Time of Her Disappearance & Did Not Have Her Cellphone
Karlie Lain Guse was last seen outside of the home shared with her father, Zac, and stepmother, Melissa, in Chalfant, California. The house is on Ponderosa Street near White Mountain Estate Road. Chalfant is a small census-designated area just a few miles from the border with Nevada.
According to KNBC-TV, the Guse family had recently moved to the area. The Carson City News also reports that Guse has family members in Yerington, Nevada, which is roughly 160 miles from Chalfant. But there has been no indication that she headed in that direction. Deputies said she was last seen walking toward Highway 6, which runs from California to Massachusetts.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, described on Facebook that Guse was “disoriented” at the time of her disappearance. Guse did not have her cellphone or any other belongings with her.
2. Karlie Guse’s Stepmother Told Dr. Phil That Karlie Had Allegedly Smoked Marijuana the Night Before She Vanished
Karlie Guse’s mother, Lindsay Fairley, stressed that there was no evidence her daughter was taken. She wrote that she did not want speculation to interfere with the investigation. However, Karlie’s stepmother, Melissa Guse, took a different approach early on.
Melissa Guse shared a video on Facebook on October 15 discussing the case. The video has since been deleted or made private. But we shared the contents of the video before it was taken down.
She did not share any details about the day the teen vanished or why Karlie would have been walking outside the house around 6:30 on a Saturday morning. Melissa also did not explain why the officers would have described Karlie as being “disoriented.”
“I know everybody has so many questions. ‘Why did she leave? Where did she go? What’s wrong?’ I’m just concerned that she’s just gone. And that needs to be the focus. If you know me and you know Karlie, you know she would never do this. This is not the person who would just leave her family.”
But Melissa Guse shared more details about what happened the night before Karlie disappeared with Dr. Phil on March 25. She and Karlie’s father, Zac, explained that Karlie came home after being out with friends and admitted that she had been smoking marijuana.
Melissa said she made an audio recording so that Karlie could listen later and hear how she sounded while high; she said she shared the audio with Karlie’s biological mother, Lindsay Fairley, but did not want the recording played on the show. Dr. Phil listened to the audio privately and confirmed that on the recording, Karlie asked her stepmother if she would call 911 if something bad was happening to her and expressed feeling scared.
Melissa and Zac Guse speculated to Dr. Phil that the marijuana could have been laced with something stronger but said that on the night, they were not overly concerned. Dr. Phil stated on the show on March 26 that based on the audio they had him listen to, it did sound as if Karlie was having delusions. Melissa said she sat up with Karlie through the night, and that when she woke up on October 13, Karlie was gone from the house. Dr. Phil speculated that perhaps Karlie left the house and had been picked up on the highway, possibly by traffickers, which could mean she is still alive. Investigators have never publicly commented on this theory.
3. Karlie’s Mother Has Said Publicly That She Believes Her Daughter May Have Had an Overdose
Lindsay Fairley, Karlie’s biological mother, told Dr. Phil on March 26 that after hearing the audio recording of her daughter from the last night she was seen alive, she fears that Karlie died of a drug overdose. She cried as she talked about hearing her daughter say on the recording that she was scared.
Lindsay said she does not believe Melissa Guse’s claim that Karlie was simply missing from the house that morning. Again, it’s important to note that the Mono County Sheriff’s Department has not shared any details about the case or confirmed any of the speculations put forward by Karlie’s parents and stepmom.
Fairley has kept up a constant stream of social media posts in an effort to spread awareness about her daughter’s case, pleading for anyone with any tips to come forward.
4. Investigators Searched Nearby Neighborhoods & the Desert Terrain Using Helicopters & Scent Dogs, But Have Not Found Any Clues
Karlie Guse has been listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Officials say she is 5’7″ and about 110 pounds. She has blue eyes and her hair is said to be a dark blond color. Many of the pictures shared show her with darker hair, but officials said it was lighter at the time of her disappearance. Guse may have been wearing a white t-shirt and gray sweatpants when she left the house.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Department used helicopters, scent dogs and off-road vehicles to thoroughly search the area around where Guse was last seen. The terrain includes desert; there was concern that she could have become dehydrated.
Officials have also searched the town of Bishop, about 14 miles south of Chalfant. The department shared that deputies have interviewed Guse’s family and friends, and conducted a forensic investigation into her social media and electronic devices. Despite all of that, they have found no clues. Officials are asking anyone with information to call the Mono County Sheriff’s Department at 760-932-7549, option 7. Or, call 911 if you see her.
Investigators shared on Facebook on October 25, 2018, that the ground search had concluded. They encouraged people to continue sharing photos of Karlie online. The FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Bishop Police Department and Inyo County Sheriff’s Office are all involved in the ongoing investigation.
The Mono County Sheriff’s department also asked commenters on Facebook to stop directing “hurtful” remarks toward Karlie’s family members. “We don’t mind the hurtful comments that are directed at us; we can take it. But the hurtful comments directed to Karlie’s mother, stepmother and/or father just add to their suffering, and we don’t understand that.”
5. Karlie Guse’s Friends Have Taken to Social Media Urging Anyone with Information to Come Forward & Urging Karlie to Come Home
Lindsay Fairley tagged Karlie Lain Guse’s Facebook page in her own posts. Karlie’s public page does not reveal much information about the teen. The only two photos visible were shared in 2016. The cover photo is of Karlie as a child, with presumably a family member, perhaps her cousin.
A private Facebook page titled “Bring Karlie home” was launched as a forum for people to share awareness of the case. There is also a Twitter handle, @HomeKarlie, that includes the Mono County Sheriff’s office phone number.
Law enforcement also warned the public that the family had not started any legitimate GoFundMe campaigns connected to Guse’s disappearance. The Mono County Sheriff’s Office shared this update on October 22: “We understand there are now two Gofundme accounts from different family members. We have not verified the accounts and encourage those considering to donate to ensure the veracity of the account.”