The FBI has joined the search for missing 18-year-old Sunny Sramek. Sramek was last seen on Saturday, April 20, leaving her home in Trenton, Nebraska to make a quick trip to Omaha. Sramek has not been seen since.
“Sunny was reported missing on April 21st by her mother to the Hitchcock County Sheriff’s Office,” FBI Special Agent Michele Stevenson told NBC. The FBI issued a press release asking that anyone with information call Stevenson from the FBI’s Omaha field office at (402) 493-8688.
“It is critical that if the public has information, they contact us as she could be in danger,” Stevenson revealed to the Kearney Hub.
“We were really close so she would definitely be reaching out to me to say she misses me or something by now if she could,” Sramek’s mother Paula Johnson told News 2, adding, or “just make sure your tabs are on your children because it doesn’t take a second before they’re not there anymore.”
Here’s what you need to know about the disturbing disappearance of Sunny Sramek.
1. Sramek Was Traveling with a 42-Year-Old Man Named Cliff Coates
On April 20, Sramek left Trenton, Nebraska, with a man identified by her family as Cliff Coates, 42. The two were traveling in a 2004 white Ford Explorer with Iowa license plate HGJ 341. Coates has been described by authorities as an acquaintance however, it is unknown how Coates and Sramek knew one another. According to Sramek’s mother, she was accompanying Coates on a trip to pick up his niece in Omaha, approximately 300 miles away.
On the afternoon of April 20, Sramek contacted her mother to say the trip was going fine. Johnson told authorities there was no indication of a problem. “Sunny’s mom last spoke with Sunny earlier that day around 1 pm – Sunny said they were in Holdrege, Nebraska and everything was good,” a post from family member Reni Blome on the Find Sunny Sramek Facebook page explained.
According to Johnson, Coates called to say that between 9 p.m. and midnight he’d stopped at the Prairie Flower Casino, a gaming facility owned by the Ponca Tribe and on tribal land in Carter Lake, Iowa, right outside of Omaha. Coates claimed to have left Sramek in the vehicle. Sramek would not have been allowed in the casino since the minimum age for casino gambling in Iowa is 21. When Coates returned to the car he stated that Sramek was missing.
2. Sramek’s Mother Notified Police the Next Morning
The morning after her daughters disappearance, Johnson filed a missing person report with the Hitchcock County Sheriffs Office. Since the young woman’s disappearance, family and friends have been searching, speaking with people, posting information on social media and distributing fliers, hoping someone will recall spotting her.
Sunny Sramek is described as standing 5′ 7″ and weighing approximately 180 pounds. she has brown hair and blue eyes. Sramek has a tattoo on her left shoulder of a feather with the letters “FLY,” as well as a red tribal sun on her right ankle.
Sramek has multiple scars on her body which include a rectangular scar on the back of her right shoulder, a small square-shaped scar in the middle of her upper forehead, scarring on one of her ankles and shin from a bike pedal, scars from the chicken pox on her face, a scar on her left hand at the bottom of her thumb and forefinger and cuts on her arm.
The teen was last seen wearing denim shorts and a black tank top when she left home and was carrying a pair of jeans and a hoodie but not her cell phone.
The Hitchcock Sheriff’s Office says that she sometimes goes by the name Sunny J. Straub.
3. Coates Has Told Two Very Different Versions of What Happened
Coates initially told Sramek’s mother that he came out of the Prairie Flower Casino, briefly searched for Sramek and then left after he couldn’t find her.
But Blome stated that Coates wound up having an altogether different recollection of events. “He later changes his story and claimed he was at a gas station, ran in to pay for gas and when he came out she was gone,” Blome said in a May 17 Facebook post. Coates could not recall the gas station.
According to Sramek’s mother Paula Johnson, the only consistent aspect of his story was that he left both the casino and the gas station without finding her daughter.
4. Coates Has a Lengthy Criminal History
A records check shows that a Floyd Clifford Coates, Jr. has a record of criminal activity in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.
In Kansas, he had seven convictions for offenses including the sale and possession of drugs, theft and an attempt to flee or elude police. He also had 25 disciplinary reports for incidents involving battery, lying and having sexually explicit material.
In Nebraska Coates was convicted of false imprisonment, methamphetamine distribution, possession of a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault by a confined person, theft by receiving stolen property and marijuana possession.
On June 10, Blome posted the following on the Find Sunny Sramek Facebook page: “I have a little info to share from my aunt. ‘Update: Coates was arrested recently but was bonded soon thereafter. I’m hoping they can learn something/ anything from him, at least he was found.’
I’m sharing this so ya’ll are aware, but as far as what happened prior to this, or what he was arrested for, that is not being shared by family. Family knows very little regarding his arrest, so please respect the fact that this is all we are sharing at this time. Hopefully the Authorities were able to acquire some answers regarding what happened to Sunny, or her whereabouts.”
Law enforcement has not publicly named Coates as a suspect in Sramek’s disappearance.
5. A Go Fund Me Page Has Been Set up
A Go Fund Me page has been created on behalf of Sunny Sramek by relative Reni Blome. The page indicates that funds will be used to help with search expenses as family travel across Nebraska and into other states to distribute fliers and speak with people about their missing loved one. Family member Reni Blome created the Find Sunny Sramek page, which has raised $420.
For more information, you can also visit the Find Sunny Sramek Facebook page.
“We will continue to search, to pray, and to have faith that we will find her and bring her home,” Blome said.