Archive for Friday, November 30, 2007

Body may be missing student

November 30, 2007


— Her fans knew her only as an Internet porn star named Zoey Zane.

But in this hamlet, Emily Sander's friends saw her as a vivacious teenager who worked hard days as a secretary at an electric company and went to night school to study business management. She dreamed one day of opening a piercing studio and becoming a movie director.

Authorities said Thursday the preliminary physical description of a body found about 50 miles east of El Dorado matches that of the missing 18-year-old. Investigators refused to give details about the state of the body or how it was found.

As news of the discovery spread, her friends comforted themselves with memories of a loving young woman who enjoyed cooking goulash and would give a ride to anybody who needed one.

"She was probably the most independent girl I know," said Nikki Watson, her close friend. "She was so anxious to get out on her own and make something of herself. She was ready to take on life."

Sander moved in with her boyfriend, Michael McAllister, when she was 17.

"It was probably the best time in my life," McAllister said Thursday.

He helped her finish high school, and she encouraged him in college. They bought pink and white Denver Bronco jerseys for themselves and their dog, Zan, that they wore on game days. She loved to dance to hip-hop music.

"She wanted to choreograph music videos. That is the only reason she did the Internet thing - to get a little exposure," said McAllister, 20.

They broke up in September after she started posing for nude photos, he said.

Sander's case drew wide attention after it was revealed that she appeared nude on an adult Web site under the name Zoey Zane. That site was temporarily inaccessible Thursday, as were several sites that bill themselves as "fan" sites of Zane.

But Police Chief Tom Boren insisted Thursday that Sander's Internet activity had no connection to her disappearance.

"The issue of the Internet and the spinoff of that has been literally crippling our investigation," Boren said.

Boren said the cause of death was not yet known. An autopsy is planned.

Sander was last seen leaving an El Dorado bar Friday with a man who has been the focus of a nationwide search since police found large quantities of blood in a Kansas motel room where he was staying.

Prior to finding the body, investigators said they had not found a link between Sander and her activities as Zoey Zane. But publicity about her explicit photos brought a flood of tips, many of them false leads.

Sander, who attended Butler Community College, left the bar with Israel Mireles, 24. Authorities are looking for him and his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend.

The rental car Mireles was driving was found abandoned Tuesday in Vernon, Texas, where he has relatives. Investigators interviewed family members and planned to bring the vehicle back to Kansas for processing.

"We feel they know where he is at, but they haven't shared that with us," Boren said.

On Thursday, searchers on foot and all-terrain vehicles were checking the tall grass along each side of Highway 54 near Neal, Kan., as they traced the route Mireles may have taken Saturday on the way to Baxter Springs to pick up his girlfriend.

Sander's grandmother, Shirley Sander, said the discovery of a body would "very definitely" bring closure to the family.

"We had to know one way or another," she said in a telephone interview.


mom_of_three 10 years ago

This is awful news. I feel so badly for the family.

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