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Crist was last seen shortly after lunchtime on May 3, 1988 after she left her apartment on west Beverley Street in Staunton, Virginia. She was at home with her sister when she got a phone call, had a short conversation, and asked her sister to babysit her two-year-old son while she went out for a few minutes. She was last seen walking westbound on west Beverly Street. She never returned and has never been heard from again. The phone in Crist's apartment rang at about midnight the day she vanished, and Crist's mother answered, but the caller didn't say anything and the line went dead. Her family reported her missing on May 7.
In 1991, a handyman in Staunton sent a letter to Crist's family in which he confessed to accidentally killing her and disposing of her body in a landfill. Investigators were never able to verify his confession, but he remains a suspect in Crist's disappearance. He is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges.
An acquaintance and former neighbor of Crist's, Raymond Fauber, disappeared a few months after she did. Fauber was a retired postal worker. In 1991, his body was recovered from the basement of his home in the 300 block of Fayette Street; he'd been shot by his son-in-law, Robert Asbury, who was ultimately sentenced to 45 years in prison. Cadaver dogs at the property followed a scent to the end of the paved driveway, leading police to theorize there was another body buried on the property. In the end, they decided not to search it, however. Authorities don't believe Fauber's murder and Crist's disappearance are connected, and noted that his driveway had been paved several years before Crist disappeared. They also offered Asbury a plea deal where, if he confessed to Crist's murder, he would serve no additional prison time in her death; he maintained his innocence in her case.
At the time she vanished, it was believed Crist left of her own accord, but it would be highly unusual for her to have stayed out of contact with her family for so long. She also left her wallet behind, and she'd paid her rent a month in advance the day before she went missing. She is described as a devoted parent who would not have willingly abandoned her son. She disappeared the day before she was due to appear in court for a paternity hearing about her son. Crist's parents are dead, but her sister and her son are still alive. Crist's case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd; she is missing under unknown circumstances.