Katelin Michelle Akens
Akens, approximate photo date 2015 Akens's tattoos
Missing since: 12/05/2015
Type of missing case: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: 09/02/1996 (23)
Age at time of disappearance: 19 years old
Height / Weight: 5'4, 122 pounds
Description, clothing, tattoos, other identifying markings: A dark gray fleece pullover sweatshirt with a Bass Pro Shop emblem, black pants and pink and black Vans shoes.
Other characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Akens has a tattoo of five butterflies on her left forearm and a tattoo of three red stars bursting on the top of her foot photos of her tattoos are posted below this case summary. She wears eyeglasses with dark frames. Her nose and navel are pierced and the right side of her lower lip is pierced. She also has gauge-type piercings in her ears.
Details at time of disappearance: Akens was last seen in Springfield, Virginia on December 5, 2015. She was supposed to fly out of Reagan National Airport that day, and got a ride with her former stepfather, James Branton. She had booked a flight to Arizona, where she lived with her fiancee.
The flight was at 5:00 p.m. According to Branton, Akens wanted to spend some time at the mall before going to the airport, so he dropped her off at the Springfield Town Center. From there she was going to walk to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and take a train to the airport.
Branton texted Akens's mother at 1:52 p.m., saying he had dropped Akens off. Eight minutes later, her mother got a text from Akens's phone saying, "I'm at the airport. Battery dying so won't be able to text for a bit." Akens never boarded her flight, however. She never arrived in Arizona and has never been heard from again.
Five hours and fifteen minutes after Akens's mother got the text from her daughter's phone, she got a series of texts from that number that alarmed her. The texts stated Akens was "staying with a friend" and "needed some time alone." Those messages were not sent from the airport Katelin's phone was near Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia.
It's uncharacteristic of Akens to leave without warning. She was was about to begin cosmetology school in Arizona and was excited about it. Authorities do not believe she left of her own accord, and they were able to prove that Branton never dropped her off at the mall like he said he did.
A few days after her disappearance, her blue suitcase was found in a drainage ditch along River Road, near the Fall Hill Avenue intersection, outside Fredericksburg, Virginia. This was a few miles from Branton's home, and not anywhere near Reagan National airport.
When the suitcase was found, it was unzipped and mostly empty. Akens's phone charger, eyeglasses, wallet, cash, identification, credit and debit cards, and other belongings were still inside it, but her clothes and her high school diploma were missing. The suitcase was scuffed and one of its wheels was missing, an indication that it had fallen down into the ditch.
Akens has no history of mental illness and no history of dropping out of sight. The last confirmed sighting of her was at Branton's home. He refused to cooperate with the police in her case, would not let them look at his phone and would not take a polygraph test.
Akens's case remains unsolved she's considered missing under suspicious circumstances.
Other case information
Agency in charge: Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office
Other information: Virginia State Police
The Free Lance-Star
Kingstowne/Rose Hill Patch
Katelin Akens's Facebook Page
Facebook Page for Katelin Akens
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Second Facebook Page for Katelin Akens
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Fox 5 DC
Psychic detective links:
Revised: October 12, 2004. Last updated March 26, 2018 details of disappearance updated.