Karlie Guse left home as dawn broke in the White Mountain Estate area of Mono County, California, never to return. Despite the chilly conditions, Karlie didn’t have a coat or a sweater – she had gray sweatpants or jeans, Vans brand shoes, and a white t-shirt. Peculiarly, Karlie left her personal belongings behind. 

Sadly, Karlie has never been found. Mono County Sheriff’s Office’s most recent update about her disappearance was posted on Facebook in October 2022. It reads:

“Our investigation into her disappearance has never ceased, and we continue searching for her every day. Please hold Karlie in your hearts and your thoughts. Share her photo and her story. Don’t let her fade from our memories.”

Karlie was reportedly disoriented and paranoid after smoking marijuana

Karlie’s stepmother, Melissa, said that about 12 hours before Karlie disappeared, the teenager confessed that she’d smoked marijuana with friends and was feeling paranoid. Melissa noted that Karlie seemed disoriented. 

She added that Karlie feared she would die or someone would kill her. Melissa stated that Karlie was concerned about someone tracking her via her cell phone. According to the Missing Persons Center, the last text Karlie sent to her boyfriend was that she suspected someone had laced the marijuana. 

Melissa said Karlie calmed down and slept beside her. She woke up around 5:30 a.m. and saw Karlie lying wide-eyed in bed. Melissa reportedly drifted back to sleep and awoke two hours later to find Karlie missing. 

Eddy, a neighbor, saw Karlie walking away from her home around the time Melissa woke up. He thought it odd that Karlie had no warm clothing and walked while waving a piece of paper. 

Around thirty minutes later, Melissa informed Eddy that Karlie was missing. He hopped on his motorcycle and sped in the direction he saw Karlie head, hoping to intercept the young girl. However, she found no trace of the teenager. 

“To really up and vanish like she did – it’s mind-boggling,” FBI agent Brad Bilderback says in a series of YouTube videos about Karlie’s disappearance. 

Karlie’s father, Zachary, searched the desert for months before giving up

Karlie’s father, Zachary
Karlie’s father, Zachary

Karlie’s father and stepmother reported Karlie’s disappearance about two hours after she vanished. The authorities began an extensive search involving helicopters, dogs, and people that lasted about a week. A checkpoint set along Highway 6 – the direction Karlie was headed when she was last seen – yielded no results. 

Zachary spent about three months searching the desert for Karlie. “I lost my mind,” he said. He believes Karlie died in the desert or was abducted. 

Leads have emerged on social media, but none of them have brought the family closer to finding their beloved daughter. In January 2021, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook:

“Many have sent information regarding TikTok videos which feature a girl who looks like Karlie. There is a resemblance, but we have confirmed with Karlie’s family that it is not her.”

Lindsay, Karlie’s mother, believes Karlie died, and her father helped cover up the death

Lindsay, Karlie’s mother
Lindsay, Karlie’s mother

Karlie’s mother, Lindsay, has a pessimistic and accusatory theory about her daughter’s whereabouts: she believes Zachary and Melissa covered up Karlie’s death. Lindsay told Dr. Phil that the couple’s shifting narratives about the disappearance indicate they are guilty. 

“I believe my daughter had a drug overdose,” she said. “And I believe it because she was asking for help … And I believe very early morning Melissa saw her with her eyes open and I think that’s when my daughter passed.”

Karlie’s loved ones haven’t abandoned their search for her

Karlie’s loved ones hope Karlie will turn up and continue asking people for tips about her whereabouts. An Instagram post uploaded on 13th October 2022 on a page dedicated to finding Karlie features the following caption:

“If you have any information regarding Karlie’s disappearance please contact Mono County Sheriff’s Office. Now is the time to speak up, let law enforcement know any information you may know or have heard regarding Karlie’s disappearance. There is still a reward for information that leads to her being found.”

The following day, on the fourth anniversary of Karlie’s disappearance, a post lamenting the fruitless search efforts went live on Instagram. “How is it possible that no one knows anything? Why hasn’t law enforcement released any further information on her disappearance?” it reads

“Karlie deserves to be found,” the caption continues. “Her family deserves to know what happened. You are not forgotten Karlie. You never will be.”

Conversely, some community members have accepted that Karlie may never return, Bishop Union High School Principal David Kalk said in an FBI interview. 

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