Lena Chapin

The 2006 disappearance of Lena Chapin is featured in the Missing Witness episode of Netflix’s rebooted UNSOLVED MYSTERIES series.

The 2006 disappearance of Lena Chapin is featured in the Missing Witness episode of Netflix’s rebooted UNSOLVED MYSTERIES series.

The life and 2006 disappearance of Lena Chapin is under renewed scrutiny in the wake of UNSOLVED MYSTERIES featuring the case. Since its July 1 premier, the rebooted UNSOLVED MYSTERIES series has been the top viewed item on Netflix, according to the producer. Investigators report the increased attention is generating new leads toward solving the case.

“We have received a number of inquires since the episode came out,” says Det. Rick Letchworth of the Dent County Sheriff’s Office, who has been investigating the 2006 disappearance and was interviewed for the UNSOLVED MYSTERIES episode. “We are processing new information now, and this has reinvigorated the investigation. If there is anyone who has any information about this case, please contact us and let us know.”

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Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, producers of UNSOLVED MYSTERIES, released a statement to The Salem News following the release detailing the series has been viewed millions of times in 190 different countries around the world.

"We feel so gratified at the amazing response from people around the world to the work we're doing,” the statement says. “It's great to see people engaging and wanting to help solve the mysteries. A lot of intriguing clues are coming in."

The mystery of Chapin’s disappearance is featured in the sixth episode of UNSOLVED MYSTERIES titled Missing Witness. It recounts how Chapin hasn’t been seen since last residing at an apartment outside Steelville on Valentine’s Day, 2006. Among the issues documented by UNSOLVED MYSTERIES are Lena recording an alleged confession in which she says she helped her mother, Sandy Wink, dispose of the corpse of her murdered stepfather, George McCollough, in Barry County in 1999. A subsequent wrongful death lawsuit and custody dispute between Chapin and her mother over her son, Colter, is also detailed in Missing Witness. Among the newer developments featured in the episode are also the use of ground-penetrating radar to search Dent County properties where Chapin’s body is believed to be potentially buried.

Chapin was 20 years old when she disappeared in 2006. Before going missing, Chapin worked as a cake decorator at the Country Marts in Salem and Steelville. She also attended Salem High School with the Class of 2004 for her sophomore year.

Many people with roots in Salem and Dent County were interviewed for Missing Witness. They include Chapin’s sisters Brandi Petersen and Robin Shoemake, as well as Det. Letchworth and Andrew Sheeley, staff writer for The Salem News and Phelps County Focus.

More information about the case is included in a 2016 article by Sheeley published online by The Salem News titled “Without a Trace.” Chapin’s story has also been detailed in dozens of national publications since the release of Missing Witness on July 1.

The Dent County Sheriff’s Office asks that anyone who has information about Lena Chapin and her 2006 disappearance call (573) 729-3241.