MESA, AZ — January 2, 1999, is the day the nightmare began for the Biggs family — and so did their quest for justice.
That’s when 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs stepped outside the family’s Mesa home to await the local ice cream truck — and she simply vanished. Mikelle has not been seen nor heard from since that dreadful moment, and “thousands” of potential leads have not yet revealed what truly happened.
Suddenly this past March, though, a possible clue turned up in a batch of cash used to purchase Girl Scout cookies in Neenah, Wisconsin. Scrawled along the edge of a dollar bill was a handwritten message that stated:
“My name is Mikel Biggs kidnapped from Mesa AZ I’m alive.”
After pointing out that Mikelle’s name is misspelled, local authorities turned the bill over to the Mesa Police Department, hoping this development might lead to some answers.
Kimber Biggs, Mikelle’s sister, was just nine when the disappearance occurred. She said the dollar bill initially gave her a “glimmer of hope,” followed by a crushing sense that it may be another road to nowhere.
Kimber agreed to talk to CrimeFeed about the tragedy and how she and her family persist in hunting down the truth about Mikelle, relentlessly working to bring her truth to the light. We were honored to talk to Kimber.
KIMBER BIGGS: Fortunately I haven’t had to do much to keep it going, as the Mesa police department is dedicated and determined to keep Mikelle’s case open, and to find answers. I have kept in contact with the detectives who handle her case, and frequently get updates.
Personally, what I do is spread awareness. I have come across many people who have thought the case was closed and that she was found. I want people to know we are still desperately searching and will not give up until we have justice. Mikelle deserves that, and so does my family.
Was the message on the dollar bill the first lead you’ve had in the case? If not, what are some other leads that have come up and what became of them?
The dollar bill certainly isn’t the first possible “lead.” It is the first in quite some time though. My parents kind of handed me the reins when I made the Justice for Mikelle Biggs Facebook page six years ago. This is the first possible substantial tip to come forward in that time.
During the first five years or so, there were thousands of leads. I can’t even pinpoint any specifics, as it was when I was so young, but not one of them led to anything useful. It has been one dead-end after another for 19 years.
What do you make of the name being spelled wrong on the dollar bill?
Mikelle would never spell her name wrong. I have had many people give their theories on why she would, but I knew my sister. My parents knew her. She was brilliant. She was a perfectionist.
The fact that the name was spelled wrong, the handwriting doesn’t look like hers, and the bill was from 2009 — 10 years after she went missing — all leads me to believe that the note is fake. The worst case scenario is it’s a hoax. In the best case, it could be written by someone who thinks they know something, and I hope they know it is okay to come forward.
If the dollar bill message is a hoax, can you imagine why someone would pull a prank like that?
I honestly don’t know why someone would pull a prank on our family. Maybe they don’t like something we have said or done over the years. Either way, our family doesn’t deserve that kind of malicious behavior.
If it is a hoax, I hope the responsible party does not rest easy at night knowing I will not give them the satisfaction of giving up, or breaking down.
The bill got Mikelle’s case more attention than it has had in years — many wonderful opportunities of spreading awareness, and advocating for her and others have come of it and, for that, I thank whoever did this.
What’s something you want the public to know about Mikelle and the ongoing case?
I mostly want people to know how our family feels. There is so much focus on the year it happened, and the ice-cream truck. There is not nearly enough focus on today.
We do feel she passed. I feel it in my heart every day. A part of me died with her. I’m sure the same is for everyone who loved her dearly. Despite the fact that we believe she’s gone, we have not given up. Mikelle deserves a proper burial, and justice.
Whoever is responsible will be found. Nothing stays a secret forever. Someone knows something.
You’ve expressed frustration about the media getting details wrong about the case. Is there anything we can do to help you set it straight?
I want people to know that while there is no “official suspect” due to lack of hard evidence, we do feel we know who is responsible and for that we need everyone’s help. Keep spreading her story. Keep spreading the truth. Keep asking questions.
I get the same comments, and while I don’t want to go into detail on the gruesome things people believe, I want people to know that those “leads” were thoroughly investigated and cleared.
The Mesa Police Department is not slacking. They are not “blowing anyone off” when tips come in. They cannot give the public details about the case and what they do with the tips.
Please understand that anything can help, and the police are working very hard, and they communicate with my family and me regularly.
You had a situation on Facebook recently when someone was saying cruel things and harassing you about Mikelle. Why would someone do something so awful?
I do get a lot of insensitive comments, but not usually harassment and cruelty. It was baffling to see the things people did on Mikelle’s page. I don’t know why someone would choose to try and hurt us in that way.
Personally, I think it takes a pretty sick person to attack a family who are victim to such tragedy. Maybe we are “easy targets,” being that we are victims and we are in the spotlight.
People these days think they have a right to say whatever pops into their head, just because it’s on the internet. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to libel and slander. I won’t tolerate it and I won’t apologize for that. My family has been through enough, and all we need and want is positive, supportive people behind us.
What are some of your future plans for continuing the search?
I plan to continue to stay in regular contact with the detectives, so I can be up to date on everything. I am currently writing a book, about Mikelle, myself, and my family. It’s about what happened.
It’s a work in progress, but I want to have it published and one day hopefully make a movie out of it. I want people to know the truth, help us find answers, be a part of our search for justice, and give Mikelle and my family the peace we deserve.
I also want to help others like myself, those with missing loved ones. I plan to start a non-profit and use that to have a platform to reach out to others. I want to make a difference and help others be advocates for their loved ones. I am willing to do what it takes to get to that point — I know Mikelle would have wanted that.
The Mesa Police Department said it actively investigates new leads on Mikelle’s case. Anyone with information is asked to please call the Mesa Police Department at (480) 644-2211 or your local law-enforcement agency.
If you are in search of a missing person, make sure to enter their information into the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
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Main photos: From left — Mikelle Biggs [National Registry of Missing Persons]; Kimber Biggs/YouTube video [screenshot]