Shortly after her disappearance over four years ago, I made a promise to Kadie and Jeremy Lancaster, sister-in-law and brother of Megan Lancaster. I told them I would never give up helping search for the missing woman. It is a promise that haunts me to this day.
I have been on searches, candlelight vigils, and many other events held to facilitate bringing Megan home. I have never seen a family so dedicated to this task. They have been relentless in their search. Yet, Megan remains missing, and I wish I could help provide answers for her disappearance. I wish I could better fulfill my promise.
About a week ago, a segment of Spike TV's “The Forgotten Women of Ohio” featured Megan and uncovered information most of the public had never seen. The revealing investigation poked many accusatory fingers at figures involved in the dark underbelly of Portsmouth, Ohio. It raised many questions about who may be responsible for Megan's disappearance, and it created a beehive of new interest in the case.
I am happy that Spike aired this show – happy for many reasons.
Megan Lancaster, by all accounts, is a loving mother and a caring person who, like so many others in the county, fell victim to the opioid epidemic. She became a drug addict and turned to prostitution to finance her addiction. In doing so, Megan became a pawn in this marginalized community. She likely didn't know how her combination of good looks and drug dependency would lead to complications with enforcement and criminal elements. We now know how deep these complications grew.
As members of a community in which the drug trade devastates lives and families, we all are responsible for seeking answers to the epidemic of drug abuse. No judgments should prevent us from this task; it is a basic duty of our humanity and a fulfillment of our commitment to love and kindness.
But still, some view addicts as second-class citizens, expendable victims who brought any ill treatment – including abduction and murder – upon themselves. Don't you wonder to what great lengths an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent citizen's addicted daughter might go? I do. Megan's disappearance deserves unending, thorough investigation, something many think is lacking.
Still, there is another reason that the disappearance of Megan Lancaster is critical to the well-being of the area. Something or some person(s) from within the enforcement and justice communities has left an indelible stench that permeates the halls of judicatory integrity. It is a malodor originating somewhere between the obvious and the guarded. Many area residents have questioned its rank existence before and wondered why it hasn't been eliminated.
The “use” of Megan Lancaster – whether as an informant, as a prostitute, as a dancer – must be further investigated, no matter the collateral damage to those who employed her services. How can any of us feel transparency is being pursued when bad behaviors of lustful users are being protected? This has too long been a policy of Good Old Boy government. Was Megan an instrument of a system that protects its own at the price of innocent human life? Suspicions endure, and for good reasons.
I, for one, believe drugs, prostitution, and human trafficking are married in a large, coordinated system fueled by financial interest and by personal gratification. The perfect feeder component of the system includes officers and employees of enforcement and court communities. I do not mean to make false accusations against these trusted institutions; however, I strongly believe existing evidence is sufficient for strong internal investigation.
A beautiful young woman, sex, drugs, personal contact lists, informants – clues to the disappearance of Megan Lancaster, last seen on April 3, 2013. This case is a concern for everyone in our small community. It may also be a link in a much larger conspiracy of abuse. Solving the case will give much needed closure to a wonderful local family. Solving the case may reveal connections that threaten the future of our closest loved ones. And, solving the case may save countless lives of those trapped in a corrupt system of use and abuse.
I haven't given up on you, Megan. I pledge to keep on keeping on.