Missing in Pennsylvania: The Case of Kortne Stouffer

Kortne was born in 1991in Lebanon county PA to Wendy and Scott Stouffer. She was one of six children in what was a very close family. The oldest girl, Kortne was part princess, part tough Tom boy.  As a child, Kortne’s parents described her as multi-talented. She was very outgoing and loved to be the center of attention so her hobbies were mostly singing and dancing, and she excelled at both. 

As she grows older, so does her sense of independence. By the time she is a young adult, everyone everywhere seems to describe her as a “free-spirit.” Kortne loves a bit of a hippie vibe, like a girl after my own heart. In many of the photos I’ve seen of her, she could pass for someone in the 60s! Kortne has green eyes and long blonde hair and often wears flower headbands, likes a lot of tie dye and reggae music, and just is a fun loving free spirited bohemian. 

Kortne loves being outdoors in nature. She fishes, hikes, and she raises all kinds of animals, including show goats. She’d recently moved into her own apartment with her boyfriend, and to support herself she works as a dog groomer. She had followed in her mother’s footsteps and been to cosmetology school, working briefly as a hair stylist, but for Kortne there was no client quite like a cute pup, and she much preferred the groomer life. 

Kortne’s dad does say she can be a bit fiery at times! She doesn’t take much bull from anybody, and she’ll let you know how she feels if you upset her. Her parents know she drinks and smokes a little pot- nothing crazy, but she likes to party a little, like many 21 year olds on their own for the first time do, and maybe sometimes she could be a little rowdy as a result.

On the evening of Saturday July 28 Kortne and her boyfriend Bradley Herr are hosting some friends for a get together at their apartment. Brad is only 20 at the time, and he was on probation for previously being caught underage drinking. When neighbors feel the party is getting loud, someone calls not only the police…but the probation and parole court as well! Police and Bradley’s probation officer show up and when he’s found to be in violation of his conditions of parole…Brad is arrested on the spot and taken away from their home.

This sent Kortne for a little bit of a tail spin. Obviously this was directed specifically at getting them in trouble, since it wasn’t just a noise complaint to police. Believing that Brad would be sent to prison for a long term (the rest of his probation which was something like 4 years), Kortne decides it’s time to drink her stress away and continue the party. She’s amped, she’s angry, and she’s ready to blow off that steam. 

Since the house party has been shut down, after a little bit of bar hopping, she ends up at a bar downtown Harrisburg with a few of her friends. As Kortne becomes more intoxicated, she becomes more angry as well, and it’s reported that she starts a fight with a couple at the bar who are acquaintances. Some speculate that she was accusing them of stealing money and drugs from her home, but whatever the details of that argument were, Kortne is kicked out of the bar. 

She then has to text two of her friends inside to drive her: 29 year old Cody Pruett, and friend Milton Rodriguez. Cody drives Milton’s car, drops Milton off at his house, and then takes Kortne home with plans to return Milton’s car in the morning.  Kortne’s mom Wendy feels in retrospect that her daughter probably asked Cody to stay for her safety, as she was clearly not getting along with her neighbors at the time. However Dad Scott’s report was “I don’t know why he was there, I didn’t even know they were friends…everyone knew Cody had a crush on my daughter, it wasn’t a secret” 

At this point, safely back at her apartment, Kortne is LIVID. This night has NOT gone her way, and instead of blowing OFF some steam, she’s more like blowing UP. Outside of the apartment, Kortne gets in another confrontation with the neighbors. This time, she’s going after a man named Todd Saksek, specifically because Kortne believes he’s the person responsible for getting her boyfriend Brad arrested. 

The confrontation escalates, and another neighbor calls the police for the second time that night. Police arrive at Kortne’s apartment building around 2:30 in the morning. They break up the argument and tell everyone JUST CALM DOWN. The police say enough is enough, go inside, go to bed. If we have to come back in here tonight someone is going to JAIL. 

But Kortne did not calm down. This poor girl had been through the ringer that night, she’s drunk, and her fuse is blown. Cody takes her inside as the police suggested and in her apartment Kortne is stomping and screaming, and banging on walls. And… as you may have guessed, the police are now notified for the 3rd time that evening. 

According to Cody, who is the only other person to know what happened inside of that apartment, when they realize the police have been called, they shut off all the lights and pretend to be sleeping to avoid getting in trouble. Cody falls quickly asleep for real but it seems as though his plan works. When the police arrive a little before 4am, the whole house is still and dark. They notice no signs of life and decide- oh good, everyone must finally be sleeping it off- and they leave. 

At around 7:30am Cody says he wakes to find Kortne not in bed. He calls out to her a few times, glances around the apartment and notice everything seems normal, and heads out to a convenience store before returning Milton’s car. At this time he texts Kortne to let her know he headed out. 

When Kortne misses their family’s annual trip to the state fair the next day, they’re all a little surprised and frustrated. But when Wendy hasn’t heard from her daughter by Monday morning her anxiety begins to climb. Following her mothers intuition, she heads over to her apartment to check on her. 

What she finds lets her know that something is very very wrong with her daughter.

Outside, all of Kortne’s car windows are rolled down. The outdoor light is on. Her apartment front door is unlocked. As Wendy opens the door, she’s greeted frantically by Sheba, Kortne’s beloved dog. The dog had had an accident on the floor, which her mom says NEVER happened. This is when she immediately grows really concerned. Kortne’s dog is her baby, she’s had her sine she was 8 years old and when she moved out of the family home into an apartment that was her top priority, being able to bring Sheba. She took her everywhere and there’s no WAY she’d leave her dog alone and uncared for this long. Something has to be wrong. 

What’s even more confusing for Wendy was the fact that everything else seems as if Kortne has just popped into another room for a second. Her shoes arekicked off by the door. Her keys, purse, and wallet are still there. The air conditioner and tv are on. When Wendy finds Kortne’s cell phone with 18 missed calls, she decides its time to call for help. 

Kortne’s parents, siblings, and family friends all begin to put together the pieces of what happened last night by making phone calls to her friends. Wendy holds down the fort at Kortne’s apartment, not wanting to leave in case she returns. By Monday night, the family has no further information, and are told to come to the station to file a missing person’s report in the morning. 

The investigation officially begins with physical searches so packed with volunteers that they actually have to turn people away because there are no more places to look.  

Nothing was ever found. 9 years later, the case is no closer to answers.  

What happened to Kortne Stouffer? Someone somewhere knows!! And its time for them to talk and bring her home to her family

To hear some of the investigative theories, listen to the full podcast episode wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Find Spotify and Apple Links here: 

__Spotify- Lost Souls of America Podcast

Apple- Lost Souls of America Podcast

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Kortne was last seen in Palmyra Pennsylvania around 4am on July 30th 2012

At the time of her disappearance, Kortne was approx 5’8” tall 110 lbs with blonde hair and green eyes. She has a pierced tongue and ears, a tattoo that said ONE LOVE on her right bicep, a tattoo of stars o her left food, and a tattoo of a pistol with flowers wrapping her left torso.

* If you have any information about the disappearance of Kortne Stouffer, please contact the Lebanon County Detective Bureau at 717-228-4408. You can also email KORTNEINFO@gmail.com

Sources: 

https://www.facebook.com/Kortne-Stouffer-Remember-Me-587604727928993/

https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/17800

Disappeared “Spirited Away” by Investigation Discovery