Crime / Courts

Megan’s story


By Nikki Blankenship

Scioto County Candor

Megan was loved by everyone. She is an all-American girl. She was one of the best people you could ever know, and she loved her son. — Kadie Lancaster.

On April 3, 2013, Megan Lancaster went missing at the age of 25 from Portsmouth. Her Ford Mustang was found in the Rally’s parking lot on Monroe Street. Her son was seven-years-old at the time. Megan’s sister-in-law Kadie Lancaster has been an outspoken advocate for Megan and other missing women since Megan went missing. This month marks five years since Megan’s disappearance, and Kadie says she continues to hold onto the hope that Megan is alive and will return home.
Kadie says that in the five years since Megan’s disappearance, she has been investigating the case with the help of private investigators but has not gotten any assistance from law enforcement.
A sealed affidavit filed by the FBI with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division in Columbus on Aug. 19, 2015, as part of a federal investigation, names several individuals in connection to varied criminal activities including trafficking in narcotics, human trafficking and public corruption. The affidavit, which was released by the Scioto County Candor in December 2017 also makes reference to Megan and another local missing woman.
“On April 3, 2013, a local female went missing after her automobile was discovered parked at local fast food restaurant in Portsmouth, Ohio,” the affidavit reads. “This female was a known prostitute, intravenous drug user and a prostitute employed by (Mike) Mearan.”
Mearan was named as a target of the investigation along with Portsmouth insurance agent Fred Brisker; Ashland, Kentucky car dealer Daren Biggs; convicted narcotics trafficker, Mark Eubanks, of Columbus; Timothy Wayne Mutter, of Franklin Furnace; Richard Glenn, of Portsmouth; Patricia Tsotsos, of Portsmouth; Trent Banks, of Columbus; Kenyatta “Yatta” Connally, of Portsmouth; Dan Schoenberger, of Columbus; Donald Smith, of Columbus; Brett Fluharty, of Milton, West Virginia; and Lindsay Porter, of Portsmouth. There were additional targets of investigation that remained unnamed in the affidavit. The list included an unnamed Scioto County Common Pleas judge, an unnamed state judge, various unnamed members of law enforcement, unnamed staff at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) and various levels of unnamed public officials.
In reference to missing women, the affidavit further states, “On July 17, 2013, another woman utilized in the past by Mearan to engage in prostitution was found dead in the Scioto County area. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as multiple traumas. The investigation is being conducted by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and remains unsolved.”
When asked if the information from the affidavit aligned with information she had gathered or things she knew about Megan, Kadie said she had gathered her own information that pointed to Mearan and had always suspected Megan was a human trafficking victim, which has motivated her to speak out against human trafficking since Megan went missing. She hold vigils and even distributes human trafficking information throughout the community.
“I don’t do this to make Megan look bad. I do this to help bring her home and to help the families of all the other missing women, so they know what to look for, so they know the signs of human trafficking and so they know they too can speak out,” Kadie stated before telling Megan’s story.
Kadie explained that she had known Megan since they were teenagers. According to Kadie, Megan was very social and athletic.
“She had a crazy side, a wild side,” Kadie stated.
Still, she says that Megan did not start down a path towards destruction until she started dating a guy that was getting her into trouble.
“Megan started partying as a teenager,” Kadie explained.
According to Kadie, Megan soon became addicted to drugs. Megan soon had her son and an opiate addiction. According to Kadie, by the time Megan was around 17 she was already engaged in prostitution.
Kadie stated that Megan said she was a vacuum salesperson, employed by Mearan. However, Kadie says Megan was always very honest. It was not long before Megan was saying she was dancing for Mearan, stripping for him and then engaging in prostitution.
When asked how she knew Megan was engaging in these activities for Mearan, Kadie stated, “She would tell me. I tell the truth for a reason. I know Megan would want the truth out there. She would want people to know what he (Mearan) and other people in power are doing.”
Kadie went on to describe specific times in which Megan told her she was working as a prostitute for Mearan. According to Kadie, on one of the instances, she saw Megan and another girl in Walmart wearing lingerie. When she asked what they were doing, Kadie say Megan told her that she was going to meet some men for Mearan and other businessmen as part of a bachelor party.
When asked if she was certain sex was involved, Kadie stated that Megan was never secretive about it.
Looking back on when Megan went missing, Kadie says that just days before she saw Megan arguing with a man in her car in the parking lot of a New Boston grocery store. Kadie said she even called the police because something didn’t seem right.
According to Kadie, the family realized Megan was missing a couple days later when her drug dealer showed up at Megan’s mother’s house. He stated that Megan’s car had been sitting at Rally’s for a couple days and that he had not seen her. He was concerned.
Kadie explained that they went to her car and called the police. She stated that when the police arrived, they told the family to have the car towed to Megan’s mother’s house.
In the days following Megan’s disappearance, Kadie says the family was in a panic.
“That just wasn’t her,” Kadie insisted. “Something was not right. She was in constant contact with her mother. Her son had just had surgery. She had been right there with him the whole time. This just was not Megan.”
Kadie says the family tried to work with the local police.
“We called and called and called the Portsmouth Police Department,” she stated. She added that the family put out flyers and signs, signs which still remain a part of the local landscape.
More importantly, Kadie says the family begged the police to take Megan’s car into evidence. That did not happen until September, according to the search warrant provided by Kadie.
“Any evidence that may have been in there was probably gone by that point, or compromised,” Kadie stated.

Since Megan’s disappearance, Kadie says the family has been through some difficult experiences. Kadie explained that law enforcement has not been cooperative with the family, sending them letters stating that they can’t do their jobs with persistent calls from family and media.

According to public records, former Portsmouth Police Officer Lynn Brewer (retired as of late 2017) even arrested Kadie on persistent disorderly conduct (a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine) after she publicly approached him about Megan’s case, specifically after Kadie says she found Brewer’s phone number in Megan’s contacts. According to Portsmouth Municipal Court records, Kadie was charged on May 18, 2016. She was arrested, jailed and later released on bond for a non-jailable offense.
According to Kadie, the release of the sealed affidavit was a major breakthrough for her family.
“That affidavit, for us, was a big piece of what we needed,” Kadie stated. “It confirmed a lot of what we already knew. There’s a lot of fear of the unknown because honestly, that affidavit paints them (targets of the investigation) worse than we knew they were. But, it also gives us hope that the FBI is involved and looking for her.”
Kadie said that she still believes Megan is alive even after she has been missing for so long.
“I cannot sit here and say Megan’s dead. I can’t,” she stressed. “I have to hold onto some kind of hope for her mother and little boy.”

On the five year anniversary of Megan going missing, the family found that someone had vandalized one of the signs placed in New Boston by spray painting “dead” across it.

Kadie explained that these signs are where Megan’s mother and son go when they need to see or talk to Megan. They go there for Megan’s birthday. They decorate the signs with balloons and flowers. But no matter what people choose to do to what has become a sacred spot for the family, the Lancaster family holds onto their hope.
Kadie further stated that she has spent the last five years working with the families of other missing women from the area, including those missing from Chillicothe and that the information in the affidavit aligns with the information she has gathered and heard about those cases.
She explained that she does believe Megan’s case is related to the other cases and says that the key thread she has found in corruption.
“It’s every branch of law enforcement in the local area, whether because of only one person in the department or because of 10 people,” Kades commented.
Kadie has appeared on several media outlets, speaking about Megan including a documentary that aired on Spike TV. Investigators with that program compiled Megan’s contacts into a “blackbook.” That document is among many in the files she has gathered on Megan’s case.
“We are actively searching for Megan. We love and miss her,” Kadie stated.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Kadie through the Finding Megan Facebook page or by phone at (740) 727-0973.
Attempts have been made to contact Mearan for comment; however, at this time, he has not responded.

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FBI Human Trafficking Affidavit