Halloween is a night of scares and sweet treats but under the cloak of a mask, it’s also the perfect cover for a crime.
Cindy Song via Unsolved Mysteries
Cindy Song was born in South Korea as Hyun Jong Song. In the mid-nineties, Cindy moved to Virginia, to live with her aunt and uncle to attend school in America. She was accepted into Pennsylvania State University after high school, where she majored in integrative arts, a course that combined engineering, communications and science. She was in her senior year in 2001 and would be graduating in the spring of the following year.
Cindy worked two part-time jobs between classes. The degree she was studying was a student-designed programme, where she created her own curriculum. The course was designed to be difficult, and combining that with multiple jobs, Cindy was disciplined and focused on the goal of graduating.
On the 31st of October, Cindy decided to have a night off from her studies and celebrate the holiday. Cindy and her friends, Stacy Paik and Lisa Kim were set to attend a costume party at Player’s Nite Club on College Avenue. Dressed as a bunny in a white tennis skirt, bunny ears and a tail, she arrived at the party where she met her friends. The trio stayed until 2.00 am the following morning when they moved on to a friend’s apartment to continue the party and play video games.
Cindy was dropped off by her friends at 4.00 am on Thursday the 1st of November, outside of the Park Apartments, on Clinton Avenue, the place she called home. This was the last time they saw their friend, as from this point, Cindy Song disappeared.
Cindy’s roommate returned from visiting family later that day and wasn’t concerned about Cindy not being home; the door was locked, and nothing looked out of place. After three days, her friends became concerned about her lack of contact and called the police on the 4th of November.
Cindy definitely reached her apartment, as her backpack that she had at the party was present. There was also a set of false eyelashes that she had worn with her bunny costume, in her room and her phone was still in her backpack.
It’s believed that Cindy went to a nearby 24-hour store in her costume after she had dropped off her things, as her keys and purse were missing. Investigators checked her phone records and no calls were made, and there was no activity on any of her credit cards. They also read her emails and confirmed there was no suspicious activity there, either.
There were concert tickets set to take place in a couple of days and a receipt for a new computer that was due to be delivered, in Cindy’s room. From all accounts, she was happy and expecting to continue with her life after she got home from the party. The police didn’t believe that she had just run away.
Volunteers searched the nearby woods but there was no trace of Cindy. Because it was 2001, there was no GPS tracking available and no social media to check. It was easy to stay lost in the early Millennium.
A few days after Cindy was reported missing, an eyewitness came forward to tell police that a woman who looked like Cindy was dragged, kicking and screaming into a car, in Philadelphia’s Chinatown district, nearly 200 miles away. The witness said that the woman was forced into the vehicle by a man, who yelled at the witness to leave them alone.
Sketch of the kidnapper in Chinatown via Unsolved Mysteries
In 2003, bank robber and serial killer Hugo Selenski was brought in as a suspect in Cindy’s disappearance. An informant told police that Selenski had abducted a woman, along with his accomplice, Michael Kerkowski, and kept her in a walk-in freezer until she died.
Selenski admitted to abducting Cindy but told investigators that Kerkowski was the one who killed her, and kept the bunny ears she was wearing as a souvenir. Selenski told police that he and his accomplice mistook Cindy for a sex worker and kidnapped her. He said that Cindy’s body was buried in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Hugo Selenski via news.com.au
Police searched Selenski’s home and found multiple bodies buried in his yard, but none of them were Cindy. One of these bodies was Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend, Tammy Fassett. The discovery of Kerkowski’s body meant that investigators hit a dead end with their search for Cindy
Selenski’s yard via news.com.au
There were no other suspects apart from the participant in the attack that happened in Chinatown. Police were unable to prove Selenski’s involvement in Cindy’s kidnapping and he was never charged.
When Cindy’s mother heard the news that her daughter was missing, she travelled from South Korea to aid in the search for her. She kept her daughter’s story alive and generated international coverage of the case.
This is the last photo taken of Cindy Song, on the night before her disappearance.
Cindy Song via news.com.au
19 years later, over 20 folders full of information relating to Cindy’s disappearance remain in Ferguson Township, gathering layers of dust. Cindy’s case remains unsolved and details of her disappearance can be found on the Charley Project.