Crime Junkie - MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: Adrienne Salinas

Episode Date: August 7, 2023

When a promising young woman fails to show up for a Father’s Day celebration in 2013, her dad knows immediately that something is very wrong. And as investigators work to unravel the chaotic timelin...e of the night she went missing, they find no lack of viable persons of interest. But when her case goes ice cold, they’re forced to ask if they’ve been overlooking a monster in their midst.If you have any information about the disappearance and death of Adrienne Salinas in June of 2013... you can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311. Did you know you can listen to this episode ad-free? Join the Fan Club! Visit to view the current membership options and policies.Source materials for this episode cannot be listed here due to character limitations. For a full list of sources, please visit: Don’t miss out on all things Crime Junkie!Instagram: @crimejunkiepodcast | @audiochuckTwitter: @CrimeJunkiePod | @audiochuckTikTok: @crimejunkiepodcastFacebook: /CrimeJunkiePodcast | /audiochuckllcCrime Junkie is hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat. Instagram: @ashleyflowers | @britprawatTwitter: @Ash_Flowers | @britprawatTikTok: @ashleyflowerscrimejunkieFacebook: /AshleyFlowers.AF Text Ashley at +1 (317) 733-7485 to talk all things true crime, get behind the scenes updates, random photos of Chuck, and more! 

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi, Crime Junkies. I'm your host, Ashley Flowers. And I'm Britt. And the story I have for you today is about a young woman who on the verge of finding herself ends up tragically lost instead. This is the story of Adrienne Salinas. … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Rick Salinas is panicking. It's Father's Day and he hasn't been able to reach his daughter, Adrian. Not just today, but yesterday, either.
Starting point is 00:01:01 And even though Adrian is 19 and living out on her own with some friends, there's no way she wouldn't at least call him back, especially now that it's Father's Day. I mean, the two of them are super close since he raised her and her little brother on his own. All the calls he keeps making to Adrian's phone are going straight to voicemail. So he gives one of her roommates, Shania Call. And as soon as she answers, the question practically spills from his mouth. Is Adrienne there? But instead of the answer he's hoping for, his heart plummets. Not only is Adrienne not there now, but she also hasn't been there since Friday night. Well, technically Saturday morning, but like middle of the night kind of Saturday morning. Like, she just left
Starting point is 00:01:43 the house in the middle of the night? Yes, but not alone. According to an episode of People Magazine Investigates called Darkness in the Desert, Shanie tells Rick that Adrienne probably is where she always is when she leaves for a day or two at her boyfriend, Franz. She even saw them leaving together from their apartment during this party
Starting point is 00:02:03 that they were throwing. So for a minute, Rick feels this wave of relief. I mean, he knows Fran and Fran's a good kid. He's been in Adrian's life for all their lives released since the two were in ape grade. So what Shanie says is reassuring enough for Rick to take a breath and just wonder if maybe he's overreacting. He hangs up with Shanie and then obviously calls Fran just to make sure that his daughter really is there and she really is alright. But when he makes that call,
Starting point is 00:02:31 that little reserve of hope that he's clinging on to just drains out of his body. Because Adrian isn't with Fran either. In fact, he doesn't know where she is, and he too has been trying to reach her. But Cheney said they'd left together. Well, they did, and Fran confirms that. He said that he and Adrian did leave together somewhere around 240 in the morning. Because apparently, I guess they got into an argument at the party. Adrian was jealous about Fran talking to other girls. And it was way too chaotic at Adrian's place to talk anything out, like the party had actually gotten pretty wild, so they left and went to Fran's place to talk. I repeat, they left together.
Starting point is 00:03:13 So, sorry, they did, but Fran tells Rick that they didn't actually stay at his place very long, really only like a few minutes. And then I guess Adrian decided that she wanted to go back to her place, back to the party. So they drove back to her place in Tempe. But according to Fran, he didn't make it all the way there. So this is strange, but he says that a few blocks away from her place, she like jumped out of the car
Starting point is 00:03:40 and said that she was gonna walk the rest of the way. And that is the last that he saw of her. So she jumped out of a moving vehicle to walk home. Oh, what am I missing? I don't know if it was moving per se. I get the impression that they were maybe out of stoplight or stop sign or whatever. But I think the whole point is she's still really upset. And so I don't know if this was kind of like, you know, a dramatic teenager move to like test him, you know, will you run after me? Like that, it seems to be just kind of like an escalation of this argument that they were having and she was like, I don't even want to be in this car as you. I'm
Starting point is 00:04:12 just going to walk home. Right. But we know she's not at her place now. So what happened? Well, she isn't there now. But actually, we do know she got back to her place then, because Fran said that he called Adrienne's other roommate Rebecca to tell her about this whole hopping out and walking home thing. And he's like, hey, just give me a call when she gets there. So I know she's home safe. So it's not like he just even pieced out on her, a little like he could have, you know, followed her.
Starting point is 00:04:39 But he calls to say, let me know she at least makes it. And he says that Rebecca did call him back and said Adrienne is home. So I'm going to need to hear that from Rebecca. I mean, same for Rick. As reporting from the state press by Nicholas Mendoza outlines, as soon as he's off the phone with Fran, he jumps into his car, drives straight to Adrienne's place. And when he gets there, Rebecca is actually home and she tells him that, yes, I did call him because I did see Adrienne come back at around maybe 330ish in the morning, just like
Starting point is 00:05:10 Fran said. But Rebecca adds something interesting. She says that Adrian didn't stay there for long. Apparently she charged her phone, packed an overnight bag, and then said she was going to go back to France, and she left in her own car. This is in the middle of the night, after a big party, she's probably not in a state
Starting point is 00:05:34 to drive, I assume. I don't know for sure, it was like I said, a wild party based on other stuff I've kind of put together from earlier that evening, like the fight, her jumping out of the car. Again, I don't know how intoxicated she was if at all But it probably wasn't the best idea. No, so I guess my question is why didn't she just have Fran take her back I'm so confused with the back and forth between their places and the transportation of it all
Starting point is 00:05:56 I mean, I think the problem is there's no rational explanation other than she was upset and wanted him to know it I mean 19 year old me was doing some weird stuff You know what I mean? I was getting engaged so I'm not sure. Oh, yeah, also So yeah, I mean again, I just think she was in a heightened emotional state So you're not necessarily like making them both Responsible decisions. So is dad suspicious of Fran at all like what's their relationship like? Well, no, so Rick isn't suspicious of Fran. He just doesn't see Fran ever hurting his daughter.
Starting point is 00:06:28 And like I said, he's known this kid since he was in middle school. But either way, I mean, he's done trying to figure out where his daughter is on his own. So according to reporting by William Pitts for 12 news, that's when he calls the Tempe police department to report Adrian missing. They agree to meet at Adrian's
Starting point is 00:06:45 apartment to take the report, but when they get there, things get even more confusing. So Rebecca tells them the same thing she told Rick Adrian came home early Saturday morning, 3.30 ish, left again in her car to presumably go back to friends. And when they look, Adrian's car is actually gone. But when they go into her room, they find her car key and everyone swears up and down that she only has one car key. So are the roommates caught in a lie or are they just as confused as everyone else? They're just as confused as everyone else. Like if they wanted to lie, they would just say she had a spare key
Starting point is 00:07:25 or that she wasn't home at all, you know what I mean? Right. And honestly, again, if they were gonna lie, it would have made more sense to say that she didn't come home because there's all this other stuff that doesn't add up with the idea that she packed up to go to France for a couple of days. Like, her purse with all of her cards in it,
Starting point is 00:07:40 like, I mean, we're talking ID bank cards, all of that, which you think she would need if she were gonna go drive somewhere, are there at her apartment. There's also clothes on the floor, which her roommates identify as being the same clothes she was wearing Friday night. But they also say they never saw her in anything but those clothes. And we do know she came back to charge her phone and stuff, but when Rebecca saw her leave, she says she was still in that same outfit. So at some point, she came back again.
Starting point is 00:08:10 I mean, maybe? Like there's totally a world where she could have packed everything up, left, maybe realize she left something behind her...I don't know, Went back to the apartment to grab it and they decided to change clothes at that point before she left for what is this now like a third time. Okay, but then she still left her purse and keys. I'm sorry, I don't think so. I know that's the part that doesn't make sense. It is all so mysterious. It's like they are missing a giant piece to this puzzle. But later that same day, investigators come across a 911 call from the night Adrian went missing that actually could be that missing piece.
Starting point is 00:08:54 It could be the key to finding her. Around 3.45 Saturday morning, a woman had called 911 to report a car driving erratically. The woman who called wasn't her, but she describes how this car sped past her, going way too fast on a tight curve, and actually that car crashed into the median. This wasn't like a quick jump onto the curb kind of thing. Two of the tires were fully blown out. So she says that she stopped to actually check on the driver thinking that they could be injured, but before she could get to the car, it just sped off.
Starting point is 00:09:33 And the description that she provided of the car, as well as the license plate number which she had, are both matches for Adrian's vehicle. So the question becomes, where is that vehicle now? Because according to reporting by NBC News from 2015, it was long gone by the time police arrived at the crash site Saturday morning, like where the woman said that she saw it, crash into the median, when they got there.
Starting point is 00:09:59 It was, again, no idea where it was. So as far as they can tell, no one's even seen it since. How close was this accident to Adrian's apartment, or, I don't know, even friends for that matter? I guess I'm trying to triangulate where all this is happening. That's a good question. I'm thinking it's pretty close. I don't know the exact distance,
Starting point is 00:10:19 but my best guess is like a few minutes away. I mean, I know for sure this is all happening within 10P. And Fran, what I do know actually lives in Scottsdale, which is like, you know, could be a 15 minute drive-ish. Maybe a little bit more. And we know it was her driving her car. Well, I mean, I guess no, but that's kind of what everyone is assuming at this point, just based on the timeline
Starting point is 00:10:41 that they put together so far, because I mean, all of it's tight. Again, what we know is Adrienne left with Fran at 240. Rebecca saw her come back at around 330, then leave again, and then this 911 call comes in at 3.44. So literally less than 15 minutes since she's leaving with a bag or whatever. So after learning this, this is now Sunday evening. Investigators put out a bolo for Adrienne's car. And I'm going to tell you straight up that my So after learning this, this is now Sunday evening. Investigators put out a bolo for Adrian's car. And I'm going to tell you straight up that my source material is a little contradictory
Starting point is 00:11:12 on this next chain of events. Some sources say that Rick and Fran find the car on Sunday evening. Some say that investigators find it Monday morning. But what I know for sure is that whenever it is found, it is only found a few blocks from Adrienne's apartment. And I know that investigators are able to examine it by Monday morning. So they're thinking she'd probably drove the wreck car toward her neighborhood, ditched a few blocks away for whatever reason and then walked home. And that's maybe when she left Turkey and perched their department. Yeah, I think that's what would make left her key and purse there at the apartment. Yeah, I think that's what would make sense.
Starting point is 00:11:47 The one thing I was able to find is whether or not the car was drivable. Again, we know two tires were blown out. And they sped away. Yeah, so maybe that's as far as she could get. And then she was within walking distance from her place. The problem is, after this point, the roommates don't see her come back, or much less like leave for a third time. But you think she has to make it back, right, in order for her key and her clothes to be there, and her personal, I don't know.
Starting point is 00:12:17 Right. All this was going down, I wouldn't say in the middle of the night, but like, very, very early morning, they might not have been around or awake to see or hear her come in and leave. I mean, I guess that's a possibility. I can't really find a clean answer as to when this rager ended or when anyone went to bed. But you gotta think, I mean, if they were still awake, we've already established there's, you know, more than a little drinking going on. So maybe memories or perceptions aren't necessarily at their peak, totally fair. So does finding the car help? Well, about that. Ashley, I know that tone.
Starting point is 00:12:53 I do not like that tone. Well, investigators look through the car. They photograph the car, but they don't actually impound the car or process it for evidence. What do they even do at then? Like I said, they look at it and then they release it to the family, at least according to what I read from William Pitts on 12 News. Well, did they see anything when they looked at it before passing it off? Well, I don't think they saw anything that screened foul play.
Starting point is 00:13:25 Otherwise I assumed then they would have kept it. I mean, in theory, I know. So here's the thing. I know they took some pictures, and I think there's some stuff documented, at least that's what made it into the reporting. So there was a notebook and a blackberry, probably Adrian's blackberry, sitting in the driver's seat. But they don't go through any of it before giving it back to the family.
Starting point is 00:13:48 No, they just document that it's there, because again, they're saying foul play is still TBD. But to be fair, it's not like they're not doing anything, because the same day that they found the car then released it to the family, they obtain what they call exigent records for Adrienne's phone from that night that she went missing. Hmm, that's a new one. What exactly are exigent records? I didn't know either, I had to look it up. Okay, guys.
Starting point is 00:14:17 It's a limited set of phone records that investigators can basically get, I mean, ASAP without a warrant, which I didn't even know was a thing. So what they get basically shows all of the calls that Adrian made and received that night, and they show when she received text messages, although I don't think they show like the contents of those texts. That's what they need to warrant for. Basically some preliminary information.
Starting point is 00:14:41 Yeah. You know what would show the context of those texts though? The black bears sitting in her drivers seat. I know. It doesn't make a ton of sense to me. But I mean, I know they need a warrant for the contents of her records, right? So I'm wondering if maybe they can't just start going
Starting point is 00:15:00 through someone's phone that they come across. Like it could get sticky. But they don't think it's foul play yet. So like, you would watch stick out about finding a missing person. I know. You would also think too, like if you're gonna release it back to her family, I bet her family'd be like,
Starting point is 00:15:14 yeah, go through it. But can they give permission when she's 19 and like owns the phone? I don't know. Either way, they're still able to glean some important information from the exigent records. Like the first thing they notice are the 40 plus calls Adrian made to Fran in those early morning hours.
Starting point is 00:15:34 Okay, thank you for circling around back to Fran because you haven't said anything about investigators interviewing him yet. Yes, because they haven't talked to Fran yet. Uh, what? Yeah. Talking to the boyfriend, however good a vacate is, is like, Missing Girl 101. That's probably taught the same day they cover not giving back the Blackberry. I know, but it's not to say that they don't write, like again, they're still trying to figure
Starting point is 00:15:59 out what's going on. They know Dad talked to him. They actually do track him down on Mond. So I mean, within quick succession. And when they track him down, he's like in a park hanging up, missing persons fires for Adrian. And when they ask him to come with him for questioning, he agrees, zero hesitation.
Starting point is 00:16:14 And he is really up front with them. He's also devastated, early seems to be. And he says the same thing that he told others about them fighting, them leaving together, driving back to her place together, her hopping out, he didn't see her after that. And he says that he just went home and went to bed, and then he woke up Saturday to just a ton of missed calls from her.
Starting point is 00:16:36 And maybe more significantly, he also woke up to a text from her. This was from 4.43 in the morning. And that text said that she was coming over again. 4.43, but if she's in that accident around 3.45, that doesn't add up. I know. And we know it was 4.43.
Starting point is 00:16:56 Like he showed them the message. They can see what her calls and text stop. Like, yeah, they confirmed this is true. Yeah, Franless and see whatever they want. He is telling the truth. There is a text from exactly 443 from her saying she's coming over. Okay, then what has she been doing for an hour?
Starting point is 00:17:12 I mean, we know Fran's place isn't within walking distance, but what year is this? Like, childhood internet, the Blackberry era gives me some of my preference, but it was 2013 and this happened. Okay, yeah, 2013. So we're in the Blackberry era, but did the greater Uber period even begin by then?
Starting point is 00:17:30 If so, what was it even like in Tempe? Even now, at that time of day, it's super tough to get a Uber. Yeah, I know. I can't remember being Chicago around this time and getting an Uber and it being like very new to me. So I don't know if it was like super prevalent. I don't know if it was being used a lot in tempi.
Starting point is 00:17:48 If she requested one, if that's a thing like, as far as I can tell, there's no record of anything like that. Okay, I feel like I've broken record at this point, but you know what could really help them figure this out? Dude, I know the black guy. But this whole blackberry situation gets even worse though, because when a detective realizes the next day that the car hasn't been processed, they're like, oh, like, okay, we actually
Starting point is 00:18:10 got to get that back. So I'm wondering if it got released accidentally because they seem all of a sudden like, oh man, we probably needed that. Like just kidding. Yeah. So they go to get it. This is Tuesday now, just a day after releasing it. So it's actually not too long.
Starting point is 00:18:24 It's like we're missing weeks of time. The problem is, when they go to get it, the notebook and the blackberry are just straight up gone. Well, yeah, that's what happens when you don't secure evidence from day one. But I mean, the car was released to her family, so they would have to stop, right? Just go get it from them. Well Adrian's mom says she has the notebook, but no one has the blackberry.
Starting point is 00:18:48 And there 100% sure it was there. I mean, they took pictures of it. Well, then, who the fuck took it out? I don't know, because as weird as this sounds, I don't know who I'll had access to the car. I'm not sure investigators do a whole lot to figure that out. So they just never end up finding it. Which, Ashley, all of this was preventable.
Starting point is 00:19:11 Yeah, I mean, it looks bad. There's no way around it. But to me, I'm like, this doesn't seem like an innocent oopsie. Like, it seems intentional. Right? Like like who had access I don't know I don't I to me I'm clearly missing something super critical because the phone was there You take pictures of it you release it the phone is gone so much of like that night and the contents of her I don't know like it seems important It seems like maybe something someone took who could have taken it seems so significant it does But only to us, apparently. What I will say is that even though the Blackberry is gone,
Starting point is 00:19:50 there is still hope. Maybe they can still work with the exigent records they have, because while almost all the outgoing calls are to fran, there's one that's not. And this one might turn out to be the most important call of all. According to that 2015 reporting from NBC News, this call was made a little after 420 Saturday morning. So this is about 25 minutes before she sends that text to Fran saying that she's coming back. And the call she makes was to a local cab company.
Starting point is 00:20:26 Ah, the olden days Uber. Yes. So obviously investigators want to go talk to this cab company like yesterday to figure out if they took a fair who the driver was where she went, all of it. So they contact them and they find out it's kind of this family gig. It's owned by a guy named Thomas Simon Senior
Starting point is 00:20:43 and his son Thomas Simon Jr. And his son, Jr. is one of the drivers. And just for clarity, sake, when I refer to Tom from here on out, I'm referring to Thomas Simon Jr. The son. If I need to talk about the dad, I'll say Sr. whatever. So anyways, Tom confirms that he was the one who'd been in contact with Adrian that morning, so investigators decide to interview him. In… an unusual way is how I would put it, I'm not sure I've ever seen this before,
Starting point is 00:21:12 but basically what they do is they set up a call with both Tom and his dad Tom Sr. on the line. And Tom Sr. is in his office, but Tom Jr. the son is driving passengers to the Grand Canyon. Wait. Yeah. He's just driving passengers while he's being interviewed. By police. About a missing girl that was probably in his cab on a conference call. When is this page of the investigators manual taught?
Starting point is 00:21:46 What? I don't know if they were trying to just make it happen as quickly as possible, which I can kind of appreciate, but I feel like you lose a lot of control in a situation like this. The other part I can't decide is, is this a crime junkie's cab ride dream or the ride from hell?
Starting point is 00:22:04 Because can you imagine being in the back seat on one end of the conversation? While you're being driven not to even just like go get dinner, but to this like quite literally the Grand Canyon, a super remote area in the middle of nowhere and a guy's being interviewed about a missing girl who's in control of your vehicle. Right, I mean, on one hand, you're like,
Starting point is 00:22:23 ooh, literally inserted into an active investigation. But also, like you said, the cab driver of the cab you are currently in heading to the Grand Canyon is being questioned about the disappearance of a person that was in his cab. In his cab? Yeah, and I kind of, like, again, I want you to be cool and be like, oh, I'd be like, taking notes in what I,
Starting point is 00:22:41 but I think I would be panicking in real life and I would be like, get me a stop-drop and roll out of the car, but also where you gonna roll to, you're in the middle of nowhere. I've driven out to the Grand Canyon, there's nothing. I still can't get over the conference call though. Like, I'm so confused.
Starting point is 00:22:55 Yeah, so this is how they decide to do it. They do this conference call. And when they talk to him, according to an episode of the Unresolved Docu series from local media outlet Arizona's family, Tom says, yeah, he talked to Adrian that morning. He agreed to meet up with her at this AMPM that's a few blocks away from her apartment. And he warned her that he wasn't close. Basically, he's like, listen, I'm finishing up this other fair.
Starting point is 00:23:20 It's going to be about a half hour before I get there. And she apparently said she was fine with that. She was just gonna wait. So he says, as he got close, he called to reconfirm their ride. And when he called, Adrian said that she actually wasn't there yet, but she would start walking that way. Oh, walking that way from where?
Starting point is 00:23:38 Well, he says he doesn't know. I'm assuming from her apartment, just based on, again, what we know, the timeline her going back and forth, she had to have gone back to her apartment. We know that, and we know this is closed, so again, all assumption. The problem is, when Tom pulled into the parking lot just minutes later, he says Adrian wasn't there. He parked, he waits a bit, he tries calling her, doesn't get an answer, calls a couple more times, still
Starting point is 00:24:06 no answer. And he says eventually he got out of his cab, just walked around a bit, had a smoke, but after waiting for about 10 minutes he figured he got stood up, so he left. Finish his night, the way he always does, drives to his dad's house, dropped off the lease money, and went home and went to sleep. What about Arian's phone records? Does the story match up with those? Like, we know that she called him once. That's how we got here, but what about any incoming calls from him? Yeah, they're there. It all matches up. Really? Yeah.
Starting point is 00:24:37 Not gonna lie, that's not the answer I was expecting. So, okay, phone records line up. What about surveillance footage? I mean, A AMP is like a convenience store, right? Like, they would have security cameras. They do? And honestly, it's a pretty comprehensive coverage at that. Covers like pretty much the whole parking lot. So naturally investigators get that footage and even that backs up Tom's story as well.
Starting point is 00:25:00 They see him pull in, they see him sit there, they see him get out, walk around, have a smoke, they see him get back in the cab, drive away, and the whole time, Adrian is nowhere in sight. So this seemed so promising, but I mean as quickly as they were on to this and thinking this was the missing piece of the puzzle, this lead just starts fizzling out. Well, until maybe it isn't. It unfizzles? It unfizzles big time.
Starting point is 00:25:28 Because within days, investigators get an interesting tip. So remember how Tom was with passengers when he took that conference call? I want to call it interrogation, but maybe just questioning. Actually, I'm obsessed with it. How could I forget it? Well, one of those passengers was supremely weirded out by the whole thing. Surprise, surprise.
Starting point is 00:25:53 What is a surprise is that they weren't just weirded out about the conversation that the driver was having, though I'm sure that was disturbing enough. According to that People Magazine investigates episode, it's what Tom did after he hung up the phone. How he acted, that really weirded them out, because it was bizarre. Go on. Well, to start, the passenger claims
Starting point is 00:26:19 that his overall demeanor was just sketched, like super stressed out, which, to be fair, being interviewed by investigators about a missing girl who you might have like last had contact with, is stressful. But once he was off the call, before they even got to their destination, he pulls over to the side of the road and starts rifling around in his trunk. Oh hell no. If I'm those passengers and I'm still in the car after that call, nope, this is what I'm gone. See ya.
Starting point is 00:26:54 I think they wanted to, but like I said, I don't know if you've been to the Grand Canyon, but there's stretches of the drive where there is nothing and no one, there's nowhere to go. Embryrd, I haven't even gotten to the scariest part yet. So he's rifling through the trunk. And the passenger reports that as he's doing this, he proceeds to pull out what the passenger swears is a hacksaw. And then he just starts mumbling to himself,
Starting point is 00:27:25 saying something like, hey, how did that get in there? I don't even know how to respond to that. That is. The only answer is Fulbadi Chels, because that is terrifying. Yeah, I mean, how could he not know he was driving around with a hacksaw? I mean, it's in his cab.
Starting point is 00:27:42 And regardless, why would you let the people who overheard his missing girl conference call know about a hacksaw, I mean, it's in his cab. And regardless, why would you let the people who overheard his missing girl conference call know about a hacksaw? So again, like chills through and through for me. It all seems so sinister, and I know this is gonna sound weird, but what the passenger's tell the investigator is that they got the impression
Starting point is 00:28:04 that when he found it, he was like truly genuinely flustered that he found a hacksaw in his trunk. So they didn't feel like he was like, you know, showing this hacksaw like randomly to threaten them. He was just surprised. I guess. But to me, I'm like, what made you immediately go to your trunk to begin with? Now whatever the reason, he went to his trunk, whatever the reason the hacksaw was in there.
Starting point is 00:28:31 I mean, this is all strange enough that according to reporting by William Pitts for 12 news, within a few days investigators put Tom under surveillance. And a few days after that, they asked him to sit for a polygraph, which he actually declined. He says he doesn't trust those things. I mean, same, but I'm a Kremlin Q. It's his excuse. I mean, my first thought is, is he experienced with the criminal justice system? Does he have a record? So this is what straight, as far as I can tell, he doesn't. Though it's worth noting his dad has a record, so that could have influenced
Starting point is 00:29:05 his decision. I mean, he may have threw his dad at interactions with law enforcement, or again, know that polygraphs are kind of BS. He also has a lawyer, apparently, because his lawyer advises him not to cooperate anymore, so maybe his lawyer told him not to. Well, but this guy's already layered up. I mean, that's kind of telling, right? Yeah, I mean, I guess most people don't just have like an attorney, right away, but this guy's already layered up. I mean, that's kind of telling, right? Yeah, I mean, I guess most people don't just have like an attorney, right away, but here's the thing. I don't know the succession of when all this is happening. To be fair, if someone called me and was like,
Starting point is 00:29:33 you were the last person to talk to a girl that was missing, it's a crime junkie rule. I'd probably get a lawyer. So I don't want to like necessarily fault him for following the rules, which we have so cautiously set out right and I mean It's not bad advice for a guy who drives around getting surprised by his own hacksaws to a Swell for that guy. Yeah, but here's a thing investigators aren't just about to let him like clam up Maybe get rid of potential evidence
Starting point is 00:30:01 So they come back real soon with search warrants, some for his apartment, for his cab, and for his DNA. DNA, why are they taking this DNA? To be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe they can compare things to Adrian's car. Maybe, you know, I know the one that got contaminated when they didn't process it right away. Really? That's, that's the one. But what I will say is again, that's, I was just throwing that out there. It's very possible that they're asking for this in case she was ever found, and there's some kind of physical evidence on her.
Starting point is 00:30:33 Who knows? If he died, if he moved to another state, it'd be a lot harder to get. You want to get it now while you can. So they bring him down to the station for a buckle swab, which provides an opportunity for investigators to see if maybe be Hill talk then. And also just to observe him.
Starting point is 00:30:50 And believe is that become an experience for everyone involved? I don't know that I can properly convey the utter weirdness of this interview. I mean, in the beginning, like Tom's handcuffed and shirtless, shoeless too. And he's in this interrogation room by himself just waiting. So he starts playing Hackie's sack with this red solo cup. You can paint such a picture. Thank you, thank you, thank you. But I mean, truly, I mean, the whole time, I mean, his demeanor is just so strange, even once the interrogators come into the room. Like, the best way I can describe it is that's the whole time. I mean, his demeanor is just so strange, even once the interrogators come into the room. Like, the best way I can describe it
Starting point is 00:31:27 is he's acting like a child who feels like he's being picked on by a teenager. He's angry. He's also a little embarrassed, like his feelings are hurt or something, and it's all just, it's just very odd for a grown man. And then once they actually take the buckle swab, he gets straight up hostile.
Starting point is 00:31:48 He starts yelling at them. As the unresolved docuseries shows in an episode titled Faces in a Crowd, he calls one of them a f***ing creature and tells them they're f***ing holes and that he hates them all. But just to confirm, he's not under arrest. No, I mean, he's only in custody because they have a warrant for his DNA.
Starting point is 00:32:08 So once they're finished getting that sample, they have to let him go. Well, they had a warrant for his apartment in his cap. I mean, do they find anything there, anything more worrisome than a surprise hacksaw at least? They don't. And they don't even find evidence of any kind of cleanup either. I mean, this dude's like a messy guy
Starting point is 00:32:25 and he lives in a super messy apartment. His cab maybe isn't quite as messy, but I definitely wouldn't call it clean. And through all of that, there's literally nothing that ties him to Adrian or her disappearance. I don't even think they find the infamous hacksaw. Whoa, now the hacksaw is gone?
Starting point is 00:32:44 Yeah. That seems even more suspicious to me. I mean, if he had a hacksaw. Whoa, now the hacksaw is gone? Yeah, that seems even more suspicious to me. I mean, if he had a hacksaw around the time of her disappearance, okay, not great, but okay. But now this hacksaw is gone, like he got rid of it by the time his stuff is searched. I mean, I find that more than a little bit problematic. Oh, same, like to me, this is, it's circumstantial, but it's like, we know what happened.
Starting point is 00:33:07 I would definitely be asking him about it. Well, and the thing is, he's been under police surveillance. I mean, when did he get rid of it? How did he get rid of it? It's a bit of a riddle, isn't it? And I don't really have an answer for the whereabouts of the surprise Haxa. If he still got it, and then disposes of it later, I don't think they know because
Starting point is 00:33:27 as far as I can tell, they don't keep him under surveillance for long. But even though they collect the DNA, they let him go, they take away the surveillance, this guy ends up right back on their radar, not too much longer later. Because like two weeks after the DNA sample or deal, Tempe PD gets another tip about this guy. It's a little bit of a game of telephone, but here's what happens. A woman calls in and says that her cousin, who works at the apartment complex, Tom lives was doing some kind of maintenance work outside when he heard a woman screaming from inside Tom's apartment. And to him, it sounded like someone was trying to cover this girl's mouth with their hand
Starting point is 00:34:19 or muffle the screams in some way. And when this cousin turned down his music to try and hear what was going on, the music inside Tom's apartment got turned up to like max volume, which is when you'd call the police, but that's not what happened. It seems super messed up, because I don't think this woman's tip comes while this was happening, or even right after. Like it's not a 911 call. I think it's just a call to a tip line that she makes. So it seems like
Starting point is 00:34:47 Basically what happens that her cousin mentions this to her later when they're just like hanging out and she's the one who feels like hey, maybe someone should know about this. So it's not even super clear when this screaming incident actually happened All we know is that it happens sometime after Adrian disappeared. Obviously, after hearing this investigators go to Tom's apartment as soon as they can, but surprise surprise, he doesn't want to let them in. Like those bridges have been burned.
Starting point is 00:35:17 And when they try and follow up with this woman who originally made the tip, probably hoping she'll help them get in touch with her cousins so they can get more information, maybe get a warrant, they can't reach that woman again. And actually, they never reach her. So by the way, if you're listening, police would love to talk to you again and you might be the only person who could move this forward. But because they can't, this tip, like the hacksaw tip, goes nowhere. And I can't help but wonder who that woman was that was heard screaming or what happened in her.
Starting point is 00:35:51 Ashley, come on. Couldn't it have been Adrienne? She hasn't been found yet. It could have been, again, the question is like, well then, if she was still alive a while after she'd died the evening she went missing, is she still alive now? Where has he been keeping her or where did he keep her? It doesn't make sense. And again, if not her, then who?
Starting point is 00:36:10 But because they never were able to get back in contact with that woman who left the tip, this is kind of where things stall out for a while. I mean, there are massive searches for Adrian, Tempe PD even gets the FBI involved to assist in the investigation, and her family and friends do everything they can to keep attention on her disappearance, like holding fundraisers for reward money, they go door-to-door asking
Starting point is 00:36:30 if anyone had seen her, investigators have been interviewing everybody from the party, but there is just no sign of her anywhere. Now on July 21st, just over a month after Adrienne disappeared, 21st, just over a month after Adrian disappeared, Tempe gets hit with a massive rainstorm, like the worst of the summer. It causes major flash flooding in the foothills of a nearby mountain range, the superstition mountains, which drain down to an area called Weeks Wash. According to another episode of the Unresolved Docuseries called A Secret in the Desert, there is enough flooding in Weeks Wash to quote uproot trees and move cars, and to unearth a buried body. And unearth a buried body it does. Because just a few weeks later, on August 6th, investigators in Tempe get a call from the
Starting point is 00:37:22 Apache Junction Police Department. They have jurisdiction over much of Weeks Wash, and they tell the Tempe Police that a local property owner discovered the remains of a female. So how far is this Weeks Wash place from where Adrienne lived in Tempe? I mean, it's probably like 40 minutes or so. So what you're not saying is if this is Adrienne, she didn't just end up here by accident or by her own volition. Well, most certainly not. No. Are there any obvious signs of cause of death?
Starting point is 00:37:56 No, I mean, the problem is that by the time they're finding this, because of the length of time that she was probably out there, because of the flooding. The remains are too decomposed, at least to tell just from looking at her. And I mean, again, to reiterate, the remains aren't even whole when they're found. I mean, it's grim, but basically they're found without a skull. And that could be from decomposition. It could be from animal activity.
Starting point is 00:38:22 It doesn't necessarily mean that she was left that way. So, it doesn't necessarily mean that a hacksaw was used. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. So, anyway, the autopsy is performed on August 9th, and by the 15th DNA analysis confirms what everybody already suspects that the remains do belong to Adrian. Now, the forensic pathologist who performs the autopsy isn't able to determine a cause of death, because again, the remains are just too decomposed. So without that, and without more information, he classifies the manner of death as undetermined. And it's not totally clear when investigators classify the case as a homicide?
Starting point is 00:39:03 They say on August 15th that it is, but then they clarify in August 16th that it's yet to be determined. But again, I don't know the back and forth, and I mean from the circumstances, I don't think anyone is doubting what they're dealing with. And no matter what they're saying, I mean, they're certainly putting the dedicated resources of a homicide investigation into the case. Like, from the jump, they send over 100 people out to search a four mile stretch of Week's Wash,
Starting point is 00:39:31 which is no small feat. At least once, according to reporting by Katherine Holland, the search has to be temporarily called off due to, quote, excessive heat and encounters with numerous rattlesnakes. Holy s**t. And the worst part is that these searches don't give them any more information on Adrienne's disappearance or her death. They can't determine with any certainty how long she'd been out there, or even how long
Starting point is 00:39:56 she'd been dead. But the forensic pathologist does find that the condition of her remains is consistent with the amount of time that she'd been missing. So, is it possible that she was alive for some amount of time after her disappearance? I mean, definitely not the whole time, but yeah, we don't know, we just don't know. I mean, all I can think about are those screams coming from Tom's apartment. I know me too, and I mean, I assume they're thinking about that as well.
Starting point is 00:40:23 That's got to be in the back of their minds. And here's the next thing I don't know exactly where this fits into the timeline, but I know that at some point investigators obtain Tom's phone records from around the time Adrian disappeared. Like I mean we know that they already have a pretty good idea of his interactions with her from reviewing her records, but they can find out potentially more with his right like was he calling when anyone else was there any unusual activity? And there is something that stands out to them immediately. So the morning of Adrian's disappearance around the time when Tom says that he went home and went to sleep, his phone is shut off.
Starting point is 00:40:58 And it stays shut off for a solid 12 hours. And sure that might not be weird for some people, but we all have our habits and our routines. And when they look at the history of his phone records, that's not something he does always when he gets home after a long night. As far as they can tell, it's not part of his routine at all.
Starting point is 00:41:21 It happens just like kind of on this one-off occasion. But as suspicious as that is, I suspect as Tom is. Investigators are no further along in determining what happened when Adrian's family marks the anniversary of her disappearance with a vigil on June 15th of 2014. They don't have any more answers than they had the previous summer. But then, less than a year later, in February of 2015, investigators get another tip. I am going to lose it if this is another tip about Tom too. It's not about Tom. This tip is from a man named Keen. And Keen thinks that investigators should look into his friend, or his former friend, an alleged
Starting point is 00:42:07 serial killer named Brian Patrick Miller. And you guys, we actually covered this guy in our April 2023 headlines episode. So if you're curious, you can check that out for some, you know, more in-depth information. And you might have already heard of this guy by another name, his nickname, the Zombie Hunter. Though what now? Yeah, the Zombie Hunter. So just a month before, he'd been charged with a couple of grisly murders in Phoenix of young women that he had abducted when they were out alone in the evening.
Starting point is 00:42:38 Now mind you, all of those were from like way back in the early 90s. And Keen, the guy that's now calling in, I mean initially he was outraged at his friends arrest. Like Brian sure, he might be a strange dude. But he knew him. I mean they met due to their shared love of steampunk. Steampunk, what exactly? Steampunk, so if you don't know what it is, again,
Starting point is 00:43:00 this is something I didn't either, I had to look it up. But I still, I don't 100% get it. The best I can describe, it's like retro futurism set in the Victorian era? That's very specific. Okay. It's a vibe for sure, but strange dude or not, when Brian's arrested, Keen was sure that his friend wasn't a serial killer, which he explains in an interview in an episode of the unresolved docuseries called the zombie hunter.
Starting point is 00:43:29 And when he heard someone mention Adrian's name in a crowd of gockers that gathered at Brian's house after his arrest, just like watching police put a crime scene tape, he kind of remembered her case. I think mostly because she reminded him a little bit of his sister. So for some reason, this spurs keen to do kind of a deep dive into Brian's social media. I guess I think he's trying to prove to himself that his friend had nothing to do with Adrian's dad. But the more he dove in, the more convinced he ends up becoming that maybe Brian did have
Starting point is 00:43:59 something to do with it. And I'll try and simplify how he makes this connection the best I can because it's a little tangled. So without getting too far into Brian's history of violence, just no, it is deep and it's disturbing. Like remember that both of the homicides he was charged with, the women had allegedly been abducted while they were out alone in the evening. Both of their bodies were found soon after their disappearances. They were horrifically
Starting point is 00:44:25 mutilated, and interestingly enough, one of the women was actually decapitated. And we know that Adrian's remains were found without a head. Right. But again, not necessarily through intentional decapitation. We don't know one way or the other. So anyways, Keen's going through this. He sees on Brian's social media that Brian had been intempi the weekend Adrian disappeared and not just intempi, but like a mile from her place. And he couldn't believe his eyes when he's seeing this. And then he was even more shocked when he came across a post of Brian's about going for
Starting point is 00:45:00 an early morning, like pre-dawn bike ride the morning of June 15. The morning Adrian disappeared. Which would have put him out, basically in Adrian's neighborhood, around the time she is walking toward the AMPM alone. On top of that, Ken knew that Brian was super familiar with Week's wash and the superstition mountains. He used to actually work at a Renaissance fair in that area every single year. Add to this, the fact that Brian was known to be really bitter about women, and he vented a lot about it, drove around in an old cop car, splattered with fake blood and called himself the zombie hunter.
Starting point is 00:45:47 And keen things, it might just be too many coincidences. I mean, I kinda agree with him, that is so many coincidences. But just as a side note, what the f*** is it with serial killers giving themselves nicknames recently? Not cool, bro. I know, I think we had the Hannibal. Yeah, that was in the Lena Reyes Getty's episode in the fan club recently. And actually, this is like a good point. I was listening to something else.
Starting point is 00:46:14 I don't remember what it was. And it was someone from the FBI talking. And they were saying like, we always encourage the media not to give these guys nicknames because this often like spurs people makes them think that they're gonna be famous and you see this as proof, right? Like nobody gave him this name,
Starting point is 00:46:33 but himself because he wanted to be what has been put out there by media. Well, and I kind of also think personally that it fuels the hysteria, like we see a lot like in a smiley face killer, you know, like right It kind of gives a name to something that people can be afraid of yeah And you know as far as naming goes I bet a whole bunch of crime junkies out there are saying But guys you have to have three or more victims to be a serial killer and you know
Starting point is 00:46:58 We know from the early 90s. He is is looked at for two and you're not wrong But authorities believe that he was responsible for at least one other death, a girl who disappeared near his house in 1992, and he basically admitted as much according to his ex-wife. All in all, suffice it to say, I mean, given the brutality of his known crimes, they don't think for a minute that those were his only victims. So I think
Starting point is 00:47:25 that's why they're calling him a serial killer. As people magazine investigates lays out in their episode on this case, investigators in Adrienne's case take Keen's tips seriously. They bring him in and interview him. They even have a search warrant served on Brian's house looking for any evidence connecting him to Adrienne. And even in doing so, they're not able to find anything that connects him to her death. Maybe the evidence just wasn't detectable? I mean, there's a pretty long gap of time between when she went missing and when they're looking at the sky.
Starting point is 00:47:58 There is, and so it's possible that anything that was there is gone, but there are other things beyond the lack of, I don't get, I don't even know what they're looking for, DNA something else. But there's stuff that makes them have their doubts. Like the fact that there's no evidence that Adrian was attacked with a knife. Again, they would have kind of expect even in just skeletal remains to see some of that, like marking from a knife, which they did not see in Adrian's case, and what we know from at least the known past crimes that Brian has responsible for is
Starting point is 00:48:31 that knives are what he used. And they like pulled his phone records too and they find that his phone didn't ping anywhere near a week's wash in the days following Adrian's disappearance. So that's where things stand today. Adrian's death and disappearance still remain a mystery, and investigators don't have any official suspects, though they also say they haven't ruled anyone out as a person of interest. Not Fran, not Tom, not Brian, though I don't necessarily even like
Starting point is 00:49:05 lumping Fran in with them because I don't see him nearly at all in the way I see Tom and Brian. As recently as July of 2022, they were still actively working the case and following up on new leads. So you know the drill crime junkies. Someone out there has got to know something. If that's you, if you have any information about the disappearance and death of Adrian Salinas in June of 2013, you can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or you can call the 350-8311.
Starting point is 00:49:58 You can find all of the source material for this episode on our website, And you can follow us on Instagram at crimejunkiepodcast. We'll be back next week with a brand new episode. Crime Junkie is an audio-check production. So, what do you think, Chuck? Do you approve? Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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