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Kristal escapes Catfish’s but has red marks on ankles and wrists. She found “disgusting” photos while there. A few weeks later she disappears.

Be Scofield is a prominent cult reporter whose work is cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, People, Daily Beast, The Guardian and has led to coverage on Netflix, Dr. Phil, VICE, CNN and elsewhere. -> Follow on Facebook

November 15th, 2021

On June 28th, 2016, Kristal Reisinger pretended to fall asleep at Catfish’s house and then waited for him to fall asleep. It was 10 a.m. and he had apparently been up all night. Kristal had been drugged and held captive there for the last three days. She quietly picked up the pieces of her phone and put them back together as Catfish had disassembled and tampered with it. Kristal slowly crept outside and called her boyfriend “Ethan” who rushed over and picked her up.

This is what Kristal told Ethan and her friend “Mark” the day she escaped. “Kristal had visible red marks on her wrists and ankles. She was really scared,” Mark told me during an interview. He saw her that night at the apartment. Ethan told me he remembers seeing bruises and marks all over Kristal’s legs. “I’ve never seen her that scared. She told me he held her there, he wouldn’t let her leave, he took apart her phone,” Ethan said. She also told him she thought she had been raped.

As reported in Part II, Beth the house cleaner for Catfish, told me she walked in to the house one time right after Catfish had been zip tied by his knees, ankles and wrists for the weekend by Brendan Pulver.

Kristal had “visible red marks on her wrists and ankles,” according to Mark. “Catfish had red marks all over his wrists, ankles and knees,” after Brendan tied him up according to Beth. Brendan told the podcast he was at Catfish’s during the time that Kristal said she had been drugged and raped but he said he merely helped Kristal take out the trash. But Brendan acknowledges being there at the time and place in question. Two events Brendan was at the location of, two people left with visible red marks on their wrists and ankles.

“Kristal had visible red marks on her wrists and ankles.”

Kristal’s landlord Ara Macdonald saw her around July 1st, just a few days after she escaped from Catfish’s. “Kristal told me she was raped at a party,” Ara told me. “She was a complete basket case, she never said she was going to press charges, she was going to try and get a rape kit but never did because she was scared.” She said Kristal told her, “you think people are your friends and then something like this happens.”

Ethan told me Catfish made Kristal put a pistol to her head and pull the trigger while she was drugged and held captive. There were no bullets in the gun, however. “She was standing in front of a mirror and Catfish was fucking with her, telling her she was dead,” Ethan said.

Kristal told her boyfriend she had discovered “incriminating and disgusting photos” at Catfish’s but wouldn’t tell him of what. Catfish had been trying to get Kristal to move into one of his rooms, and she was going through his stuff in the closet. “She stole a plastic binder page that was filled with dozens of pills, each in their own tiny pocket,” Ethan said. He thought they were Klonopin or something similar. Kristal also showed Ethan a pink or blue laptop she says Catfish had given to her, but Ethan suspected she may have stolen it from him.

Kristal told her boyfriend she had discovered “incriminating and disgusting photos” at Catfish’s.

Kristal didn’t have a car, so she had asked a friend for a ride to Catfish’s. In the podcast, the friend described what happened. “There’s a bag of drugs just sitting on the ground of the restroom floor,” he said. He got freaked out about being at Catfish’s and told Kristal he was going to leave. When he saw Kristal several days later, she told him Catfish held her captive. “That night you brought me there, this guy drugged me and hid my phone from me and wouldn’t let me leave and it was this whole crazy ordeal,” he says Kristal told her.

Catfish John Keenan told the police he and Kristal had merely “drank wine and smoked marijuana.” However, a friend of his told the podcast that they were doing meth together. “[Catfish] told me himself that [Kristal] had been over there. He said he’d done a bunch of meth with her the night before…he sent her a video of all the meth he had bought, because she was a user of that, and lured her over.”

How Kristal was drugged is unknown, but she thought three people were involved in her rape.

For the next two weeks, Ethan took care of Kristal until she disappeared. Around July 10th or 11th, they got into an argument because Kristal hadn’t slept in four days. He told me he pleaded with her to sleep but she was in a manic state, often “laughing hysterically.” Another friend of Kristal’s who saw her in those last few days also described her as being “very manic.” Ethan suspected she was on meth and knew she had been taking pills and drinking. Kristal asked him to leave so he did. The deputy who spoke to Ethan when she disappeared wrote, “[Ethan] stated Kristal stated she was going to walk to the mountains and die.”

“Catfish said he’d done a bunch of meth with her the night before.”

Ethan said Kristal was Bipolar. Another close friend of hers also confirmed this. Kristal’s neighbor in the apartments told the deputy that she was “very up and down in terms of personality,” and that the last time he saw her a few weeks prior she seemed to be in a “very sad and depressed mood.” Kristal’s mother had schizophrenia and was institutionalized, and Kristal suffered from trauma in her childhood. “The drugs had a serious impact on her mental health,” Ethan told me. She often stayed up all night or for several days in a row, he said.

One reason Kristal’s child was with the father, Eli, is that she was unstable, Ethan said. He described one incident when Kristal went on a vision quest with her daughter in the woods, possibly in Arizona, and someone found her nearly starved to death several days later, having visions.

Kristal’s landlord Ara found a cow skull with wax dripped on it in her apartment. Ethan said Kristal was deeply into the occult and into Madame Blavatsky and the theosophical society. She also studied Tarot. “She’d move her hands and wave her fingers in the air for hours doing rituals and mudras,” he said. Kristal’s adopted father Rodney said she’d meditate for many hours a day in the yard.

“I was annoyed and upset with her,” Ara, her landlord, told me. “She’d only been there for one month and she was late on rent again.” Despite being section 8 housing and Kristal only owning $50 a month in rent, she struggled to pay it. Kristal had lost her job, was broke and was strung out on drugs, she said. Several friends told me she was using meth, heroin, ketamine, pills and other substances. Ethan told me she had prescriptions for Adderall and Klonopin and would abuse them. She was also taking the pills she had stolen from Catfish.

Kristal had lost her job, was broke and was strung out on drugs

“No one wanted her in the apartment building,” Ara told me. “Having Dready Brian and other druggies up there…Everyone was furious at her and needed the noise to stop.” The last voice messages from Ara to Kristal involved a full-length mirror she had broken, asking Kristal to clean up glass that was everywhere.

A current photo of Kristal Reisinger’s former apartment

After not hearing from Kristal for several weeks, Ara became concerned when she saw the box fan was still on in the window and the lights were on. She called the sheriff’s office and filed a police report which is dated July 30th. “I’m afraid I’m going to find her dead in her apartment,” she told Deputy Tyler. It was only after Ethan also called in to report Kristal missing that the deputy finally came out.

“We found her purse, but never found her key,” Ara told me. She and Deputy Tyler also found her computer with her phone on top and her tobacco. Her door was also locked. It looked like she had briefly stepped out and would return any minute. The neighbor Jeremy loaned them a charger, and they listened to the voicemails. “The last ones were all Catfish,” Ara said. “Catfish, Catfish, Catfish…maybe he was trying to get ahold of her.”

IN AUGUST, JUST WEEKS AFTER Kristal disappeared, one of Catfish’s neighbors saw a disturbing scene. During an interview, “Jeff,” told me he was driving home with two friends who had just picked him up from work at the Crestone Brewery. It was around 9 p.m.

“We saw Catfish and Dready Brian standing outside of Josh’s van in Catfish’s driveway,” Jeff told me. “It was pouring rain and they had two shovels leaned up against the van. And a white comforter wrapped around something and it was duct taped closed.”

He recognized the van. He told me had seen “Jack” driving the van on many occasions prior to that night. Jeff didn’t see Jack, however, only Brian and Catfish standing in the driveway hovering over a body-sized object wrapped in the comforter. They were holding an “old-school” looking lantern.

It was clear that Brian and Catfish saw Jeff and his friends staring. The three rushed home and switched cars because the car they were in had transmission issues. They hopped in a Saturn sports car and returned to Catfish’s but the van was speeding away quickly.

“Why would they flee if they were innocent?” Jeff wondered.

The three chased them up Fallen Tree overlook but then suddenly the van raced by them in the opposite direction. They continued in hot pursuit but they turned the lights off in the van and were driving at a very high rate of speed. “We lost them around Wagon Wheel road,” Jeff told me.

“Wayne Clark told me the van belonged to a lady who had lived in Crestone and it was taken to Salida and sold,” a source told me. “It was some chick who was involved in the drugs and they were using it to run dope.” If Wayne knew about the van and knew it’s location why didn’t he investigate? Why didn’t he impound the van and do forensics?

This is what the minivan that Catfish was seen in looked like according to the neighbor

The neighbor Jeff who chased Catfish and Dready Brian in the van said Beth and her boyfriend began doing a deep clean of Catfish’s house just a day or two later. “Catfish directed us,” Beth the housecleaner, told me. “We moved out the purple bed, sofa and chairs, couches. He had gotten these bamboo beds right before and my partner threw them away.” She said they stripped everything out and used bleach to clean. And Beth confirmed that this deep clean occurred in August of 2016, just weeks after Kristal disappeared.

This deep clean occurred in August of 2016, just weeks after Kristal disappeared.

Jeff’s roommate told the podcast, “The next day, people that Catfish had hired … and his girlfriend were over at Catfish’s house cleaning everything out of it. I mean, everything. All the furniture, ripped up all the carpets, every piece of anything that had ever been in his house. It looked like a barren wasteland when they were done, which took about a week.”

A friend of Catfish’s told the podcast that Catfish had his house gutted. “He had the entire placed cleaned out, everything and the dude’s a hoarder. He’s got piles of computers that he’s broken and shit like that, so much stuff. He scrubbed the whole place clean, but why?” Payne asked him, “did he tell you that?” And the the friend responded, “Yeah. He laughed about it. Why would you have it scrubbed clean if you had nothing to do with it.”

Catfish gutted his house immediately after being spotted with a body-sized object wrapped in a duct taped white comforter and a shovel and fleeing in a van chase.

IN THE MONTHS SINCE THE Up and Vanished podcast CBS Denver’s Chris Halsne as well as podcast host Payne Lindsey searched dozens of mines in the Crestone area. Using drones, cadaver dogs, and other methods they checked off one mine at a time. Nothing was ever found but the CBS cameraman snapped a shot over the mine that looked like angel wings. Her friends said it was Kristal communicating with everyone and that she had that exact tattoo on her body.

There are many theories on where or how Kristal’s body was disposed of. Sheriff Warwick told me someone gave them a sworn statement in writing that Brendan Pulver burned the body in a kiln which led to a search warrant. Others have thought she was thrown into a mine, or buried in different locations. Close sources told me that they tried to dissolve her body in a tub of acid but they didn’t use the right kind and it didn’t work.

Last year while in Crestone I consulted with a psychic from out of state who has worked on discovering bodies before. “I see her at an old cabin in the woods, near water,” she told me. She said she saw her being carried through a stream. I searched for the cabin last year but couldn’t find anything tangible and moved on.

This summer while living in Kristal’s apartment I interviewed Jack’s mother. She dropped a bombshell on me. “He told me he was taken to an old cabin in the woods at gunpoint and that he saw a blonde woman in a tub with liquid, and there was blood.” My body came over with chills. And then two people who were the closest to Kristal told me people had taken her body to this cabin.

I discovered the cabin belonged to the family of Marty Shellabarger. And it was a central spot of the drug scene underworld at the time of Kristal’s disappearance.


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