The sound of Lucy Xiong stepping on gravel could be heard over the phone during a call she made to her boyfriend just after midnight on Friday, before she went missing. She sounded winded but never said why, according to statements the boyfriend made to police.
And before a formal goodbye could be said, Xiong, 20, yelled “oh (expletive),” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. Xiong could be heard screaming. By 10 a.m. Friday, Xiong’s father had already reported her missing to police.
At a news conference Tuesday, Dyer said detectives had conducted searches of Xiong’s neighborhood, including a thorough search of her parents’ home on the 3200 block of East Olive Avenue. K-9 dogs were deployed to pick up any trace left behind by Lucy. But nothing came up.
Dyer said, however, that Xiong’s credit card had been used by multiple individuals in Fresno and Madera the day she went missing and then the day after – a total of 12 times. Dyer said detectives are reviewing video of the purchases made with Xiong’s credit card. He also said Xiong’s phone has not been used since, nor has it been found.
Early Tuesday, Dyer said detectives learned about a call to police that was made around 1 a.m. Friday. A female was drowning in a canal at First Street and McKinley Avenue, according to the report. That hour, about 13 officers on foot and a helicopter were dispatched to the area, searching for the female. They did not locate a body, Dyer said. The call was cleared.
Before Xiong’s call to her boyfriend came to a chilling halt, she had been at home. An argument had began at the residence between Xiong and her mother because Xiong had come home late and had been drinking. She had previously been at the coast. Dyer said Xiong ran from the home after the argument and that her mother was not able to catch up to her.
“It is very possible, that after the argument that occurred at the residence, that (Xiong) ran from the location and may have run up to the McKinley and First area,” Dyer said. “There is gravel up and down that canal bank, which is described by her boyfriend.”
The attention is being placed on the canal for now, Dyer said. But it’s also possible that Xiong may not even be there. Dyer said the canal’s water level will likely need to be lowered so a dive team can search it. The circumstances of Xiong’s disappearance are suspicious, according to Dyer. He said he is not sure if the people who used Xiong’s credit card know about her disappearance or if they simply found her belongings.
“We are pursuing this investigation with a great deal of vigor,” Dyer said. “We believe it’s more than a missing person at this point. We believe it is a missing person at minimum at risk and a missing person with the possibility of them being abducted and it’s a missing person with the possibility of that person falling into the canal.”