“I search and I search and I’ll keep on searching. Anytime I hear gossip about her, I take it to the police,” Branham said. “I’m doing everything I can to find my baby.”
Crystal Branham-Hall, 24, had been staying at her sisters’ apartment at 108 Kentucky Avenue in downtown Pikeville, Ky. On the night of March 1, 2009, she was on the telephone chatting with a friend when she told them that someone was at the back door. That was the last time anyone spoke with her.
Looking at the google maps image of Kentucky Ave, you can see there are several streets and buildings in the vicinity. The street is mostly townhomes packed in side by side, with what appears to be other residential areas on the street behind. Crystal was speaking on the phone that night, which would give whoever was at the back door the obscurity of darkness. I don’t believe that the person who showed up that night was a stranger and I would assume she probably let them in. I haven’t seen where there was any mention of signs of a struggle. Given that she was staying in an apartment at the time, you’d think had there been any loud, uncharacteristic noises, someone would have heard something.
Also, Crystal’s purse and jacket were also left in the apartment. So if she left with someone, it didn’t seem as if she was expecting to be gone for very long. Looking at the weather history for the night of March 1, 2009, the warmest it got was around 35.6 degrees. I think if she’d intended on being gone for more than a few minutes, she would have at the very least taken her coat on such a cold night.
Another thing to note at this time is that Crystal didn’t own a car.
She was the mother of 3 small children, but due to struggles with addiction and depression, she asked her grandmother to take care of them because she thought she wasn’t fit to be a mother. However, she called her children every night, without fail, to wish them sweet dreams and would visit them several times a week. Honestly in my opinion that speaks volumes about her character. She knew she had problems and she cared enough about her children to make sure they were taken care of.
Now, that’s basically the gist of the information that I was able to find online. Most of the actual news articles addressing what happened to her are now defunct. Of course, that makes things a bit more difficult. I did happen across this Topix thread that was started by Crystal’s aunt/surrogate mother, Myrtle. There were some rather startling bits of information that Myrtle relayed to anyone who would listen. Apparently, a few weeks after Crystal’s disappearance there was a shoe and an earring found on Zebulon Highway in Pikeville. They did match the description of the shoes and earrings that Crystal was last seen wearing. There was also some blood found on the shoe. The items were collected, samples were sent off for DNA analysis and that was all anyone ever heard.
Oh yeah, and the shoe and earring that they found… have since been lost. How does that even happen? And according to Crystal’s family, the samples that were supposedly sent off for DNA testing were ‘lost in the mail’. So either they’re the most unlucky people I’ve ever heard of, to have two separate samples of the same items lost at two separate occasions, or the evidence was lost before any samples were ever taken. According to her family, their attempts at getting any information from authorities has been frustrating. They feel like they’re being put off and avoided, and I know that the KSP are busy, but it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to return a phone call. Even if you don’t have anything new to report, the knowledge that whoever is working the case cares enough to stay in touch means more than I can put into words.
One name does keep coming up in every Topix thread I’ve found about Crystal’s disappearance: Rory Hall.
Honestly, I can’t speak much about the guy because all I’ve heard is what’s been posted on Topix. Rumors. Speculation. I haven’t seen anything that would be considered conclusive evidence to think that the guy had anything to do with her disappearance. No one actually saw them together the night she disappeared, and if they did they haven’t come forward. All I know is that he was Crystal’s boyfriend at the time and according to her family, he stopped calling for her after the night she vanished. Which is a really suspicious thing to do. He doesn’t have a social media account so I can’t really ask him anything.
I’ve also been told that she left the apartment that night with a man named Thurman. He supposedly said that Crystal was alive the last that he saw her, but there weren’t any details about where he last saw her at. My team has made attempts to contact him as well to get more details, but he hasn’t replied.
I have emailed the Detective involved in Crystals case but that’s been several months ago and there hasn’t been any response. I didn’t expect to get one anyhow.
If you think you have any information that could help Crystal’s family find answers, please contact KSP Pikeville at 606-433-7711 or leave an anonymous tip on this website and we’ll see to it that it’s forwarded on.