Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Anderson: Awakening The Devil

Piper's Abduction

Monday, July 29, 1996 was not an ordinary day for the Streyle family of Canistota, South Dakota. It was their son Nathans second birthday and they looked forward to celebrating later that evening.

Piper Streyle, 28, was preparing to take Nathan and her daughter, Shaina, 3, to their babysitter before going to work at the Southeastern Childrens Center in Sioux Falls. Her husband Vance, 29, left less than three hours earlier for his plumbing job.

Sometime around 9:30 a.m., a man entered the Streyles trailer while Piper, Shaina and Nathan were still there. At some point a violent struggle occurred between Piper and the man, which the children witnessed. The intruder then abducted Piper, leaving Shaina and Nathan alone, utterly traumatized by what they had seen.

That afternoon, Vance called home but there was no answer. Patty Sinclair, a day care worker at the Southeastern Childrens Center called the house at approximately 3 p.m. because Piper failed to show up to work. Patty was surprised when Shaina answered the phone in a tearful panic.

Patty asked if anyone was home, but Shaina claimed that they were alone at the house. Patty was even more shocked when little Shaina suggested that her parents were likely dead and then hung up. Patty called back and Shaina, sobbing hysterically, said that she didnt want her parents to die. According to court documents, Shaina told Patty that her mother left with a man she knew in a black car.

Patty stayed on the line for approximately 45 minutes trying to soothe the traumatized little girl. While she talked with Shaina, Patty instructed a co-worker to contact the sheriffs office. Sheriff Gene Taylor arrived at the Streyles home a little after 5 p.m. that day. 

Taylor noticed that the trailer door was open. He walked in and saw that the living area was in a state of disarray, indicating that a struggle had occurred. The contents of Pipers purse were strewn on the floor, along with other household items.

Taylor went towards the rear of the trailer to the bedroom where he found Shaina unharmed but crying. Two-year-old Nathan, who was also unharmed, walked around in a dazed state. Piper was nowhere to be found. Taylor suspected that the children had been left to their own devices for quite some time.

Dark Dreams
Dark Dreams
Taylor and Jim Stevenson, a state criminal investigator who was called to the scene, questioned Shaina about what happened that day. According to Roy Hazelwood and Stephen G. Michauds Dark Dreams, the little girl told them, Mommys going to die, and that a mean man came into the trailer, argued with their mother and fired his gun. Afraid that the man might harm her children, Piper told Shaina and Nathan to run and hide as the intruder grabbed her and took her away in his black car. The little girl also recalled the man taking Nathans birthday present, a blue tent, before leaving.

A little more than an hour after Sheriff Taylor arrived, Vance came home. Shaina immediately threw herself into her fathers arms and began crying. He questioned Shaina about what happened, but she was excited and stressed by the days events and had difficulty trying to communicate. He was only able to make out that a man came in and stole Nathans tent and that her mother wasnt coming back.

Vances concern turned to horror when he learned more of the details from the sheriff and Stevenson. His wife had been abducted. All he could do was comfort his children and hope that the sheriff could find Piper alive.

Three days after Pipers abduction, Vance remembered an important piece of information, which he told to the police. It would prove to be the break they were all looking for. It would lead to the identification of one of South Dakota s most sadistic sexual murderers.

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