Details of Disappearance Elizabeth was last seen by her roommate at their residence in Mount Pleasant, Iowa at 10:30 p.m. on July 17, 2000, as the roommate was leaving to go to work. When her roommate returned at 4:00 a.m. the following day, Elizabeth was gone. She left all of her personal belongings behind and has never been heard from again.
There has been no activity on Elizabeth's bank account and she never claimed her paycheck from her employer. She did not have access to a car when she disappeared. When authorities examined Elizabeth's east Madison Street apartment after her disappearance, they found her door locked from the outside, indicating she left voluntarily.
Elizabeth's family described her estranged husband, Michael Lee Syperda, was dangerous and violent and stated they believed he had murdered her. She was only fourteen when she met him; he was married to someone else at the time, and Elizabeth baby-sat the couple's two children. When she was seventeen, she moved from her native California to Iowa with Michael and his family, and shortly after his divorce, she married him.
A photo of Michael is posted with this case summary. He was arrested and charged with domestic abuse not long after his wife disappeared. The arrest was in connection with a violent confrontation with Elizabeth and her roommate a month before she vanished. Michael pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and domestic assault in that case and was sentenced probation and a suspended prison term.
In December 2017, Michael was charged with first-degree murder in Elizabeth's case. He was living in Colorado at the time of his arrest. He was tried before a judge rather than a jury, and convicted in June 2018. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Foul play is suspected in Elizabeth's case due to the circumstances involved. Her body has never been found.
- Mount Pleasant Police Department
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 24, 2018; details of disappearance updated.