KS JENNIFER LANCASTER, SYDNEY & MONIQUE SMITH: Missing from Topeka, KS - 12 May 2000 - Age 20, 13 mo, 1 mo


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On May 12, 2000 Jennifer Dawn Lancaster along with her two infant daughters from Topeka, Kansas. The family has never been heard from again.

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Jennifer left her residence at approximately at 8pm on May 12, 2000 to go to a male acquaintance's home and never arrived. Her vehicle was found abandoned in an apartment complex. Jennifer is missing with her two children who are also listed in NamUs, Monique Smith (MP #11471) and Sidney Smith (MP #11470).
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Sidney Smith

Sidney's photo is shown age-progressed to 20 years. They were last seen on May 12, 2000.

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Monique Smith

Monique's photo is shown age-progressed to 19 years. Sidney's photo is shown age-progressed to 20 years. They were last seen on May 12, 2000. Their height and weights are approximations for when they were last seen.

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Jennifer, and Sidney Smith, and Monique Smith

Missing Since: 05/12/2000
Missing From: Topeka, Kansas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Sex: Female
Race: White
Date of Birth: 06/08/1981 (38)
Age: 18 years old
Height and Weight: 5'5, 100 pounds
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue and white shirt, denim shorts, sandals, diamond stud earrings and gold hoop earrings.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Lancaster's ears are double-pierced and her right eyebrow is pierced. She has a tattoo of the words "low rider" in green and black ink on her left upper arm and a tattoo of an unspecified green and black ink design on her lower back.

Details of Disappearance
Lancaster was last seen in Topeka, Kansas on May 12, 2000. She and her two baby daughters, Sidney Smith and Monique Smith, left home at approximately 8:00 p.m. to go to a male acquaintance's home. They never arrived and none of them have ever been heard from again.

Lancaster's vehicle was found abandoned at an apartment complex a week later. No one in the family has ever been heard from again; few details are available in their cases.

MISSING IN KANSAS: Topeka mom, 2 infant girls gone for nearly 20 years
Posted: Aug 07, 2019
written by Annette Lawless


Two girls and a young mom missing for nearly 20 years.

Jennifer Lancaster and her daughters, Sidney and Monique Smith, were last seen leaving their Topeka home around 8 p.m. on May 12, 2000. Jennifer and the girls were going to a male friend’s home, but they never arrived. Later, Jennifer’s vehicle was found abandoned at an apartment complex.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created age-progressed photos of what Monique and Sidney would look like as teenagers.

If you have information that could help the case, contact the Topeka Police Department at (785) 368-9200 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) THE-LOST.
The Topeka Capital-Journal has just published an in-depth article about Jennifer and her daughters' disappearance. This is such a strange and mysterious case.

After daughter and babies disappeared 23 years ago, Vicki Lancaster still doesn't know what happened​

By Tim Hrenchir
For nearly 23 years, Topekan Vicki Lancaster has had no idea what happened to her daughter and two granddaughters.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lancaster was 20 when she vanished in May 2000 with her daughters, 1-year-old Sidney Smith and 5-week-old Monique Smith. Their vehicle was found empty and abandoned in the parking lot of a small southeast Topeka apartment complex.
It was as if the three had "dropped off the face of the Earth," Vicki Lancaster told The Capital-Journal in 2001. Today, their whereabouts remain a mystery.

"I don't know any more now than I did then," Vicki Lancaster said.

Vicki Lancaster talked with The Capital-Journal at her Topeka home on Thursday, the 23rd anniversary of Monique Smith's birth.

She said Jennifer Lancaster grew up living at their family's home in southeast Topeka's Highland Park area, where she "got in with the wrong crowd" and "got into trouble." The 5-foot-5, 100-pound Jennifer Lancaster transferred to Topeka West High School, and graduated from there.

Jennifer Lancaster then got pregnant twice.

She was 19 when she gave birth to Sidney Smith on March 22, 1999, and 20 when she gave birth to Monique Smith on April 5, 2000. While pregnant with her second daughter, Jennifer Lancaster worked at Remington's, a bar along Topeka's Wanamaker corridor, her mother said.

She said Jennifer Lancaster then left Remington's and worked "a couple days" at Baby Doll's, an adult entertainment club just south of Topeka, before she disappeared.

Vicki Lancaster didn't like that her daughter worked at Baby Doll's, but she said Jennifer Lancaster was an adult and there was not much she could do about it.

When they vanished, Jennifer Lancaster and her daughters lived with Vicki Lancaster and Jessica Lancaster, then 17, Vicki Lancaster's daughter and Jennifer Lancaster's sister. The five moved in the spring of 2000 from Highland Park to Misty Glen Apartments & Townhomes, 3201 S.W. Randolph Ave., where Jennifer Lancaster and her daughters lived in their basement, Vicki Lancaster said.

Vicki Lancaster said she, her two daughters and her two granddaughters were all among those present for a family dinner held May 12, 2000, at the southeast Topeka home of her parents Merlin and Opal Otteson.

"Everything seemed fine," she said.

Vicki Lancaster then briefly saw her daughter and granddaughters about 8 p.m. that day when she arrived at Misty Glen Apartments just as the three were leaving.

Jennifer Lancaster carried a see-through trash bag containing quilts and baby clothes, and said she was taking them to be washed. "But we had a washer and dryer there," Vicki Lancaster recalled. "I thought 'This doesn't make any sense.' That was the last time I saw her."

Jennifer Lancaster had a boyfriend, who was the father of at least one of her children, so Vicki Lancaster said she didn't become overly concerned when her daughter and grandchildren didn't come home that night.

But as time passed, Vicki Lancaster grew increasingly anxious.

When she still hadn't heard from Jennifer Lancaster by the next evening, which was Saturday, May 13, 2000, she called police to report the three missing. Police took a missing persons report but noted that Jennifer Lancaster was an adult and wasn't legally required to stay in touch with her mother.

The 1994 Jeep Cherokee Jennifer Lancaster was driving was then found abandoned May 14, 2000, in the parking lot of a small apartment complex at 3032 S.E. Swygart, just southeast of S.E. 29th and California Avenue, Topeka Capital-Journal archives show.

All personal property belonging to Jennifer Lancaster had been removed, including two infant car seats. Vicki Lancaster thinks her daughter took special steps to keep people from knowing she was about to leave.

After her daughter vanished, she said, she noticed that the baby clothes and quilts she saw Jennifer Lancaster carrying weren't her only possessions that were gone from their apartment.

"It looked like she had been taking things out the whole week, which I didn't notice because we had boxes and everything everywhere," Vicki Lancaster said.

Jennifer Lancaster had a cell phone, which was on a plan her mother maintained, but made no calls on that phone in the week before she vanished, Vicki Lancaster said. She left the phone at her mother's apartment when she disappeared.

Jennifer Lancaster had no credit cards, her mother said.


A few weeks after her daughter disappeared, Vicki Lancaster said, a Steak and Shake in St. Louis, Missouri, sent a mailing to her daughter at their Misty Glen Apartments address thanking her for taking the time to comment on the food and service it provided.

Vicki Lancaster still has that mailing, which contained two coupons and a letter signed by a district manager for Steak and Shake. She said she contacted the company and asked to see the comment card filled out by the person who gave the name "Jennifer Lancaster" and shared the Misty Glen address.

"I know Jennifer's handwriting," she said. "I would have known if it was her."

But that comment card had been destroyed, Vicki Lancaster said she was told.


Authorities say extensive searches of nationwide databases have since turned up nothing about any of them.

Still, law enforcement keeps trying.

Vicki Lancaster said that over the years, she's thought about every possible scenario regarding that may have happened. She said she wonders whose vehicle her daughter and grandchildren entered after abandoning the Jeep Cherokee, for which Jennifer Lancaster kept the keys.

She also kept her driver's license.

Vicki Lancaster wonders if her granddaughters — considering how young they were when they vanished — somehow ended up being raised by parents other than Jennifer Lancaster, and not knowing their birth mother.

"I could be a great-grandmother and not even know it," she said. Vicki Lancaster hopes she'll eventually hear from Jennifer Lancaster.

"I'm praying that she met a nice guy, he adopted the kids and they have a wonderful life," she said.

Vicki Lancaster and Topeka police are asking people to come forward if they have any information that might shed any light on what happened to Jennifer Lancaster and her daughters.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Topeka police criminal investigation bureau at 785-368-9400, the criminal intelligence unit at 785-368-9432 or Detective Heather Stults-Lindsay at 785-368-9415. Alternatively, anyone with information may email telltpd@topeka.org or hstults@topeka.org.

Anonymous tips may be made online at www.p3tips.com/128 or by calling Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007.

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