On January 2, 1999, 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs disappeared from her Mesa, Arizona, neighborhood while waiting for an ice cream truck. Despite nationwide coverage of her alleged kidnapping and a dedicated manhunt, she was never found.
But this week — more than 19 years after Mikelle disappeared — authorities decided to reopen her case thanks to the discovery of what appears to be a clue about her fate: a dollar bill with a note scrawled on it.
The Washington Post reports that the bill was reported to police in Neenah, Wisconsin, on March 14. In its margins, a message has been written: "My name is Mikel Biggs [sic] kidnapped From Mesa AZ I'm Alive."
The dollar bill was reportedly printed in 2009, 10 years after Mikelle disappeared, and used to buy Girl Scout cookies in Neenah earlier this year.
While Mikelle's name is spelled wrong in the note, leading authorities to question its validity, they're not ruling it out as evidence in her disappearance just yet.
Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson told ABC News that the misspelling “certainly seems odd, and it would sway you to believe that it might not be legitimate."
"But why would you pick that one, a case that’s nearly 20 years old?" he added. "It’s somebody who knew something about that case.”
Mikelle’s younger sister, Kimber Biggs, had been waiting for the ice cream truck with Mikelle that fateful day and went into their home for all of 90 seconds when Mikelle vanished. Besides her bicycle, one of its tires still spinning, there wasn't a trace of Mikelle left.
Kimber told The Arizona Republic that the bill "could be a step in the right direction at best."
"I don’t believe she would have written it, as the circumstances of it don’t make much sense," she explained.
Kimber added that Mikelle's family has long believed her dead.
While this dollar bill could offer new hope that perhaps they were wrong, there's not a lot of clarity as to what exactly it could lead to: It's too old to be checked for Mikelle's fingerprints, though officials are looking into the handwriting.
"There’s always that bit of hope, but I think right now we just want it to lead to someone who knows something,” Kimber said.
I don't know about you, but I've got goosebumps.