Okay, this is a weird one, and I had never heard about it! I am so curious to know what happened in this case, and am excited to dig into it.
On September 21, 2015, Asha Kreimer disappeared from near her home in Flumeville, California. She had suffered a mental health crisis in the days leading up to her disappearance, being awake for 5 straight days and was taken to the hospital for psychological evaluation. In the aftermath, she went to get breakfast at the Rollerville Cafe with her boyfriend and a family friend when she headed for the restroom. She has never been seen again.
It is believed that Asha never entered the bathroom, though at the time of her disappearance, she was barefoot, making it difficult to traverse around the city. She also had no money, credit cards, or ID. Her jacket was found later, discarded on the side of the road.
BACKGROUND AND DISAPPEARANCE
Asha Kreimer was born in Hilo, Hawaii on May 2, 1989, but lived in Australia for at least part of her life, as she held US-Australian dual citizenship. She was living with her boyfriend in Albion, California, for 3 years at the time of her disappearance.
She had never had any issues with mental health in the past, but suffered an extreme mental health break in September of 2015. After being awake for 4 straight days and nights and shouting incoherently, her boyfriend took her to Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg, California on September 20, 2015.
Under California Code 5150, she was supposed to be evaluated to determine if she was a risk to herself or others. However, Asha had given some push back, being resistant even to having her vital signs taken. Ultimately, she was released without any sort of evaluation or treatment to her boyfriend.
After she was released, since her friend was visiting from Australia, the 2 friends and Asha's boyfriend went to a cafe to get breakfast. Asha's friend got up to go to the bathroom, and a few seconds later, Asha decided that she was going to go as well. Her friend didn't know she had followed her. When her friend got back to the table, they were confused. Her friend said that Asha never went to the bathroom.
Investigators believe she never went to the bathroom, and wandered out of the restaurant in a mental health crisis haze instead. She was barefoot and dressed in black jeans and a hoodie, with no money or ID. The whereabouts of her cell phone are also unknown.
However, it doesn't appear that investigators were called in right away. When her boyfriend and friend realized she was missing, they just kind of shrugged it off. They had been at breakfast at around 9:30, but it wasn't until 2 when the friend returned to ask if anyone had seen Asha. Apparently, the friend said that she was tired, so her boyfriend drove her back home to go to sleep before reporting her missing. His slowness to act is certainly suspicious, as well as the friend's lack of concern for the disappearance.
In the aftermath of her disappearance, there were some reported sightings of Asha. Some say that she returned to her home to get her dog, while others say they saw her at different restaurants or cafes later in the day. As of 2016, the search has continued. Friends and family in Alice Springs, Australia have continued to raise fund to look for Asha, and her mother reportedly still travels back and forth between California and Australia every couple of months to look for her.
DISCUSSION AND THEORIES
One thing many people note about this case is that some of the timeline doesn't add up. For instance, why did they go to breakfast right after she was released from the hospital if she still wasn't better? Someone did a Google Maps review and determined that the restaurant was over 20 miles away from the hospital. Why were they going that direction? Wouldn't they also keep a close eye on her? Keep in mind, she had no shoes on. And she just got up and left without anyone seeing her? Unless the bathroom was right next to the exit, which I suppose is possible, it doesn't check out.
According to the Reddit post I read, which was partially from some Internet sources and partially from a podcast, Asha's dog did go missing the same day Asha did. Asha's mother, Jeannie, said, "it got to the point where I'd heard, I would say at least 6 stories from Jamai (boyfriend) about what happened to that dog," and she said it seems unlikely, given her daughter's mental state, that she returned for her pet. But then, what happened? Did something more sinister happen, and her boyfriend was cleaning up to make it look like a disappearance?
One Reddit user believes that Asha is definitely alive. Now, the theory is pretty out there, but with very little information to go off of, we are going to take some shots in the dark, alright? So, 3 years ago, a comment left on a Reddit post about Asha Kreimer said "Some people don't want to be found. Leave be at peace. Bless you all. -AK "Lily Lovewell". Weird, right? But Reddit has lots of dumb people, so of course, someone could be lying.
But one internet detective did some more digging, and realized that there had been a lot of sighting reports of Asha, so it wasn't impossible that she was still alive. And with some further investigation through the Asha Kreimer podcast, apparently, before her mental break, Asha and her friend had been looking at photos of a house when she revealed that she had been molested by her father. Jamai said that she kept repeating "I haven't got over my father's death" after seeing that photo, which apparently brought some memories back. The user believes that her mother potentially knowing about her assault at the hands of her father could be why she has never contacted her mom.
In that case, she may have decided to cut toxic family members out of her life to work through her trauma, starting a new life somewhere else. Of course, a Reddit comment doesn't prove that, and it was more than likely left by some random user trying to get attention on the Internet (if you don't want to be found, why leave a trail?) But even without the comment, I think everything else makes sense, and that there is a chance that Asha is alive somewhere.
But, it doesn't seem totally likely. If she had just uncovered something about her childhood that she had forgotten, and it sent her into a mental health spiral... nothing had been done to help her. She went to the hospital where she received no evaluation or treatment. It doesn't seem likely to me that she went from staying awake and screaming for 5 nights to making the conscious decision to leave and start a new life, with no money or ID, by slipping out of a restaurant with a close friend and her boyfriend. Honestly, I hope that is what happened, but I just can't believe that it is.
One theory I have is that her boyfriend had something to do with her disappearance, and potential death. The friend being there, as well, makes this theory less plausible for me, but the missing dog is so strange. If you take the friend out of it, it seems like he may have said he drove her 25 miles away for breakfast but actually killed her. Then, he killed (or got rid of) the dog to make it seem like she came back for her pet while trying to start a new life. That is really the only way that her dog going missing on the same day as her makes sense. But her friend being there kind of puts a wrench in this plan. (Unless she and the boyfriend were lovers and they were both trying to get rid of her, which there is no evidence of and I'm just spitballing.)
I haven't listened to the podcast about the story, but many people agree that the first part of Jamai's story about her mental health crisis and the trip to the hospital are pretty credible, but the morning at the cafe just stops adding up, which makes him seem suspicious. Even today, his girlfriend of 5 years, whom he lived with for 3, who he raised at least 1 dog with, being missing doesn't seem to faze him much more than it did the day she went missing.
Honestly, what probably happened was her friend went to the bathroom, and her boyfriend wasn't paying much attention because he was so tired after everything that happened. In a state of psychosis or sleep deprivation or both, Asha wandered off. What happened then? It is extremely hard to say. She could have been met with foul play. She could have committed suicide, or died accidentally. She could be living a happy life somewhere under a different name. But that doesn't describe the dog!
People who find Jamai suspicious, but also believe she left on her own accord, believe that he may have lost his temper or got tired of her mental break and let her run off. They don't think he murdered her, but that he knows more than he is letting on. His omissions and weird timeline progression for the morning after certainly lead one to believe that he had something to do with it.
This is such a weird one. Because on the face, a woman went to the bathroom during a restaurant visit and never came back. But deeper, a woman who was sincerely suffering with her mental health disappeared - either by accident, by force, or by a combination of both. I wish her "friend" or boyfriend would speak up and provide additional details. Because even if they didn't kill her, I truly believe they know more about what happened.
Though I don't believe the theory, I do hope she is alive. I hope that, whether it was a calculated decision or a mistake made during a psychotic break, that she escaped her life and was able to start over anew somewhere else. That is the only good outcome here. Otherwise, she accidentally killed herself or got killed, either by a stranger or people who were supposed to love her. Regardless of what happened, it is safe to say that she was in a terrible place in the days leading up to her disappearance, and the people who were supposed to be there for her let her down.
I do hope more information about Asha's disappearance comes out some day. Until then, I haven't listened to it myself, but I would recommend listening to the 2-part podcast series, episodes 18 and 19 on the Thin Air Podcast, which was referenced by most of the sources I used for this story.