A week before she disappeared, 5-year-old Leanna Warner exhibited strange behavior.
Chris and Kaelin Warner of Chisholm hope that revealing new information about the days before their daughter's disappearance on NBC's "Maury" show Wednesday morning will bring new leads in the three-year-old case.
"We're hoping with this that it will bring to light the way she was acting before she left," said Kaelin. "Because of the different things that happened the week before, we're thinking there's a possibility that somebody planned this with her."
Leanna Warner disappeared June 14, 2003, after walking to a friend's house to play.
Since then, there has been no trace of the little girl nicknamed "Beaner." About four weeks ago, after being contacted by the television program, Chris and Kaelin were in New York to tape the show.
In about a 20-minute segment, the Warners say that two weeks before she disappeared, they found Leanna sleeping in the closet.
"She said there were monsters outside her window," Chris told the News Tribune Monday. "I actually went out and looked, because you never know if there's a footprint out there. The second time, I said,
- 'They won't get you.' That was a real eye-opener. Our flags kind of went up at that time."
Leanna slept in a bedroom on the main floor of the family home, but the window is fairly high off the ground, said Chris.
It turned out to be the first of a series of strange incidents, he said.
A few days later, Leanna came home with a Barbie case filled with Barbie dolls, said Chris.
When questioned by her parents about where it came from, Leanna said she got it from "some old lady," Chris told the News Tribune.
Following the Barbie incident and about a week before she went missing, Chris and Kaelin were watching a movie on the couch about 11:30 p.m. when they saw Leanna with a suitcase in her hand.
When her parents asked her what she was doing, Leanna said that she was going to her new family's house, Kaelin said.
The incidents were reported to law enforcement, but "nobody ever thought about it," Kaelin said Monday.
"We've been thinking about it all along," she said.
An age-enhanced National Center for Missing and Exploited Children photo of Leanna, which depicts how she would look today, appears on the TV program. The program airs at 9 a.m. on KBJR-TV.
"We've tried and tried to get that detail out about the Barbie case, but it got pushed to the wayside," said Chris.
"It's an avenue we're still pursuing. It had to be someone within a block of here who to gave it to her. We're hoping someone will come up and say,
- 'Hey, it's my kids' case,' or if it wasn't, it makes it even more interesting."
With fall fading, Chris Warner is also asking hunters to look for any signs of their daughter.
She was last seen wearing a denim dress with a belt. She has brown hair and brown eyes and was 3 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing about 48 pounds when she disappeared.
"Take a look around," said Chris. "Heaven forbid there's something out there, but it's hunting season, so please take a look."
Lee Bloomquist writes for the Duluth News Tribune which is owned by Forum Communications Company - the parent company of this publication.
Editor's note: This story is from October 2006.