Detectives looking to solve Mikelle Biggs cold case 25 years later

Posted at 1:14 PM, January 3, 2024 and last updated 12:59 PM, January 3, 2024

MESA, Ariz. (Scripps News Phoenix) — It’s now been 25 years since 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs disappeared outside her Mesa home. It is considered one of the biggest cold cases the Valley has ever seen. Her family has never given up hope in the search for answers. Now, all these years later, there could soon be some movement in the case.

mikelle biggs portrait

Mikelle Biggs (NamUS)

Kimber Biggs has a vivid memory of Jan. 2, 1999, and the days that followed. She was just nine years old at the time and the last person to see her 11-year-old sister Mikelle before she disappeared.

“Her hair was all golden in the sun and she was happy and having a good time… and that’s the last image I have of her,” said Kimber Biggs, Mikelle’s sister.

Now, at 34, Kimber described to Scripps News Phoenix what happened on that tragic day. She said Mikelle was in front of their Mesa home, riding her bike along with many of the other neighborhood kids, waiting for the ice cream truck. When the sun started to set, everyone began heading inside. Kimber remembers telling Mikelle they should do the same but when she refused, Kimber continued on her own. Their home was just a few feet away.

“I came in through the back door and as soon as I walked in, my mom said, ‘nope, go tell Mikelle she has to come in,'” said Kimber.

Kimber said she walked back out through the garage and back down the driveway, calling out to Mikelle — with no response.

“That’s when I turned, and I saw something in the road. I didn’t know what it was, and I started to walk toward it and realized it was my bike,” said Kimber.

Mikelle was last seen around 6 p.m. near the intersection of Toltec and El Moro in Mesa. Investigators believe all it took was around 90 seconds for someone to grab her and put her in a car — never to be seen again.

“The tire was still spinning on the bike and at that point, I knew something was off,” said Kimber.

All officers found at the scene were two quarters and the bike Mikelle had been riding. As they began their investigation, the community began their own. They made flyers and held searches, doing what they could to support a family in complete disbelief.

“It just accelerated the size of the case and the attention of it,” said Kimber.

Mesa Police Department has received thousands of tips over the years, with many turning out to be false. Scripps News Phoenix sat down with the new detective on the case and learned he is focusing on specific information that points back to a convicted sexual predator who has been on their radar from the beginning.

“Is that person still a person of interest?” asked reporter Ashley Paredez.

“I would say he is the person of interest,” responded Detective Paul Sipe with Mesa PD.

Det. Sipe confirmed Dee Blalock is that person. He’s never been charged with any crimes in the Mikelle case but lived in her neighborhood at the time.

Scripps News Phoenix found a video of Blalock after spending hours researching their archives. It showed him at a ‘block watch’ event for Mikelle, just 10 days after her disappearance.

Dee Blalock speaks to scripps news phoenix in 1999

This archive footage from Scripps News Phoenix shows Dee Blalock speaking to reporters in 1999. (Scripps News Phoenix)

“If you’re my neighbor and I see that you’re living next to me, and I see something suspicious going on… I guarantee you I’d be calling 911,” said Dee Blalock in the video from 1999.

Det. Sipe has requested a copy of that footage. He says his goal is to speak with Blalock, who was taken into custody for unrelated violent crimes just months after speaking at that event. Blalock remains behind bars.

“What I’d like to say to the investigative lead that we have is… that he has children of his own and knowing that and imagining what he would feel like if his children were missing for 25 years,” said Det. Sipe.

Kimber is thankful Mesa PD has never given up. For her, becoming a mother is what compelled her to keep fighting.

“Yes, this is what I’m supposed to do,” said Kimber.

She was recently hired by the National Crime Justice Training Center to bring a family’s perspective to law enforcement. She hopes they can learn from her as she learns from them.

“Just really knowing how to speak to a child in a traumatic situation and doing what’s best for them,” said Kimber.

mikelle biggs age progression portrait

This age progression photo provided by NamUs in June 2012 shows what Mikelle Biggs may look like as an adult. (NamUS)

Kimber has given two presentations so far, also encouraging officers to remain open-minded on who a suspect might or might not be.

“I’m doing this… simply because I love her,” said Kimber.

A love so strong, it’s turning pain into power.

“She’s my big sister, and she deserves to, you know, have that peace,” said Kimber.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Phoenix, an E.W. Scripps Company.