LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Allegations made by a close friend of Ebby Steppach are raising questions about how the Little Rock Police Department handled the case from early on.
The allegations are in reference to a smell of decomposition emanating from the drain where Ebby Steppach's remains were found two and a half years later. Margie Foley and her daughter Kailey claim they came across the smell just days after Ebby disappeared.
"Come to find out she's been here all this time,” said Margie Foley. “We might have known what happened to her. It just makes me sick."
Her daughter, Kailey Foley, says she was one of Ebby Steppach's best friends. Ebby was living with the Foleys just a couple of weeks before she disappeared.
"It's hard to go through, honestly,” Kailey Foley said with her head hung low.
After they met with the first detective assigned to the case, just days after she disappeared, they learned where her car was found. Kailey and her mom, Margie, went to Chalamont Park to see if they could picked up on any clues.
"I got right about here and I just got hit with the smell of decomposition,” said Margie. She then called for Kailey to head back to the car. "I didn't want her to smell it. She kept asking me why and I said, 'I smell decomposition coming from that drain.'"
That's when Margie says she called 911. "I just came out of a meeting with Detective Williams in regards to a missing person named Ebby Steppach,” Margie told dispatchers.
We were able to get one of those 911 calls from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.
"I brought my daughter who's a friend of hers. We just started walking around here, and I smell decomposition,” Margie told the dispatcher. “I just called his phone. He didn't call me back. Could you send somebody here to investigate?"
PCSO then called LRPD dispatch to relay the information, where the dispatcher waited more than two minutes for a supervisor to come to the phone before the line goes dead. The dispatcher called again and spoke to a different LRPD dispatcher before speaking with an unidentified woman. That's when the information was relayed.
"She said she smelled something decomposing and she's worried that may be related to the case,” the PCSO dispatcher told the person at LRPD.
Foley claims she called at least three times. Little Rock Police Department claims their 911 record system wipes clean every 30 days. She says more than an hour passed before LRPD officers showed up at the scene.
"I was kind of dismissed by them,” she told me. She then explained what officers said to her at the scene. “This park was gone through with dogs and they would have picked up on that. It must be an animal or something."
Ebby's car was found in this lot at Chalamont Park, just steps from the entrance into the drainage system. Her remains were found at the end of the drainage system. Only about 100 feet from where she possibly entered it.
"I'm very angry. I'm angry for Ebby. She didn't deserve to lay down there like that,” said Margie Foley, sobbing.
"It's just hard to think, someone you know, or someone you were best friends with went missing. And then, turns out, they were where you thought they were the whole time,” said Kayley Foley.
The Foleys says they think someone needs to be held responsible for the handling of this information. Little Rock Police say this is an open investigation and they won't be doing any further interviews.