Henry McCabe’s story is certainly a strange one. You have a man out on the town just trying to enjoy a long Labor Day weekend. Then, in the span of 30 minutes and one bizarre voicemail, he becomes a missing persons case shrouded in mystery to this day.
Who Was Henry?
So, let’s talk a little bit about Henry before we dive into his disappearance and death. Henry was 32 years old and had immigrated to the United States from Liberia. He lived in California for a while with his wife and daughters. The family had been very active in the Liberian-American community in California by all accounts. At some point they decided to move to Mounds View, Minnesota where Henry worked as an auditor for the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
He was described as outgoing, friendly, and outspoken. Just a fun kind of person to be around. He was reportedly devoted to his family, and had no reason to want to disappear or end his life. Henry was a young guy with a beautiful family, a good, stable career, he was active in his community, and had a whole life ahead of him. So, how did a night out of fun turn into a nightmare?
The Night Henry Went Missing
On the evening of September 6, 2015, Henry left his home in the town of Mounds View, Minnesota to go to a nightclub with his friends. They went to a club called Povlitzki’s in Spring Lake Park, which was about a five minute drive from Mounds View. Their time at the club must have been mostly uneventful, other than one of Henry’s friends allegedly taking his wallet to prevent him from buying more drinks, because no major clues were derived from within the place. It seems like it was just a normal boy’s night out with the typical types of shenanigans. At least until they left the bar, that is.
Last Time Henry is Seen Alive
Gas Station Drop Off
Now buckle up and pay attention because a lot is about to happen in a very small span of time, ok? The guys left the club around 2 am. Henry hopped into the car of William Kennedy, who had planned to take him home from there. However, as he later told investigators, Henry asked to be dropped off at a gas station in Fridley. Fridley was another town a six minute drive from Spring Lake Park and was also in the complete opposite direction from Henry’s home. So, William obliged Henry and took him to this gas station.
Gas Station Confusion
At the time there was some mix up about what gas station it actually was. William mistakenly thought he had dropped Henry off at the SuperAmerica station on the corner of highway 65 and 73rd Avenue. He was so sure that he actually took investigators to that station and showed them where he believed he had parked that night. However, surveillance footage shows Henry actually being dropped off at the Hotel station between Central Avenue and Hackmann Avenue.
These two gas stations are more or less down the highway from each other, about a 7 minute drive. And the footage is there to prove Henry was actually dropped off, it just seems that William was mistaken on the exact location.
The Phone Calls
So it’s not really known what happens from here. What we do know is that Henry made a series of three calls, which pinged on towers in three separate towns. One in Spring Lake Park. One in Fridley. And one in New Brighton, a town that was in close proximity to the other three.
Distance Between Pings
This is something that’s incredibly interesting to me. See, in the span of 30 minutes Henry’s cell phone pinged on towers in three separate towns. Now, remember that he was on foot and had no money in the middle of the night. According to Google Maps, it would be a half-hour to an hour walk between any of those points, depending on the starting and ending destinations. I’m going to put a labeled map of the area here so you can see what I mean.
And remember the gas station mix up from earlier? I just want to point out that the SuperAmerica, the gas station William thought he had dropped Henry off at is technically in Fridley, but it’s also right outside of Spring Lake Park. Which could have explained the pings in Spring Lake Park and Fridley, but the surveillance footage puts Henry being dropped off seven minutes the other direction. I wonder if that would be close enough to confuse the towers?
So, how is that possible? Were the pings pinging in the wrong location? Did Henry end up an unfortunate victim of hitchhiking? Or was he kidnapped right off the street? I have no idea, but we’ll speculate wildly about that in the last section. We still have to discuss the voicemail.
The last call, the one that pinged in New Brighton, resulted in a two minute voicemail left on Henry’s wife’s phone. What can be heard in this voicemail is two full minutes of sounds that are, quite frankly, hard to believe are made by a human. There are moans, groans, high pitched squeals, it’s indescribable and I’ll leave a link to a video so you can hear parts of it for yourself riiiight here.
At the end of the voicemail there’s a brief pause and a low voice says “stop it.” It has never been determined if that voice was Henry’s or that of an unknown assailant.
Search and Rescue
Members of the Liberian-American community came out in droves to help search for Henry. Some volunteers even came from California to assist. They used his known locations and the cell phone tower pings to narrow in on where to look. They did multiple searches over the two months that Henry was missing.
Volunteers searched Spring Lake Park starting at Povlitzki’s. They searched the areas of both gas stations in Fridley. Then they searched the Creek View Park area of New Brighton, which was where Henry’s cell phone last pinged. Unfortunately they were not able to find any clues to what had happened to Henry.
A $10,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of Henry’s whereabouts was offered by Minnesota Community Policing Services INC. This was a nonprofit organization that specialized in public safety. I couldn’t find a distinct description of their services because they no longer have a website, but they were pretty instrumental in helping organize the searches for Henry and seemed to help with press statements as well. I suspect they did a lot of work with things like victim advocacy, taking on some private investigating and fundraising.
Interestingly though, on October 23, 2015 the Minnesota Community Policing Services retracted the reward after there was a conflict with Henry’s wife. A spokesman for the organization told a newspaper that the reward was discontinued because of her “willingness to mislead the public and this committee(meaning the MCPS).” What that means, I have no idea because the spokesperson never elaborated and it appears Henry’s wife did not make a statement on the issue.
While the volunteer searches were going on, local investigators teamed with the FBI to analyze the voicemail for more clues. If they found them, they did not release them to the public. At least not that I was able to find.
In September of 2015, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol did a massive search of Rice Creek. They started in Long Lake located in New Brighton and followed the river to Locke Lake in Fridley, cutting off right before entering the Mississippi River. They were also unable to find any clues to Henry’s fate.
Discovery of Henry’s Body
Then, on November 2, 2015 the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a kayaker of a dead body sighting in Rush Lake in New Brighton. The water patrol was sent out to retrieve the body. At the time of retrieval, the body was so decomposed that race, gender, and age could not be determined by sight. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined two days later, on November 4th, that the body was Henry McCabe.
The full autopsy details were released on November 20th with Henry’s cause of death being determined to have been drowning. No suspects have ever been named and his death hasn’t necessarily been labeled a homicide, but the investigation is still open.
So, I have a lot of questions on this one. For one, why the fuck would you leave your allegedly super intoxicated friend at a gas station at 2 am?? I’m trying real hard not to judge because we all do stupid things when we’re not in our right mind, but it just seems so out of the ordinary to me. Although, completely off topic but, if William was drunk too then he would have been driving while intoxicated, which I have a zero tolerance for that. The police did interview William but they did not consider a suspect at any point.
I’m also very curious to know what the conflict between Henry’s wife and the Minnesota Community Policing Services was. At the time Henry went missing, his wife and daughters were in California making preparations for the family to move back there. That makes me curious to what she could have been supposedly misleading them on. She wasn’t in the state to have known details about that night.
And then there’s obviously the phone call that I would love to know more about. What could those noises possibly have been? Was Henry actually the one who made them? And how was he able to ping off of all those cell phone towers in such a short time? It kind of makes me wonder if he was picked up by someone after he left the field of view of the gas station’s security camera.
Is it possible that he was lost and confused and wandered really far really fast trying to find his way home and some awful fate befell him? I just want to know how he ended up in that lake.
I don’t know about this one you guys. I have so many more questions than answers, which I guess is pretty usual around here. I hope his family is able to find closure one day. My heart goes out to them, especially his two daughters. If you have any information about what may have happened to Henry McCabe, please, please contact the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office at 651-767-0640 to report your tip.
Thank you guys so much for reading and, as always, let’s discuss your theories in the comments! Be safe out there and don’t let each other go missing.