After the untimely death of the young mother, Libby Caswell, her family was convinced that foul play was involved. Libby had a deep love for her baby and a family that couldn’t fathom who might want to harm their cherished Libby. Nonetheless, identifying a suspect proved challenging due to the lack of evidence. The iHeart podcast, ‘What Happened to Libby Caswell,’ delves deeper into the case, providing valuable insights into the circumstances surrounding her tragic demise.
How Did Libby Caswell Die?
Libby Caswell, born on March 25, 1996, in Independence, Missouri, was the beloved daughter of Robert and Cynthia Caswell. She attended William Chrisman High School, where her talents shone brightly. Libby’s skills in cheerleading led her to become a part of the Varsity Cheerleading squad, and her dedication to gymnastics resulted in her winning 1st place at the Grand Nationals not once but twice. Libby had a deep passion for dance and music, with a special love for playing the guitar. She also embraced motherhood, cherishing her toddler son, Alexavier, with all her heart.
At approximately 8:00 p.m. on December 11, 2017, law enforcement authorities were dispatched to the Sports Stadium Motel located on US 40 Highway in response to a distress call from Libby’s boyfriend. According to the caller, Libby had reportedly hanged herself in Room 319 of the motel. Upon arrival, the police discovered that the door to the room was locked, necessitating its forcible entry. Inside, they encountered a scene of disarray, with personal belongings scattered throughout the room, the bathroom door closed, and the lights switched off.
The police found Libby in the bathroom. A camouflage belt was wrapped around her neck and she was lying between the toilet and the bathtub. Her feet were propped up on the wall, and rigor mortis had set in, indicating that she had been dead for a few hours. The Jackson County Medical Examiner concluded that Libby had died from asphyxiation and due to the circumstances surrounding her death, it was not possible to determine how she had died. The police concluded that she had committed suicide.
Was Libby Caswell Murdered?
When the police delivered the news of Libby’s apparent suicide to her mother, she adamantly rejected the notion and reportedly expressed strong suspicions about Libby’s boyfriend’s involvement in the event. Libby’s boyfriend had provided the police with his account of the day’s events, stating that they had checked into the motel around 6:30 am Subsequently, he laid down for a nap. He recounted that an argument had erupted between Libby and himself regarding his drug use, after which he fell asleep around 11 am. He claimed that when he woke up at approximately 8 pm, he noticed the end of his belt protruding from beneath the bathroom door.
Alarmed, he said he opened the door to find Libby on the floor. He asserted that he attempted to loosen the belt but couldn’t detect a pulse, causing him to panic. In his distress, he left the room and dialed 911 on his way out. The police interviewed Libby’s boyfriend, who had arrived at the police station around 10:45 pm on the night of the incident. During the interview, he claimed that Libby had been struggling with suicidal thoughts. Corroborating this, a friend who had been present earlier in the day confirmed Libby’s emotional distress, citing her sadness and heavy consumption of vodka in the morning.
However, the toxicology report yielded no traces of alcohol in her bloodstream, raising questions about the accuracy of these accounts. Additionally, a witness staying in the room next to Libby and her boyfriend reported hearing noises, including a woman pleading, “Please stop hurting me.” However, the police did not find him to be a credible witness and did not bring him in for a recorded interview. Following Libby’s passing, another witness came forward and revealed that Libby and her boyfriend had stayed with him for several days in Kansas City.
A week before her death, on December 4, 2017, this witness was awakened by a commotion and walked into the room where the couple was staying, only to find Libby’s boyfriend choking her. In addition to the witness’s account, it was discovered that Libby had been actively working with an agency to regain full custody of her son. She had been committed to turning her life around, maintaining her sobriety, and was even in the process of securing an apartment for herself and her child. Notably, the caseworker involved in her case stated that they had never perceived any signs of suicidal thoughts in Libby.
Furthermore, during the December 4 incident, she informed the caseworker that her boyfriend had attempted to strangle her. While the caseworker recommended seeking assistance from a women’s shelter for domestic violence, Libby declined the suggestion. According to reports, friends of Libby had revealed that she had been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, and she had confided in them about her fear for her life. Their relationship had been tumultuous, marked by periods of being together and apart since their high school days. They often sought refuge at Libby’s parents’ residence, which unfortunately became a site of repeated domestic disturbances.
Libby’s mother had contacted the police numerous times due to the ongoing conflicts between the couple. The frequency of these calls had escalated to such an extent in 2013 that the authorities designated their house as a nuisance property, resulting in a fine. In a quest for support and answers, Cynthia, Libby’s mother, reached out to Alliance for Hope International, an organization based in California that provides training on various issues, including sexual assault and domestic violence. The medical director of the organization raised concerns about the forensic evidence discovered at the scene of the death, highlighting inconsistencies with the case’s official conclusion.
The mark on her neck from the hanging indicated possible strangulation, casting doubt on the purported suicide narrative. Together with Libby’s family, they have appealed to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and external agencies to assume control of the investigation from the Independence police. With Cynthia now caring for her grandson, her friends and family have been advocating for her cause on the Justice For Libby Facebook group. As of April 2021, Libby’s former boyfriend remains incarcerated, serving time for an unrelated case.