5 months after Monica Sykes' disappearance, still more questions - KMOV.com

5 months after Monica Sykes' disappearance, still more questions than answers

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Tuesday marked five months since Monica Sykes disappeared. (KMOV) Tuesday marked five months since Monica Sykes disappeared. (KMOV)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Tuesday marked five months since Monica Sykes disappeared.

Sykes' family is still desperate for answers and holding out hope, despite frustrations with the City of Berkeley investigating the case.

“I want people to know she is still missing and we love her and we miss her and we won't give up,” said Regina Sykes. On October 28 last year, Regina Sykes’ daughter went missing.

In February, a search crew found human remains in Kinloch, but Regina believes they are not her daughter. “I pray all day every day, that it's not her,” she said. Berkeley police expect DNA results soon on the remains. They were shipped to a lab in California because the Berkeley Police Department says local labs could take up to a year.

Read: Berkeley police officer connected to Monica Sykes disappearance let go

Though shocking, Regina says, that isn't the only way the system has made everything much worse. You go to the police, because you think they know what to do and how to handle it, but they don't.

Regina and her family met with the Berkeley mayor last month. Regina learned the lead detective on her daughter's case had been being removed.

She feels the mayor was much more concerned with the city's image. She recorded the meeting with him.

“Low and behold here comes a team from out of town and made us look bad. They found skulls, remains. and that's why we removed [the detective,]” said Mayor Theodore Hoskins.

“He kept going back to how the City of Berkeley would look,” Regina said.  

Read: Monica Sykes' mother believes her daughter is still alive

But, there's more. One of the last people to see Monica was Robert Howard.

In September of 2016, he became a Berkeley police officer. Monica had been in contact with Howard. He even dropped her off at a family member's home on the morning of the day she disappeared.

In February, News 4 learned Howard was placed on administrative leave. And as of March 9, he was let go from the department. 

The reason might surprise you:

“During the course of the investigation, we felt it was best to do a more thorough background,” said Art Jackson.

Capt. Art Jackson, the interim Chief of the Berkeley Police Department tells News 4, after Monica's disappearance, they questioned some things on Howard’s initial job application. After a much more thorough background check, they cut him loose, although Capt. Jackson wouldn't elaborate much about why.

“Do you think a stronger background check should have been performed prior to hiring him?” asked Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager. “I am not going to answer that one,” said Capt. Jackson.

Regina believes Howard should never have been a Berkeley cop in the first place, without a thorough background check.  

“For a police officer, that's just unbelievable,” she said. Capt. Jackson though did make one thing clear: Robert Howard isn't a suspect or a person of interest in Monica’s case.

But Regina says she isn't so sure.

“Honestly, I believe he is. But I don't know to what degree,” she said.

We spoke with Robert Howard at his home. He declined to go on camera, but he strongly denied any involvement with Monica’s disappearance. He says he's been cooperative in the investigation and he says he disagrees with being let go from his job.

The mayor did not return our attempts to get back with him.

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