Amy Yu and Kevin Esterly have been missing since March 5, 2018, and law enforcement agencies are investigating the case. Esterly is not her stepfather, despite what she told her school. This disturbing case has forced all parties to take a deeper look at school rules governing their children.
On February 9, 2018, Miu Luu went to Lehigh Valley Academy Charter School in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania to pick up her daughter, Amy Yu. The 16-year-old girl is a student there, and was expected to be on school premises at the time.
To her shock, Luu found out that a man named Kevin Esterly already picked her daughter up, likely in his car, a two-door 1999 Honda Accord with the license plate KTL0529. Luu was terribly worried, and that’s when Susan Mauser, the school’s CEO, met and started talking to her about her missing daughter.
Mother Calls Police
Mauser said that Luu was “upset and said Esterly should not have picked her daughter up.” That’s when school authorities encouraged Luu to call the police, which she did that day. But court records don’t show when action was taken.
When police started asking around, further details of this disturbing case came to light. It was clear that Esterly, a 45-year-old married man, signed Yu out of school at least 10 times between November 2017 and February 2018. Since authorities began investigating, the two disappeared.
They were last seen on Monday, March 5, 2018, near Yu’s family home on North 18th Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Allentown police issued a missing person alert on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, listing that both were “possibly ‘endangered,’” meaning that the two could be in a potentially dangerous situation.
A Secret Relationship Revealed
Investigators told the court that Yu and Esterly have a “secretive relationship.” Though Esterly doesn’t have a permanent address, he and his wife, Stacey Esterly, own property in Lowhill Township. Esterly is described as 5’9″ and weighing 185 pounds, while Yu is 4’11” and weighs 90 pounds.
Mauser is investigating whether all protocols were followed in Amy Yu’s case and said, “A student can be picked up only by someone on the emergency contact list that is provided by the parents.” She didn’t reveal whether or not Easterly was on Yu’s emergency contact list.
Mauser also said that the school is cooperating with police, and Esterly “has not stepped foot on school grounds” since that day when “we were made aware he was not to pick up” Yu.
Police Arrive at Yu’s Home
On February 15, Luu called the police after Kevin and Stacey Esterly went to her home. Police told the couple that they were not to be near Amy Lu’s home in the future. Authorities interviewed Yu a few days later, and she told them that Kevin Esterly signed her out of school at least five times. This led investigators to check school records.
Luu reported Yu as a runaway on Monday, March 5, 2018, and police believe she was last seen with Esterly at about 7:09 a.m. at North 15th and West Allen. Luu added that her daughter’s personal documents and jewelry were taken from her room.
Personal Documents and Money Missing
Police immediately contacted Stacey Esterly, who said that she last saw her husband at about 6:05 a.m. that day. She also said that his personal documents were missing and he withdrew $4,000 from her bank account.
Kevin Esterly Is Not Amy Yu’s Stepfather
Despite what she told her school, Kevin Esterly is not Amy Yu’s stepfather. In fact, court documents list him as a concrete contractor who has several small claims cases dating back to 2007. Though since dismissed, he also had several minor criminal charges against him.
Kevin and Stacey Esterly have reportedly been married since 2005. In 2013, they filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which they were granted.
Police Investigation and Search Continues
Allentown police said on Monday, March 12, 2018, that they are continuing the investigation with local, state, and federal agencies involved in the search.
Chief Glen Dorney said in a statement via email that, “At this time, it is believed that Yu and Esterly are together and are aware that authorities are looking for them.” He added that, as to “not hinder our investigative efforts” and because of “national media interest,” his department would not release additional information at this time.
A Deeper Look at School Rules
This case has forced both school authorities and parents to look deeper at the rules governing who can sign their children out of school.
It’s now up to law enforcement to locate both Yu and Esterl,y and return the minor home.