Fort Worth

‘It’s been pure hell:’ What happened to Typhenie Johnson?

Typhenie Johnson, left, has been missing since Oct. 10. Her boyfriend, Christopher Revill, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping.
Typhenie Johnson, left, has been missing since Oct. 10. Her boyfriend, Christopher Revill, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping. Courtesy of Fort Worth Police Department.

A suspect is in custody in her disappearance, facing a charge that could send him to prison for decades.

But Typhenie Johnson’s family is far from finding closure.

Last week marked five months since Typhenie, 25, vanished from her apartment complex in far east Fort Worth, near Euless.

Her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Revill, 34, was later arrested and indicted on a charge of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The indictment accused Revill of kidnapping Typhenie with the intent of killing her.

But Revill denied hurting her, and searches came up empty.

A small team of private investigators hired by Typhenie’s family and a local volunteer have continued to comb through the brush and thick forest along the Trinity River in north Arlington, near where she was last seen. They have used drones and search dogs, and they’ve narrowed the search area signifi cantly.

Still, they have found no sign of her.

“It’s been pure hell,” her mother, Deborah Johnson-Strub, said from South Dakota on Wednesday. “It’s just unimaginable that this happens. You see it on TV and feel bad for the family. But until it happens to you, you don't realize how much pain it causes you.”

Typhenie’s family is scattered across the country.

She was living with her brother, Asher Johnson, who is still in Fort Worth. But most of her relatives are in Iowa, where she was born and raised. Her mother, who suffers chronic back pain, is in South Dakota — where they moved 10 years ago — because her health insurance won’t transfer out-of-state.

“It’s a feeling of hopelessness,” Johnson-Strub said. “I wish I could do more.”

Gone since October

Typhenie was last seen about 9 p.m. on Oct. 10, talking with Revill outside her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The two had dated for about eight months, but she broke up with him in August.

During their talk in October, Typhenie told Revill “that it was over,” the affidavit said.

About 40 minutes later, Revill went to her apartment and told Asher that she left with someone who was going to fix her car. Revill then left the apartment, according to the affidavit.

When Asher went downstairs to look for her, he saw Revill close the trunk of his car and drive away, according to the affidavit. Asher found his sister’s sock and cellphone where Revill had been parked. Her car keys were later found in the parking lot, police said.

After Asher called police, an officer arrived and called Revill, telling him he needed to return to the complex.

Reville arrived about 25 minutes later, “sweating excessively, the affidavit said. Revill blamed it on the heat. But the officers noted that the temperature was “very cool and that no one should be sweating” like Revill was.

In interviews with police, Revill denied harming Johnson and denied parking where Typhenie’s belongings were found.

The Star-Telegram reported that another one of Revill’s girlfriends, Taalibah Islam, went missing in January 2006. The Islam case is under investigation, but Revill is not considered a suspect at this time, officer Jimmy Pollozani, police spokesman, said.

The family of Typhenie Johnson speaks out. She has been missing since Monday. She was last seen with her ex-boyfriend, who is now in police custody.

‘In limbo’

In the search for Johnson, private investigators and a volunteer, Art Sahlstein, have canvassed about 35 square miles with no results. The hardest areas to search are along the Trinity River, where dense brush and forest cover the landscape, said Sahlstein, a collector of fossils who lives near where Typhenie went missing.

Sahlstein has borrowed off-road vehicles and drones, which help cover ground faster.

Tiffany Kaiser Miles, one of the private investigators, said Revill’s cellphone records have given them a general idea of where he could have been during the time Typhenie disappeared.

Along the Trinity and Lake Arlington, near where Revill lived, have been their primary search areas. But they’re still working off limited information.

Private investigators established an anonymous 24-hour tip line: (817) 631-0911. The public can also contact police at (817) 392-4222.

“We’re kind of in limbo right now,” Miles said. “Chris [Revill] is not talking at all.”

Detectives “are still working diligently for clues” in the investigation, Pollozani said.

Revill’s attorney, Lesa Pamplin, did not return requests for comment.

Revill remains in custody at the Tarrant County Jail with his bail amount set at $50,000. His next court date, an evidence exchange, is scheduled for April 3.