Netflix’s true crime documentary series ‘Missing: Dead or Alive’ explores mysterious disappearances, with a focus on the local police department’s investigations. One of them that caught viewers’ attention is particularly the story of Sierra Stevens, a 17-year-old girl from Richland County, South Carolina. But where is she today, and what really happened to her?
What’s the Show’s Premise? Is It Real or Staged?
‘Missing: Dead or Alive‘ is grounded in reality, with each of the four episodes based on actual cases from 2019 to 2021. The series provides a detailed look into the workings of the Missing Persons Unit of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Investigators Vicki Rains, JP Smith, and Heidi Jackson are the central figures in these investigations.
Other than Sierra’s story, the show features other cases: Lorraine Garcia, Amirah Watson, and David Taylor.
Despite its factual basis, the series has not been immune to criticism. Some viewers have questioned the authenticity of certain aspects, speculating about scripted elements and the series’ representation of police procedures. These concerns were expressed through social media and various viewer feedback channels.
What Happened to Sierra Stevens?
Featured in the final part of the series, Sierra’s story begins with her family background. Her parents struggled with addiction, leading the 17-year-old Sierra to a life filled with instability. This turbulence resulted in a tragic car accident, after which Sierra was placed in a juvenile detention center, and later a foster home due to her father’s neglect charges until she was 18.
When she went missing in September 2021, Sierra was at a friend’s house partying, staying there for the night. Her disappearance sparked widespread concern. Sierra, after spending a night out, returned to find police at her foster home and, fearing arrest, sought refuge at her friend’s house. This led to a missing person report by her foster parents.
Due to fears of kidnapping or worse, the police initiated an extensive search. In Richland County, a region with a history of missing women being forced into prostitution, the urgency was reasonable.
However, the twist in Sierra’s story was as unexpected as it was relieving. In October 2021, she was found unharmed at her friend Emily’s house, having hidden there to avoid potential legal consequences. Her safe return brought an end to the frantic search, and she resumed her life, going back to school.