Nothing about the Kayla Berg missing-persons case makes much sense and today, the case grew stranger after a six-year-old kidnapping video on YouTube, once written off as a hoax, is now being considered an authentic recording of the missing teen, who disappeared in August 2011.
The disappearance of Kayla Berg
With her 16th birthday just a few weeks away and no driver’s license, Kayla Berg accepted a ride to a McDonald’s restaurant in Antigo, Wisconsin so she could speak with a friend who worked there. Her mother recalls Kayla checking in.
“She had called me that afternoon, on August 11, around 1 or 2 and said she was going to hang around at her dad’s. She said, ‘I love you,’ and I said, ‘Love you back.’”
Driven by a male “friend”, 24-year-old Kevin J. Kielcheski, Kayla arrived at the McDonald’s about a half hour later. She ran inside, spoke with the friend, then left.
Kielcheski then drove Kayla to the home of her boyfriend, a 19-year-old man who lived in nearby Wausau. Kielcheski says he last saw Kayla about 10:00 PM when she got out of his car and walked toward the house she said belonged to her boyfriend. He recalled all the lights inside the home had been turned off and it looked as if no one was home. Investigators later learned that the home Kayla was dropped off at had been condemned by the health department a few weeks earlier. It was vacant.
Six days later, Kayla was reported missing by her mother. The delay of the report was highly unusual but her mother explained,
“It was such a messed-up situation as to why this wasn’t reported immediately. There was miscommunication between me and her dad. I thought she was at her dad’s. … Her brother said she was over at her friend’s house.”
Kayla had no cellphone nor active social network accounts. Cadaver dogs could find no trail of Kayla at or near the purported boyfriend’s home. Police attempted to interview her friends but oddly, they were “uncooperative” (which at first, lead police to believe Kayla had run away). The case was further complicated by a variety of descriptions of what Kayla was wearing the night she disappeared. Some say she was wearing jeans, a red-spaghetti-strap tank top, and flip flops. Others say she wore a long-sleeved shirt, tan low-heeled sandals, and a beautiful silver-ringed necklace.
“Hi Walter – it’s me Patrick” video – hoax or legit video of Kayla Berg kidnapping?
Two months after Kayla disappeared, a disturbing video appeared on YouTube titled “Hi Walter, it’s me Patrick”. The video was posted on October 11, 2011 and was largely ignored until July 2016 when viral video sites began listing the video as one of the creepiest videos on the Internet. Amateur analysis of the video was undertaken by several YouTube channels, each drawing the same conclusion – the video was a fake.
Three months later, Berg’s mother viewed the video. She was stunned.
“It sounded like her, looked like her, it gave me chills… Disturbing. It made me sick to my stomach.”
Antigo Police reviewed the video and agreed – the girl in the video looked eerily like Kayla Berg. In the audio, the man mentioned a necklace he had purchased for Kayla. They recalled witnesses reporting Kayla was wearing a new necklace at the time of her disappearance. Seeking assistance tracking down the origin of the video, Police issued the following statement:
“The Antigo Police Department has recently been made of a YouTube video titled: Hi Walter It’s Me Patrick Video- I have a new girlfriend. This video was originally posted in October 2011, but has recently gone viral and many believe it is connected to our missing person Kayla Berg.
The Antigo Police Department is actively investigating the origin of this video. If anyone has particular information as to the origin of the video or the identity of the individuals in the video, please contact the Antigo Police Department.”
The video had appeared on a special YouTube channel dedicated to “Walter” along with various textual clues in the video description. One of the clues hints at the intended viewer; “My videos to Walter. My friend who cannot seem to find me.” As soon as police announced the video could contain potential evidence in the case, YouTube pulled the video from their service.
Below is a complete transcript of the video’s audio.
Patrick: Hi Walter. I was at the mall today and guess what happened. I met the most wonderful girl. We went shopping at JC Penney’s and she tried on a lot of clothes. And she ended up buying a whole lot of them – you know what I mean. And then we decided to go and take a look at some of the jewelry at Kay Jewelers and she picked out this most awesome necklace, the most amazing necklace I’ve ever seen. And I know she wanted me to buy it for her because she kept on looking at me, and giving me that look – you know that look. And then we got kind of tired in the mall and [sigh], I brought her back to my place. And I know, I know she hates cameras Walter but I’m going to show you her anyway. You ready?
[Man stands and turns off a computer video camera. Video reopens with what appears to be a door to a basement bathroom. As the bathroom door swings open, we see a young girl, gagged and bound by the wrists, laying on a bathroom floor.]
Girl: [Crying] Why are you doing this?!?
[The man enters the room and slams the door behind him.]
Girl: [Screaming] Help!!!
[Video comes to abrupt end]
Taken together, it appears as if the author of the video is “Patrick”. Who “Walter” is remains a mystery but some have proposed the message could be directed to Walter E. Ellis, a Milwaukee serial killer who was apprehended just four days before Berg went missing.
The theory does indeed bear merit. Police now believe Walter Ellis had a accomplice. Patrick could be that accomplice. When the case first broke, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote:
“Ellis’ DNA has been found on at least nine females killed between 1986 and 2007. Police officials have said they think someone else killed one of those victims, a white 16-year-old runaway whose throat was slashed. The other victims, all prostitutes and African-American, were strangled. And at least two were also stabbed.”
Check out still frames from the video in the pictorial gallery below.