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Disturbing Voicemails and a Troubling Disappearance: What Happened to Henry McCabe?

This case has remained unsolved for 8 years, 3 months, and 1 days.

By all accounts, Henry McCabe was a well-liked and hard-working man. In 2015, he was living with his wife and two children and working as an auditor for the state of Minnesota.

On Labor Day, McCabe went out to a club with some friends, but he never returned home, nor did he show up for work the next day. The night he went missing, he left some odd and and terrifying voicemails for his wife and brother, sounding like he was in pain.

McCabe was quickly reported missing, and after months of searching, his body was found in a nearby body of water. Although the medical examiner determined the death was due to drowning, many family and friends suspect foul play, and to this day, no one has been charged in McCabe’s death. Was his death just an accident, or was foul play involved?

Mourners put flowers and balloons near where McCabe’s body was found.
Mourners put flowers and balloons near where McCabe’s body was found (The Africa Paper).

Table of Contents

About Henry McCabe

Henry McCabe was born on September 16, 1984 and immigrated to the United States from his home country of Liberia in order to escape a civil war.

In 2015, McCabe was 31 years old and was an auditor for the Minnesota Department of Revenue. By all accounts, he was a respected member of the community and well-liked at work. He also had a wife, Kareen McCabe, and together the couple had two children. They lived in Mounds View, Minnesota.

A photograph of Henry McCabe and his wife, Kareen.
A photograph of Henry McCabe and his wife, Kareen (The Cinemaholic).

McCabe remained very connected to his Liberian roots and participated in the Liberian community in Mounds View. According to friends and colleagues, he had a drive to succeed but wasn’t above sharing his lunch with his colleagues. He was also said to be an engaging public speaker who could capture and contain the attention of an audience.

McCabe the Soccer Player

In what free time he had, McCabe enjoyed playing soccer on a local team, the East Coast Stars. His teammates spoke fondly of him, saying that he would often tell entertaining jokes on the sidelines to keep things interesting.

Overall, there was nothing in McCabe’s history that would point to why he ended up where he did — deceased in a lake on Labor Day weekend. What happened to Henry McCabe?

The Night of the Disappearance

On the night of September 6, 2015, McCabe headed to a club, the now-closed Povlitzki’s on 65, with two friends, one being William “Papus” Kennedy. The three drank and partied, and at some point in the night, McCabe gave his wallet to one friend for safekeeping. Later, Kennedy took McCabe’s keys, stating that he didn’t want his friend driving while intoxicated.

Povlitzki’s on 65 club.
Povlitzki’s on 65 club (Facebook).

Once they were done at the club around 2 AM, Kennedy claims he dropped McCabe off near a Super America gas station in Fridley on 73rd Avenue. It’s not clear why he didn’t just drop McCabe off at home, and sources don’t go into detail about this.

A Terrifying Voicemail

At 2:28 AM on September 7, Kareen was in California when she received a bizarre voicemail. It sounded like a jumble of indecipherable noise for several minutes, along with some potential sounds of pain like moans or groans. At the end of the voicemail, someone can be heard saying, “Stop it.”

Some sources also claim that they hear gunshots in the call, and McCabe saying that he’d been shot. Others say that they hear the name “Papus” being said — with “Papus” being Kennedy’s nickname.

To my knowledge, the full recording of the voicemail hasn’t been made public. There are some news outlets that have played snippets of the recording, but not the recording in full. This ABC News source’s video has portions of the recording if you’d like to have a listen and see what you think.

Voicemail Left on Brother’s Phone Too

Later, police revealed that McCabe had also called his brother and left a voicemail as well. (It should be noted that some sources say that Kareen called McCabe’s brother after hearing the original voicemail and played a recording of it for him.) It’s not clear what the contents of that voicemail entailed, but it’s rumored that they were also the same animalistic sounds of pain.

The next morning, McCabe didn’t show up to work. Between him not showing up for work and the odd voicemails, his wife and brother filed a missing persons report, worried that something was terribly wrong. They wouldn’t learn how right they were until several months later.

The Search Begins

Authorities seemed to take the case seriously from the beginning, likely due to the voicemails left by McCabe’s phone. The fact that he didn’t show up to work either was unusual for him, and law enforcement began investigating almost immediately.

At first, his wife Kareen wasn’t sure what to think about the voicemails and the fact that McCabe was now missing. She discussed with authorities that she thought he might’ve been cheating on her and now had run off and was hiding somewhere on the East Coast.

However, as the days ticked by and there were no signs of McCabe, Kareen grew more concerned. Mounds View Police Department Chief Thomas Kinney stated:

“I just want to stress that anyone with information on Henry… come forward with any information. If they are reluctant to do so for whatever their reasons are, we would work with them.”

Thomas Kinney (Source: Spokesman Recorder)

Friends Interviewed

The men that McCabe was last seen with were interviewed about what might’ve happened to him and where he might’ve gone. William Kennedy denied any involvement with McCabe’s disappearance. Other friends also stated they didn’t know where McCabe was or what happened to him.

A missing flyer posted for Henry McCabe.
A missing flyer posted for Henry McCabe (ABC News).

Did McCabe Start a New Life?

Authorities monitored McCabe’s bank account to see if perhaps he’d run off on his own volition and then was planning to start a new life. However, his bank account remained untouched, and his phone was never turned back on after that disconnection in the early morning of September 7.

After some monitoring, law enforcement decided that it was unlikely McCabe had simply run off and they continued extensive search efforts for the man.

Discrepancies in the Story

During the investigation, it was learned that McCabe was dropped off at the Holiday gas station, not the Super America gas station. Surveillance video from that night was turned into police which alerted them to the discrepancy. It’s not clear if Kennedy, the man who was with McCabe that night, intentionally stated the wrong station or if he simply misspoke or misremembered.

It also turned out that one friend still had McCabe’s wallet and Kennedy still had possession of McCabe’s keys. Once again, Kennedy claimed he took the keys from McCabe because he didn’t want him driving home while intoxicated.

Family and friends of Henry McCabe met with police to try and get more answers.
Family and friends of Henry McCabe met with police to try and get more answers (Spokesman Recorder).

Cell Phone Pings

When McCabe had intentionally or unintentionally called his wife and brother on the night he disappeared, his cell phone was able to ping off of nearby towers. The pings were eventually traced to a cell tower near Creekview Park in New Brighton, MN.

Authorities and volunteers searched the areas near where the cell towers had pinged, but nothing was ever found that could point them toward McCabe.

Additional Assistance from Government Agencies

The FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) were brought in to help with untangling McCabe’s worrying disappearance. The FBI reportedly helped in cleaning up the odd voicemails that were left (trying to decipher exactly what was said on them) and the BCA provided additional investigative help to the Mounds View Police Department. Still, few answers were uncovered until another discovery later in the year.

A Body Found

Months later, a body was found on November 2 by a kayaker on Rush Lake. This was an area about 6 miles from where McCabe had supposedly been dropped off by Kennedy. It took several days for the body to be positively identified as that of Henry McCabe.

A map of the approximate locations of important places in the disappearance of Henry McCabe.
A map of the approximate locations of important places in the disappearance of Henry McCabe.

The Autopsy Findings

Because it had been several months since McCabe’s disappearance and death, the autopsy was difficult to perform due to advanced stages of decomposition. It took a few days to get the report but ultimately, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner released McCabe’s cause of death as drowning.

Despite some reports of people hearing gunshots in the odd voicemails left to his family members, there were no gunshot wounds found on McCabe’s body.

The manner of death, however, was not released. That is, the medical examiner was unable to declare if the death was due to a homicide, suicide, or accident. While some suspect that McCabe got to drunk, wandered into the water and drowned, many others feel that there was foul play involved.

Brighton Police Chief Bob Jacobson has said of the case:

“We are all committed in doing a thorough and professional investigation to determine the cause and manner of death and what happened to McCabe. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned to find the answers to what questions that we may have.”

Police Chief Bob Jacobson (Source: Spokesman Recorder)

Theories on What Happened

McCabe’s case is another one of those cases that has ended up attracting all sorts of online sleuths and detectives — many with political agendas. Social media comments about this case range from the plausible (“McCabe got disoriented and drowned”) to the conspiratorial (“the US government killed McCabe”) to the downright bizarre (“McCabe was killed by BLM protestors”).

For the sake of seeking the truth in this case, I’m not going to explore every conspiracy theory but rather focus on the more plausible explanations. Is it possible one of these out-there theories is actually the truth? Sure. It’s also highly unlikely.

A photograph of Henry McCabe.
A photograph of Henry McCabe (Mounds View Police Department).

McCabe Was Murdered

Most people seem to adhere to the idea that McCabe was murdered, either by Kennedy or some other assailant. McCabe’s older brother believes that was the case, stating, “My brother was found in Rush Lake. I believe he was murdered.”

Both McCabe’s wife and mother also believe that he was murdered. His widow, Kareen, said at the funeral:

“I want justice for my husband. He didn’t deserve to die. Someone did this to him. There is a God and he knows what happened and hates an injustice. Whoever did this, God will deal with you.”

Kareen McCabe (Source: Mshale)

Some suggest that McCabe was murdered as a sort of Liberian ritual, perhaps associated with the Liberian Civil War. According to some sources, McCabe’s mother believes this to be the case. I tried to find more information about this theory, but was unable to find anything like what it would have entailed or why McCabe would have been chosen for such a ritual.

McCabe’s Wife Was Involved

There are some theories that McCabe’s wife of 11 years at the time of his death might’ve had something to do with his unfortunate fate. Reportedly, Kareen suspected that McCabe might be cheating on her — a potential motive for murder.

Henry McCabe and his wife, Kareen.
Henry McCabe and his wife, Kareen (Facebook).

David Singleton, the CEO of Minnesota Community Policing Services, stated, “We feel like we have all been misled.” He was working with Kareen originally, but the relationship apparently went awry at some point. “We have an ethical and moral obligation to the community and to this organization to do the right thing,” he told Valley News Live.

That being said, most sources seem to agree that Kareen was in California at the time of McCabe’s death. If she had something to do with it, she would have had to have hired someone or otherwise convinced someone to kill her husband.

McCabe Committed Suicide

There is, of course, always the possibility that McCabe decided to end his own life. (If you’re struggling yourself, please contact the Suicide Hotline.) Authorities have stated that McCabe’s death does not appear to be suspicious, leading some to believe that he might’ve done this to himself.

Not everyone agrees with that assessment, however, and most of McCabe’s friends and family discount the idea that he would have done this to himself. “Somebody was inflicting harm [on McCabe],” said Lovetta Tugbeh of the Coalition of Justice in Libera, one of the people who knew McCabe.

Even if we were to imagine that McCabe committed suicide, that doesn’t explain the troubling calls made and voicemails left to his wife and brother. If he really was trying to die, why would he call and leave a record of it? Personally, I’m not convinced that McCabe was suicidal or would have orchestrated his own death.

McCabe Had an Accident

Others suggest that perhaps in a drunk and disoriented state, McCabe wandered around and ended up falling into Rush lake and drowning. It would have been around a 7-mile walk from the gas station he was dropped off at to the lake.

Some sources have suggested that McCabe might’ve been drugged at the club and that’s why he went wandering around in the dark, only to end up in the lake. I think this theory makes more sense than the suicide theory, but it still doesn’t explain the odd voicemails unless he was calling to try and ask for help.

What Do I Think Happened?

In a case as convoluted and confusing as this, I can see why so many bizarre theories have been put forth about what might’ve happened to Henry McCabe. That being said, I think David Singleton, the CEO of Minnesota Community Policing Services, has a good point in asking:

“If Henry McCabe’s death was an accident like some may suggest, why are some of the people closest to him withholding and manipulating pertinent information, and why has law enforcement suspended their investigation?”

David Singleton (Source: Spokesman Recorder)

There are a lot of questions in this case that remain unanswered, and we may never have the answers unless those who are withholding information come forward.

Was McCabe’s Death a Homicide?

Even though the official cause of death was drowning, that doesn’t mean that foul play wasn’t involved. McCabe could’ve been beaten to the point where he was rendered unconscious, then thrown into the lake where he ended up drowning.

If his body had been found earlier, before advanced stages of decomposition could take place, then we might’ve been able to figure out exactly what happened. Because of the duration of time his body was left to the elements, we may never have those answers without a confession.

A missing announcement for Henry McCabe on Facebook.
A missing announcement for Henry McCabe on Facebook.

Suspicions with Kennedy

The fact that Kennedy lied about where McCabe was dropped off at initially makes me suspicious, if only because what reason would there be to lie if that was what really happened? And why was he dropped off at a gas station instead of at home?

Furthermore, the fact that Kennedy still had McCabe’s keys is very suspicious. How was McCabe supposed to unlock his own house without his keys? Perhaps they were both intoxicated and Kennedy simply forgot to return the keys, but I think Kennedy has more information that he’s withholding from authorities.

Accident Still Possible

I think it’s still entirely possible that McCabe, in a drunken state, wandered off and ended up drowning. That being said, I’m not sure that it’s probable given the distance he would have had to walk (approximately 7 miles from the gas station to Rush Lake). That’s a long walk in the middle of the night while drunk.

McCabe left behind his wife and two daughters, all of whom deserve answers and justice for what happened to him. If it was indeed an accident, then there surely there is a good explanation for the creepy voicemails. If there was foul play involved, authorities need to keep investigating and get to the truth of what happened that night. Regardless, McCabe’s family deserves the truth.

Case Updates

Unfortunately in the case of Henry McCabe’s disappearance and death, there are few case updates.

January 2021: Investigation Discovery

In January 2021, an episode called “Who Wanted Him Dead?” aired on Investigation Discovery that covered the case of Henry McCabe’s disappearance and death.

Do You Have Information?

There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. Henry McCabe was 5’11 and about 168 lbs. when he disappeared in the early morning hours of September 7, 2015. Even though his body has been found, police are still seeking additional information for their investigation.

Anyone with information should contact the Mounds View Police Department at (763) 717–4070 or Minnesota Community Policing Services (651) 485–9211.

A missing poster for Henry McCabe.
A missing poster for Henry McCabe (Facebook).

Cold Case Questions

  • How did McCabe end up dead in Rush Lake?
  • Do you think anyone was involved in McCabe’s death?
  • Will this case ever be solved?

Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below!

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