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Police investigation and Model Mayhem

Christiana Fesmire
Robyn Gardner
Lisa Renee Davis
Kara Nichols
Kayla Croft-Payne

UPDATE:  3/14/13 – HLN with Nancy Grace is now reporting on this.  Click here to read.   Jillian Mourning told HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell she was sexually assaulted and trafficked for months by a manager who she said contacted her after she created a Model Mayhem profile.

UPDATE 3/3/13 – According to Fox 31, “The National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation says Kara Nichols and Raven Furlong both had profiles on The group says the site is a common link in several cases of missing girls.

‘We’re up to 13 or 14 cases that we’re familiar with,’ the organization’s co-founder, Michelle Bart, told Fox 31.

Raven Furlong 
Kelsie Shelling
On March 15, this information was posted on Facebook regarding Kelsie: 
“KRDO-TV found a modeling profile that appears to be Schelling’s on a website called Explore Talent. However, the family’s Facebook page says she only logged onto the website once six years ago. ‘As beautiful of a person as Kelsie is inside and out, she is not an aspiring model. She was studying psychology and has aspirations to run a business,” the Facebook posting said. “It is our belief that Kelsie’s disappearance is not linked to a site that she logged onto once in 2006.'”

Raven Furlong


Kelsie Shelling

UPDATE 2/28/13 – Denver news has written a story about three missing Colorado girls. Click here to read.

Kara Nichols story here.

Over the past several months, I have heard that several woman, who are now currently missing, had joined the website Model Mayhem.  Then I read in the Morning Sentinel that the police are aware of it, too, and are investigating.

The Police investigating the disappearance of Christiana Fesmire, 22, who has been missing since July 1 from Maine, began searching a home in Lewiston on Friday for information on her disappearance.  They have also stated they are aware of her connection to Model Mayhem. (Dec 11, 2012 -The Office of the State of Maine Chief Medical Examiner confirmed a body found in the woods in Lisbon were Christiana’s. The cause of death was “homicidal violence with facial fractures.”  Buddy Robinson, 31, of Lewiston was convicted on a count of murder in connection with Fesmire’s death.)

The other women, according to police that share a common tie to Model Mayhem is Robyn Garner from Maryland that vanished in Aruba while with Gary Giodano, Kayla Croft missing from Washington since 2010,  Tia Payne from Arizona, Lisa Renee Davis from Tennessee who was murdered in 2009. On October 9, 2012, Kara Nichols disappeared.  She had a page on Model Mayhem as a model looking for work.

“I’ve done mostly lingerie shoots so far but I’m extremely open minded,” her bio states.  Investigators say Nichols told her roommates she was driving to Denver for a modeling job before she disappeared.

There are thousands of woman who post their profiles on websites like Model Mayhem in hopes of being discovered.  Many of these women don’t realize that the modeling websites are not visited by talent agents or modeling agency’s, looking for the next big talent, no matter what the website may claim.  Most of the people going there are desperate voyeurs and men pretending to be photographers.

Tia Payne

Let me be more specific.  There are actual photographers on the website, but they are there trying to build their portfolios.  Meaning, you work for free and in return you get free photos, but the catch is, you don’t know how good the photos are going to be.  Since the photographers tend to be inexperienced or just plain not any good, you end up with a bunch of photos with shadows or photos of you wearing skimpy clothing, which make you look unprofessional.  And let’s not forget the photographers that keep the original photos and sell them.  Who knows where your face will show up.

Model Mayhem is just one, of many websites on the internet that are out there that draws in naive women and men that don’t know the industry and how it really works.

If you really want to be a model, do not post your information on websites seeking representation, as this is NOT how you get a modeling job NOR representation.  Save your money, find a real photograph and mail your photos to a modeling agency.  This is the way it is done, and it has always been the way it is done.

Broadcasting your information, your photos and agreeing to meet strange men or women to model for them, is a recipe for disaster.   Don’t do it.

If you know Christiana’s of Kayla’s whereabouts please call Lewiston police Det. Roland Godbout at 513-3001, ext. 3319.

23 thoughts on “Police investigation and Model Mayhem

  1. Really, gotta love the hype. What else did they have in common, talking to strangers?

  2. I just love how this person considers women who chose to make a living posing in 'skimpy clothing' as 'unprofessional'. Tacky, author, tacky.

  3. I am a “real photographer” on model mayhem. Several women from age 25 to 48 are enjoying paying opportunities with clients or agencies today because they used the images I provided for them in applying for these opportunities.

    There are many nationally and internationally renowned photographers in the field of editorial or commercial fashion and glamour who network and provide modeling opportunities of great value through Model Mayhem.

    Are there poor photographers and maybe some creeps on Model Mayhem? Sure – same as with Craigslist Facebook or any internet site.

    As with anything in life, the answer is awareness and taking responsibility for one's safety.

    And nobody can deny that a young woman is far more likely to be victimized by a family member or friend, or a “boyfriend” than by anyone on model mayhem.

  4. Reading articles without a by-line just has to be valid. No named sources is a sign of a professional publication.

    Since these bloggers tend to be inexperienced or just plain not any good, you end up with a bunch of articles that are shadowy or posts warning you with skimpy information, which makes the website look unprofessional.

  5. As one of those “inexperienced or just plain not any good” photographers, I feel it necessary to point out that one of the ways you DO get chosen as a model by an agency is to go and show them your “book” or portfolio of photographs.Model Mayhem allows for a “Trade for” relationship, where the model and the photographer trade for their time and talent. I look at it like this, I pay the model a million dollars to photograph her, and she pays me a million dollars to photograph her. The only one that should be upset is the tax man. I am getting to hone my skills and not have to pay for a model I could not afford, the model, male or female, gets photos for their “book” that they probably could not afford. I always recommend that both parties take caution and I personally welcome chaperones that do not tell me how to shoot or bring their own camera. Were these women taken by a Model Mayhem photographer? The writer seems certain. Before any one of my brother, or sister, photographers is slandered, I would like to see more proof than the alleged victims all belonged to a certain website. They probably all wore the color blue on occasion as well. Before you chase the “pervert photographer” stereotype, let's look at all of the facts.

  6. Skimpy clothing, bending over, exposing boobs, etc., are for the photographers benefit and not the models. There is no modeling agency in the world that will take those types of photos serious, thus they are unprofessional photographs.

  7. You are not taking into account that the vast majority of women will never have opportunities in fashion as they are not “agency standard” – 5'9+ and size 2.

    There are many women making a very nice living – earning 100 /hr or more – by posing nude for glamour photographers. These models do not care if the photographer is *good” as long as his money is green, though quite a few wind up with opportunities to be published by Playboy etc. Some of these are the most savvy models you will ever meet. This is an entirely legitimate choice for a young woman to earn a living.

    Safety on Model Mayhem is easy to achieve – primarily by checking references and google searching the photographer.

  8. That's an opinion that comes from one very sheltered existence.
    Models in the real world regularly show breasts – even supermodels. On photo shoots, and on the catwalk. Skimpy clothing? For goodness sake – ever heard of lingerie modeling? Swimwear?
    Ever seen a summer-wear catwalk during the Paris, Milan, New York, Sydney fashion shows?

    Your values are your values – projecting them onto others, when the world is an extremely varied, pluralistic place, seems nothing more than an attempted denial of reality, and as other commenters have already said – panicky, attention-seeking nonsense.

  9. Yes, and these model's get paid very good money and have a decision in the matter. While “photographers” on these websites tell the women they need these photos in order to get work, and they are lying. Professional modeling agencies do not need photos of women looking like they are strippers. An honest photographer would tell them that the modeling agencies would not consider them in good taste. My values are to protect the women from perverts and let them know that a legitimate photographer would never ask them to strip down and pose. I know you are trying to defend your right to photograph ignorant women, but once they come here and read the story and all the comments, including yours they will know better than to trust what they have been told. It also cracks me up that every comment is from “anonymous”….that says a lot right there.

  10. As I stated in the very first paragraph, I read an article by the Sentinel that the police are looking at the relationship between…Hopefully, you will go read that article, as you will see two different stories. Funny how everyone wants to leave a comment about the article, but nobody leaves a comment about the women.

  11. The author of this should be ashamed of themselves. There are more than 300,000 female model profiles on Model Mayhem. The fact that .002% of them are missing is hardly interesting. My guess is that the % of women who are missing in the USA is higher than that. So maybe you should re-write this deceptive piece to state that it is safer to be on Model Mayhem than to not be on Model Mayhem?

  12. Not all modeling jobs are for agencies and commercial clients. A great deal of the jobs are for the benefit of the photographer's art portfolio. Some might be content – even erotic content – for the photographer's or model's pay site. And guess what? There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

  13. “We also confirmed they all had photos/accounts there. “

    Who doesn't have a model mayhem account? Very few people.

  14. I am not ashamed at all to be warning young women of the dangers of what they are doing and to be cautious.

    But, how many of the profiles are even active? Interestingly, there are more male members than female.

    It is safer to submit your photos to a legitimate brick and mortar modeling agency than to post them on any modeling website.

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