By Michelle McKenna
In the early morning hours of May 27, 2018, Sofia McKenna (21) and her friend Spencer Mugford (20) sailed off the rocky shoreline of the University of Connecticut (UConn) at Avery Point. The campus is a branch of UConn located in the town of Groton in southeastern Connecticut on the shore of Long Island Sound. Spencer had been a former student in the college’s Marine Science program and was a local sailing instructor. Sofia, on the other hand, was a strikingly gorgeous massage therapist that had once modeled jeans for a Danica Patrick clothing line.
It is speculated that their journey was a quest for adventure gone wrong. Snapchat updates indicated they were headed for the notorious New London Ledge Light House. Ledge Light is not only legendary for rumors of ghost hauntings, but infamous for being at the center of savage currents.
The photos that were uploaded to Spencer’s Snapchat account that morning indicated that Sofia and Spencer were not wearing life jackets, but that they did arrive at the lighthouse. In one picture, Sofia is shown smiling mischievously next to a “No Trespassing” sign. What happened next to the duo has been an anguishing mystery to her family.
Sofia’s family does know that 7 calls were made to her mother, Michelle McKenna, from Spencer’s phone – at 2:05, 2:06, 2:07, 2:08 (3 calls) and 2:09am. Spencer did not know Michelle’s number. Therefore, the calls had to have been dialed by Sofia, using Spencer’s phone. Michelle, who was sleeping when the calls came in, is heartbroken to have missed the calls.
That afternoon, beginning at approximately 1:00pm, Austin, Sofia’s boyfriend, tried to reach Sofia by phone and text over a period of about 2 hours. Austin then texted or called Michelle looking for Sofia because he had not heard from her since the night before. This is when Michelle noticed the missed calls on her phone and began to panic.
After family members were unable to reach Sofia and Spencer by phone, they contacted the City of Groton Police Department and reported them missing. The U.S. Coast Guard began their search for the young adults at approximately 6:00pm that evening. Michelle desperately tried to get anyone she could involved in the search, but the Coast Guard advised against that due to harsh weather conditions.
At approximately 6:30pm on May 27, the shirt Spencer had been wearing in the Snapchat
photo was found tied to a cleat at Ledge Light Lighthouse.
On the afternoon of May 28, a sailboat similar to the one Sofia and Spencer had piloted, was spotted by Austin and his father, flying in a private plane. It had washed up on shore on, upside down on Truman’s Beach, a beach located on Orient Point, NY approximately 8 miles east of Ledge Light.
The Coast Guard searched on and off in the span of 24 hours, finally calling off the search due to dangerously rough seas. They reported to the family that a thorough search had been conducted and that they were confident they did all they could.
Ten days later on June 8, more troubling news came. A commercial fisherman spotted Spencer’s body floating, shoeless in the ocean, approximately 3 miles west of Ledge Light, near North Dumpling Island, not far from Fishers Island, NY. He had been found just in time for his funeral.
Michelle is well aware that Sofia could have simply drowned in the sea that night, but is tormented by the many unanswered questions.
- The dark of night at 2am is not a busy time on the water, but it was a holiday weekend. Memorial Day is a celebration of the start of summer to some boaters in New England. Could somebody have interacted with them or witnessed something?
- Spencer’s body was found, but there has never been any sign of Sofia or her clothing in this highly trafficked area.
- Several other male boaters went missing that weekend in the same area and their bodies were found.
- Given the weather conditions, tides and currents, how did the boat travel 8 miles in 24 hours (ending up west of Ledge Light, upside down and stuck in the sandy rocks) while Spencer’s body ended up east of Ledge Light 10 days later?
- Michelle received a chilling message from Sofia’s personal Snapchat account nearly 3 weeks after she went missing saying “He needs money”. This was witnessed by her roommate. Curiously, Sofia’s phone, which had been left in her car at Avery Point, was in the possession of the Groton Police Department at that time.
- The family does not know if Sofia called anyone else that night to ask for help. Spencer’s cellphone records have not been released and no witnesses have stepped forward.
- It is unknown if the two were followed or had someone else with them that night. The security cameras at the college and the lighthouse were reported to be merely “decoy” cameras. There is no video evidence available at this time.
- The Facebook Group called “Finding Sofia McKenna: What Happened to Sofia?” has attracted some shady characters. There has been a following of creepy men that have posted inappropriate and suspicious comments on Michelle’s personal Facebook page. There have been unhelpful “psychics” who have posted on various Facebook pages who claim that Sofia is still alive and being held against her will, while others say she is gone.
If you have any information that may be helpful in solving the disappearance of Sofia McKenna’s please call the Connecticut State Police detective in charge of Sofia’s case at 860- 848- 6566.
Please join the Facebook group listed below to aid in the search for Sofia.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/242727036552879/announcements / (Sofia’s Story and Timelines, by Carol Fort, cousin of Sofia Mckenna, and Moderator on Finding Sofia Mckenna on Facebook)
May 27, 2018: https://www.wfsb.com/news/video-boyfriend-mother-talk-about-missing- paddleboarders/video_ 9cf8e820-d205-5f99-bb6c-eaf1bbb954c8.html
May 28, 2018: https://fox61.com/2018/05/29/search-suspended-for-missing-boaters-off- groton-shoreline/