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Missing Minnesota mother: the disappearance of Wendy Khan, part 1

Mankato Department of Public Safety has an open investigation into the disappearance of Wendy Khan, which has included many leads throughout the years. However, without evidence of foul play, the case is not classified as criminal.

Missing Wendy Khan
Wendy Khan and her daughter, Aneisah Khan, in February 2018. Wendy Khan disappeared in early June 2018.
Contributed / Aneisah Khan
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This is part 1 of a two-part series of articles on this case. To read part 2,  go here.

MANKATO, Minn. — Scenarios in life that require motherly advice remind Aneisah Khan of all that she lost when Wendy Khan disappeared.

“She always knew the right things to say,” Aneisah Khan said. “When I was going through things in life, whether it was stress, school or work, she was always there to talk about it.”

That close-knit relationship came to a halt on June 2, 2018, when the 46-year-old Mankato, Minnesota, woman’s communication went cold. Calls to her phone went unanswered and text messages weren’t returned.

The lack of responsiveness was unusual for Wendy Khan — and Aneisah Khan sensed throughout the day that something wasn’t quite right.

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On June 3, 2018, Aneisah Khan, along with her father, filed a missing persons report with the Mankato Department of Public Safety, the law enforcement agency serving Mankato.

Vault_WendyandDaughter.jpeg
Wendy Khan and her daughter, Aneisah Khan, shared a close-knit relationship. Wendy Khan was last seen June 1, 2018 in Mankato, Minn.
Photo courtesy of Aneisah Khan.

Wendy Khan has not been located since. Her wallet and cell phone remain missing. Her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, Mohommad Bilal Chughtai, sold the house they shared together one month later. His whereabouts is currently unknown.

The Mankato Department of Public Safety has an open investigation into the disappearance of Wendy Khan, which has included many leads throughout the years. However, without evidence of foul play, the case is not classified as criminal.

“To this point, we don’t have this listed as a crime, nor are we pursuing anyone criminally in regards to this disappearance, to Wendy’s disappearance,” Jeremy Clifton, assistant director of operations for Mankato Department of Public Safety, said. “We did attempt to speak to several people who, at least a few of them, declined speaking with us.”

The last days with Wendy Khan 

Aneisah Khan vividly remembers the last day she spent with her mother.

Wendy Khan accompanied her to a doctor’s appointment. Later, the two ran errands and made their way to Wendy Khan’s house — which she shared with Chughtai — to browse apartment options online.

Wendy Khan was hatching a plan to move out and share an apartment with her daughter. There were two reasons for this line of reasoning, according to Aneisah Khan. While Chughtai was planning on selling the house, Aneisah Khan said her mother was also considering ending the nine-year relationship.

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“It was kind of like their relationship was rocky at that point, and so I told my mom that we can just save money and live together, you know,” she said.

During their apartment search, Chughtai came home. He was angry — Aneisah Khan said he aggressively ordered her to leave the house, threatening to call the cops if she didn’t follow orders.

That demand didn’t sit well with Wendy Khan.

“My mom kind of freaked out on him and was like, ‘No, she’s my daughter. She can stay here. It’s fine,’” Aneisah Khan said.

Aneisah Khan left on foot before her mother insisted she would drive her home.

“She gave me a ride to my apartment. She grabbed her laptop, and then she went back home to his house,” Aneisah Khan said. “And then that was the last time that I saw her.”

The following day, Aneisah Khan wasn’t able to reach her mother by phone or text message.

Concerned with her mother’s lack of response, Aneisah Khan walked to her house. Nobody answered the door. The house was dark, and her mother’s car was gone.

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Wendy Khan’s purse and cell phone, which were visible to Aneisah Khan through the window, were absent from their usual location.

On June 3, 2018, Aneisah Khan filed the missing person’s report with the Mankato Department of Public Safety.

Wendy Khan United Legacy
Wendy Khan is considered a missing person from Mankato, Minn. She was last seen on June 1, 2018.
Photo courtesy of United Legacy.

The investigation 

Four days after the missing persons report was filed, Wendy Khan’s 2011 black Nissan Sentra was found parked near a Mankato CVS drug store on the 200 block of Belle Avenue with a flat tire.

Law enforcement officers took a two-prong approach to investigating the disappearance of Wendy Khan, pursuing traditional models of policing to locate a missing person and those used to locate someone under a criminal investigation, Clifton said.

“Overlapping those two models creates the best chance of finding the person you’re looking for, and neither one has produced Wendy to this point,” he said.

Law enforcement thoroughly searched Wendy’s vehicle in a manner used for enhanced criminal investigations, according to Clifton. However, the search didn’t yield any evidence helpful to the investigation.

“It also didn’t lend toward us turning this from a missing person into some sort of criminal investigation," Clifton said.

Local residents were interviewed by law enforcement. Friends and family members of Wendy Khan also canvassed the area, handing out flyers and asking residents if they had seen anything. Aneisah Khan said some residents offered up security video footage, yet cameras weren’t able to capture the area where the vehicle was located.

Security footage from the CVS located near Wendy Khan’s vehicle was also accessed, yet didn’t provide a clear view of the vehicle, Clifton said.

Investigators also searched the home Wendy Khan shared with Chughtai. There, they discovered she left behind her belongings, including her two beloved cats.

To date, her financial cards have not been accessed and her cell phone has not been located, despite the use of available technology.

“We’ve worked pretty extensively to try to locate her through both normal person-to-person channels and then also trying to find some sort of electronic evidentiary values of where she both had been prior to her disappearance and where she might be after her disappearance,” Clifton said. “And anything, to this point, obviously, that we’ve pursued has not been fruitful.”

Clifton would not indicate whether Chughtai was considered a suspect, nor would he say specifically if Chughtai was questioned in the disappearance of Wendy Khan.

“Wendy did have a relationship with a person near or at the time of her disappearance,” Clifton said. “I’m reluctant to give a name or confirm a name, but anybody that she would have had a relationship with, either romantically or otherwise, in friendship or partnership, was talked to.”

Criminal records show Chughtai has been convicted of misdemeanor and felony charges related to domestic assault and stalking in Texas and Minnesota. He currently has a warrant out for his arrest stemming from a 2017 parole violation in Blue Earth County in Minnesota.

Read part 2 of this series for an in-depth look into Wendy Khan’s relationship with Chughtai.

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Trisha Taurinskas is an enterprise crime reporter for Forum Communications Co., specializing in stories related to missing persons and unsolved crime. Her work is primarily featured on The Vault.

Trisha can be reached at ttaurinskas@forumcomm.com.
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