In the Bakersfield, California area in the spring of 2018, there were two men who were murdered: Micah Holsonbake, who disappeared in late March and whose arm was found in the river in December, and James Kulstad, who was shot in his mother’s car in early April. A Bakersfield woman, Baylee Despot, disappeared in late April that year.
They all knew each other and ran in the same circles, and there was talk that the cases must be connected somehow. The media, and the mothers of the missing/murdered individuals, called them “the Bakersfield Three.”
Well, there’s been a break in the case: it turns out the Bakersfield Three is actually the Bakersfield Two, as the police have decided Kulstad’s murder isn’t related to the other cases, and it turns out Despot and her boyfriend killed Holsonbake. She and the boyfriend, Matthew Queen, have been charged with murder, torture and conspiracy, and another man, Matthew Vandecasteele, has been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy in that case.
The police are still not sure what happened to Despot, though, whether she’s on the run or whether she herself met with foul play. With that in mind I’ve decided to keep her up on the Charley Project, murder charges or no. Despot’s mom seems to think Queen killed her, which seems likely to me.
What an awful mess. I feel so bad for the mothers of all involved.
This week’s featured missing person is Monica Denise Jackson, a Savannah, Georgia woman who disappeared on February 23, 2014, at the age of 45. For unclear reasons, she wasn’t reported missing until 2015.
Monica may use the first name Sharon, or the nicknames Moni and Strawberry. She has a gap between her two front teeth and a scar on her face, and both ears are pierced, her left one four times. She does have an arrest record minor offenses and was, at least as of 2013, involved in the sex trade.
I don’t know much about the details of her disappearance. I can only hope she is still alive.
Memorial Day is a time to remember the dead, officially the war dead but in practice for everyone. Certainly there are a lot of dead to remember this year: almost 100,000 have been lost to COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, and they can’t even have proper funerals due to the public health recommendations.
I don’t even know what to say about it. This is a war, albeit not against a traditional enemy. This virus has no pity for anyone.
Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Teresa Lynn Lawyer Wisner, a 24-year-old woman from Anderson, Indiana, the mother of a toddler-age son. She was a responsible person who had just started a new job and had no history of instability, and foul play is suspected in her case.
Teresa had planned to seek a divorce from her husband, James, who didn’t want it. He is the prime suspect in her disappearance, but he has never been charged in her case and I don’t know if that is ever going to change.
Today the number of Charley Project cases (both active and in the resolved section) went up over 14,000. The “lucky” case number 14,000 is Taquila Sherell Hayes, a nurse who disappeared sometime after clocking out of work at a Memphis, Tennessee hospital a year ago today. She was 41 years old.
Taquila’s disappearance wasn’t reported missing until August because her husband Carl did various things to make it look like she was still alive and well. She was a responsible person, though, and kept in regular touch with her loved ones. Pretty soon people began to sense that there was something wrong. Finally her family, who had grown increasingly suspicious, notified the cops, and Carl’s story quickly fell apart.
He’s been charged with his wife’s murder, but her body has never been located and it’s not clear what happened. I’m guessing forensic evidence will come up at the trial; Carl replaced the carpeting in three rooms in the house and in Taquila’s car, and also repainted the house.
Hello, all. This week’s featured missing person is Willie Lee Johnson, a 26-year-old African-American man who disappeared from Akron, Ohio on January 20, 1978. He went out that night to the Tropicana Lounge on north Howard Street (which now appears to be derelict) and never returned. His car was later found abandoned with his things inside.
Unfortunately that’s basically all I know about Willie’s disappearance. I can’t find anything about him in the newspaper archives, and having a name like “Willie Johnson” does not help matters. But I’m sure he still has family who miss him and wonder what became of him.
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and washing their hands.
Hi all. Hope y’all are doing okay and are in good health. Michael and I are doing well, though it’s getting hard to stave off depression. I never went to many places, but the fact that now I basically never leave the house at all is getting to me. On top of worrying about Michael possibly getting infected at his job. But I know a lot of other people are worse off.
Recently I read an interesting book called The Origins of AIDS. It was extremely interesting and all the little connections, the butterfly-effect stuff of what happened, was astounding to me. At around 1910 a hunter in sub-Saharan Africa cut himself while killing or butchering a chimp, some of the chimp’s blood got in the cut, and a century later 30 million people are dead. And there were a lot of events that happened in the intervening years, and if even one of them hadn’t happened as it did, the history of AIDS would be much different now.
Stay safe, everyone. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. No one should consider themselves immune from COVID-19. Something like 15-20% of the people who have died were under 65, and around 10% had no underlying illnesses at all. That doesn’t even count the people who only survived by the skin of their teeth after a stint in ICU. Coronavirus is insanely unpredictable; a 108-year-old woman survived while a healthy five-year-old did not.
On the bright side, a Chinese man who was abducted in 1988 has been reunited with his parents after 32 years.
This week’s featured missing person is Elaine Ford, a 29-year-old woman who was last seen in Cleveland, Ohio on May 21, 1990. I don’t have any details about her disappearance, unfortunately. She wore a Jheri curl wig at the time of her disappearance, as well as a black or brown skirt. She has a scar on her left hand and a knot on her neck.
If still alive, Elaine would be 58 today.
I hope everyone is okay. Someone at Michael’s workplace tested positive for the coronavirus. He remains in good health but I think it’s a not a matter of if he gets sick but when. Not necessarily because of that person at his work (they worked different shifts and in different areas of the facility), but just because this virus is extremely contagious and is likely to get basically everywhere before they can come up with a vaccine. It’s pretty scary.
All my family and my loved ones remain in good health, thank goodness. I did have an online friend who got infected, and she was hospitalized for a time but she is at home recovering.