If you haven’t already heard, last week the police announced they’d finally identified the Boy in the Box, a young boy aged approximately three or seven years old whose naked, malnourished, beaten body was found in a cardboard box in the woods in Philadelphia back in 1957.
I didn’t think they’d ever be able to put a name to him, frankly, though I know they have tried very hard over the years. But genetic genealogy has been a game-changer for so many cold cases and apparently this was one of them.
I’m not sure why they’re waiting to announce his name. Maybe there’s a suspect who’s still alive and they’re trying to track that person down before they make the announcement? Or maybe they’re trying to locate and notify next of kin? Word is he came from a “prominent” family, whatever that means.
I’m so happy that they’ve been able to find out his name. I know many people from law enforcement and from the wider community have worked so hard on this case over the past 65 years.
This week’s featured missing person is Kevin Edward Lenting, a 41-year-old man who disappeared from Mason County, Washington on October 3, 2009. Three days later, his truck was found abandoned at a bridge near a campground.
Lenting was having issues at the time of his disappearance: he had a history of abusing heroin, his family thinks he suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness or illnesses, and police believe he was suicidal. Yet there’s no hard evidence he took his own life. He’s just gone. If still alive, he might be among the homeless population.
Lenting is white and 6’3 with a medium to heavy build (there’s a large weight range, 185 to 240 pounds), with graying brown hair and blue eyes. If still alive he’d be 54 today.
After I adopted my previous dog, Kinsey, she became the official Charley Project office dog because she would hang out with me in my office when I worked. Kinsey passed away last year, shortly before her 17th birthday.
Well, now the Charley Project has a new office dog! His name is Patrick and he’s a Korean Jindo mix whom I adopted from Humane Fort Wayne on December 2. Korean Jindos are famous in South Korea but rare in the US. In preparation to select and adopt a new dog I read a book about dogs that had info on 100 different breeds, but the Jindo was not one of those. I’ve been getting most of my info on them from YouTube.
Patrick is about a year old. He was born on a meat farm in South Korea, and got picked up by a rescue organization and flown to the United States in May.
I think he must have had a stellar foster family prior to his adoption, because I highly doubt he was well socialized in his first months but he’s very well behaved, not aggressive, walks well on a leash, etc. When visitors come he barks at them but will stop after a little bit once he realizes they’re not here to kill us all.
Neither of the cats is all that happy about their new brother. Aria remembers Kinsey and doesn’t seem to be afraid of Patrick, just annoyed by him. Viola has never lived with a dog before and is hiding most of the time, and hisses at him during the face-to-face encounters they’ve had. But the cats will get used to him. Patrick for his part is mildly curious about them but nothing more.
So let’s all welcome Patrick to the Charley Project family. I think he will work out fine.
This week’s featured missing person is Barbara Ann Johnson-Willard, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Jay, Oklahoma on June 17, 1996. She is white, 5’5 and 105 pounds, with pierced ears and scars on her nose, forearm and abdomen. Her nickname is Bobbie.
This is a murder-without-a-body case; authorities believe Barbara was killed by a coworker, John Lee Weeks. He was charged with her murder in 2011, but the charges were later dropped. Weeks is currently serving time in Kansas for sex crimes and isn’t due to be released until 2037. So he’s not going anywhere and perhaps could be brought up on charges again in Barbara’s case.
Whether or not he was involved in this case, somebody definitely hurt Barbara. As the casefile explains:
Shreds of clothing were inside the car’s trunk and gasoline tank. Blood and skin tissue samples discovered inside the trunk were matched to Johnson-Willard’s DNA; the body fluids found corresponded to a deceased person. Transmission fluid had been poured over the vehicle, but the car was not ignited.
I hope everyone is doing well. Unfortunately I’m still not feeling very well; I’m very tired and find myself struggling to stay awake at my desk when I try to work.
According to everybody, Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, a toddler who was abducted by a phony babysitter from her family’s Fort Worth, Texas home in 1971, has been found alive and well and has reunited with the Highsmith family. She had been living under the name Melanie Warren.
This is obviously terrific news. She had been missing for 50 years, 51 years in August!
I am going to wait on official police confirmation on this because past hoax “finds” have made me wary. But it is really awesome news. Her family will have her home for Christmas.
Without all of you, the Charley Project would have no meaning or purpose at all. It would be like a pile of puzzle boxes sitting abandoned in a dark room, with no one to try to put the pieces together.
This week’s featured missing person is Jerry Burtin McFadden, who disappeared from Foster City, California on March 24, 1987. He was 46 then, and would be 82 now, if still alive.
Not a whole lot of info is available in Jerry’s case besides the generic “suspicious circumstances.” There is, however, a detailed description of his clothing. He is white, 5’10, with brown hair and brown eyes, and has a red birthmark on the back of his neck and that goes up into his hairline.
My apologies for being quiet all week; I’m on the tail end now of another cycle of vomiting and can’t really get much done.
This week’s featured missing person is Krista Robin Lueth, who was last seen in Lansing, Michigan on November 11, 2008. She was 34 years old at the time, 5’4 and 125 pounds, and white, with brown hair, and blue eyes. She wears upper dentures and her ears are pierced. She has a tattoo of an infinity symbol in the small of her back, and a possible birthmark on her left upper arm.
Krista’s ex-boyfriend, Brad Cournaya, was charged with her murder in 2020. At the time, he was already in prison for sex trafficking a minor. He is still awaiting trial in the murder.
Krista’s remains have never been found. Obviously, though, foul play is suspected in this case.
This week’s featured missing person case is that of Edward Larnell Martin, who disappeared from Tulsa, Oklahoma sometime in July 1999 at the age of 50. The exact date of disappearance isn’t known, so I’ve got it down as July 1. Edward is black, 5’10 and 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. His nickname is Chicken.
Oddly enough, Edward is related by marriage to Terrence Haney, who disappeared from Tulsa in 2001. I don’t know if the disappearances are related or if the men even knew each other. There isn’t a whole lot of information available in either case.
I hope you all are well. I voted today and the election worker who checked my ID said turnout had been good, even better than in 2020.
So I started to update today… and the first case I tried to update turned into a wall of text. You see, this is what I wrote:
And this is what came out on the actual website:
Nobody likes a wall of text, and I know from experience that until this issue of them not inserting my paragraphs is fixed, EVERY case I write or edit is going to turn into a wall of text. This problem has occurred before.
I messaged my web designer and asked him to fix this issue. Until he does I don’t want to update because every case I touch will show as a wall of text which is annoying or even impossible to read. And then after the problem is fixed I’d just have to wade back in and start adding paragraphs again. My designer should be able to fix whatever’s going on though.
I’m feeling a lot better; my nausea etc went away yesterday at last (had been sick since Thursday) and I’m eating again.