A serial killer in Chicago

According to this article, Sonny/Samuel Pierce killed three teenage girls and may have killed others. He met them through phone chat lines and actually videotaped himself raping one of them — apparently postmortem. Gross.

The girl in the videotape is believed to be 17-year-old Mariah Edwards, who’s been missing since last summer. This is the first I’d heard of her. I checked the NCMEC and NamUs and she’s not on either one. The police, directed by Pierce, are looking for Mariah’s body, but so far they’ve turned up nothing. The other girls’ bodies have been found.

I’d really like to find a photo of Mariah so I can post her on Charley (if only for a brief time; I hope her body turns up), but I can’t find anything.

No resolution yet in Giovanni Gonzalez and Pilar Rodriguez cases

The parental kidnapping charges against Ernesto Gonzalez have been dropped for lack of evidence. Ernesto’s five-year-old son, Giovanni, disappeared from Lynn, Massachusetts in 2008 and Ernesto later claimed he’d murdered him, but it’s far from clear what happened; the evidence the police found didn’t support the father’s confession. He was charged with child endangerment, but that was dropped last year. He’s still in jail for misleading the police, but it sounds like he might get bailed out now. The police and Giovanni’s mother hope very much that he’s still alive. He’d be eight years old now.

Meanwhile in Florida, the Melissa Cooper has refused a plea deal in the Pilar Rodriguez case. Melissa was Pilar’s babysitter and she and her boyfriend took Pilar with them on a vacation in 1999. Pilar, who was three, vanished and is presumed to have been murdered. Melissa and her boyfriend, Keith Wilson, have each accused each other of killing her. Last summer, Melissa was charged with aggravated manslaughter. Well, she had reached a plea deal with prosecutors, but changed her mind at quite literally the last minute. (The article doesn’t say what she was going to plea to. Is this confidential maybe?) So the case is back on the table. Keith Wilson has never been charged in Pilar’s disappearance.

Answering emails and other stuff

I am back at home with broadband but haven’t updated the Charley Project yet. I haven’t felt like it for some reason — though I’m sure that once I start I will not be able to stop. 🙂 Instead today I am catching up on all my emails. Quite a few people write me and say kind things but sometimes I just fail to respond, which always nags on my conscience. So if any of you have ever written to me and not heard back, I’m not deliberately ignoring you. It’s just life. I’m better at keeping touch on this blog.

I’ve always got a sort of mental “to-do” list for Charley — besides the regular updating I mean. Right now among other things, I need to finish the last of the wrong-age corrections Jamie kindly sent me months ago, and write that review I promised for The Last Place You’d Look, and read a few other missing person related books people have recommended, and resume my purging of obsolete cases. Garden-variety Charley Project housekeeping.

In spite of everything I’ll get it done. It seems like every time I say “I can’t take any more of this,” I discover that yes, in fact, I can.

Cherrie Mahan maybe alive?

Per Jamie: this article says the police are looking into a theory that Cherrie Mahan, an eight-year-old girl who was abducted from her bus stop in 1985, may be alive and living in Michigan. They have talked to the woman and she doesn’t think she’s Cherrie, but DNA tests are in progress.

I think a girl of eight, if she was kidnapped, might not remember that much of her previous life. I mean, she might remember enough to realize something was wrong, but not enough to realize she was an abduction victim. It depends on the circumstances, I guess. But Eva Marie Fiedler was six when her mother abducted her and moved her across the country and changed her name, and she had no idea of any of this until the police found her decades later.

I doubt the lead is viable. But it’s possible. With cases like Carlina White, it feels even more possible. So let’s hope for Cherrie.