Flashback Friday: Tiffany Jennifer Papesh

Tiffany Papesh disappeared from Maple Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, on June 13, 1980. It was three weeks before her ninth birthday. She went to a convenience store, bought some hamburger buns and started to walk back home. It was only half a block, but on the way, something happened to her. No one has seen her since.

Technically, Tiffany’s case is solved. A guy named Brandon Lee Flagner confessed (over and over and over again) to her rape and murder and was convicted of the crime. Flagner has converted to Orthodox Judaism, which prohibits shaving, but the Ohio prison system wouldn’t allow inmates to have beards. He sued for the right to keep his beard and won the case.

But anyway, Tiffany’s case is only “technically” solved, because quite a few people, including law enforcement officers, think Brandon Flagner didn’t kill Tiffany. He was convicted mainly on the basis of his confessions (30 of them!) and his criminal record as a child molester. But his statements often contradicted each other, and I don’t think there was any physical evidence linking him to Tiffany. More to the point, he has a pretty good alibi.

I really don’t know why they convicted him. Perhaps he had a bad lawyer. But I have a good idea as to why there hasn’t been any movement to get him out: the guy’s a pedophile, a serial sex offender. Who wants to be responsible for releasing THAT onto the public?

But if he didn’t kidnap (and presumably murder) Tiffany Papesh, that means someone else did. And it’d be pretty hard to find that someone else, or find Tiffany, while there’s another man serving time for that crime.

This website suggests the “real killer” was the still-uncaught Oakland County Child Killer, a serial murderer responsible for the deaths of several kids in Oakland County, Michigan in the 1970s.

We may never know.

13 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Tiffany Jennifer Papesh

  1. Princess Shantae September 13, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    Which kind of puts the lie to that old tale we all tell ourselves, that child molesters have a terrible time in prison. Obviously this guy didn’t think so b/c he kept on confessing to Tiffany’s murder over and over again. And he knows how to work the system too, so I imagine he’s not too bothered about where he is.

    • Justin September 13, 2013 / 1:06 pm

      Child molesters, snitches and other prisoners who risk being assaulted or killed in prison by other prisoners are placed in protective custody within prison. He would be singing another story if he was housed in general population.

  2. Jose September 13, 2013 / 3:02 pm

    Meaghan did you know that the remains thought to be those of Lula Cora hood where the ones identified as HELEN RUTH ALPS! 3rd case i know of that get’s resolved!

  3. Princess Shantae September 13, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    Was Helen Alps the one that was very very heavy? I’m sorry but I can’t remember which one she was but I think she was lik 250 or 300 pounds.

  4. Crystal September 13, 2013 / 4:55 pm

    You know who else lived in Maple Heights, Ohio? Ron Tammen! Okay, so I’m a little obsessed with that case, but I’d really love to know what happened to him!

  5. forthelost September 14, 2013 / 11:31 pm

    Orthodox Jews are allowed to shave; Hasdic Jews are the ones who don’t.

    • Meaghan September 15, 2013 / 4:16 pm

      Hasidic Jews ARE Orthodox, according to a Jewish person I know.

      • forthelost September 15, 2013 / 4:53 pm

        Hasids are a subset of the Orthodox with a stricter set of rules.

  6. Janessa September 14, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    Reminds me of Amber Swartz-Garcia’s case. I don’t believe Anderson did it and there’s a lack of evidence…but it’s closed because it’s “solved”.

  7. Holly September 15, 2013 / 5:05 pm

    There are no shortage of people who confess to crimes that they did not commit. For various reasons. But also for their own reasons, that a rational person cannot conceive of. We, rational people cannot fathom confessing to a kidnapping and murder in which we did not commit, only to be locked away for the rest of our lives. However, we also assume that the people who do kidnap, sexually assault, and then murder children, are thinking like we would think. Curtis Dean Anderson, for example, confessed to Amber Swartz Garcia’s kidnapping and murder. I am one of those people who do not believe that he in fact took her. Do I have any solid evidence? Nope. But I have read enough about him to believe that he is one of those who confessed to crimes not for the end of the case and closure for the family. Exactly for the opposite – a laugh in your face control effort, Curtis Dean Anderson knew that if he confessed to her murder that no one else would be looked at. The investigation would stop, in essence never truly giving this family closure. He made up some BS story about how he took her because he “wanted company”. Then he gave her Ginger Schnapps and took her to a hotel two states over and she was dead. However, not one piece of evidence has ever been found to substantiate his story. And her body has never been found either. His home was searched shortly after he died in the cases of Amber, Nikki Campbell, and Michaela Garecht, but nothing was found either. I’m sorry this is so long, but just because someone confesses 30 + times to something does not rationally make them the right person. I hope whoever is responsible for this young girl’s disappearance is found out. But I doubt it will happen. Someone else is doing that time now.

  8. Kat September 15, 2013 / 11:37 pm

    The not knowing is the worst for the families. Bodies, I think, bring closure, limited though it is. I hope, in this case as is so many others, that eventually it comes around. In this case, wasn’t it that he knew she had a scar or something that wasn’t made public that convinced LE he was a viable suspect? I have to look again. Regardless, Tiffany has not been found, and that has to be so hard for the family. I find it funny, but typical, that a lot of press has been toward BF and not his victim.

  9. Janet November 21, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    It is very hard on the Family and they will never forget or never stop looking for that little girl. If he did not do it then we need to find the person responsible for her disappearance. Because Rick Papesh died with a broken heart and that is all he ever wanted to do was find his baby sister.

  10. Mary September 22, 2017 / 7:30 am

    I miss my whole family they all fell apart because of. Tiff wish we could find out what happened to her!

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