I posted an anniversary remembrance for Amanda “Nikki” Campbell earlier today. Just because I have nothing else to do I thought I’d post the other Charley Project cases who vanished on December 27. Don’t expect me to make a habit of these, though. I’ve got enough to do without posting an anniversary list every single friggin’ day or even every week. I’ll do this as a once-in-awhile treat, if I do it again at all.
Melvin Horst, 1928 (85 years)
Joanne Elaine Coughlin, 1974 (39 years)
Rebecca Pauline Gary, 1988 (35 years)
Raymond S. Mutchler, 1989 (34 years)
Lisa Renee Zochowski, 1990( 23 years)
Amanda Nicole Eileen “Nikki” Campbell, 1991 (22 years)
Windsor Dennan Thomason, 1991 (22 years)
Bertha Michelle Burkholder, 1992 (21 years)
Phyllis Ellen Lewellen, 1996 (17 years)
Richard Edward McCrary, 1999 (14 years)
Stephen Horace Pearson, 2000 (13 years)
Karen Jo Smith, 2000 (11 years)
Fatil Algul, 2001 (12 years)
Laura Leticia Ramirez, 2002 (11 years)
Earnest Lee Franklin, 2003 (10 years)
Gabriel Scott Johnson, 2009 (4 years)
David M. Mekvold, 2010 (3 years)
Gabriel Scott Johnson, 2009 (4 years)
Dan Binh Nguyen, 2010 (3 years)
Isabeth Yanez, 2010 (years)
Lacey Marie Buenfil, 2011 (2 years)
April Michelle Pickens, 2011 (2 years)
This list turned out much longer than I thought it would, actually. Has it really been THAT long since baby Gabriel Johnson was kidnapped? And we’re still no closer to an answer, even any kind of legal resolution, to his disappearance.
This week I’ll be profiling Gracie Nash, who disappeared 30 years ago last Thursday, in 1983, from Texas. Gracie, an employee at an Austin nursing home, was last seen after she finished her shift at 11:00 p.m. Authorities found her car abandoned, spattered with large amounts of blood. There were other signs of a violent struggle. As a result, Gracie is presumed deceased.
Six weeks later, Gracie’s brother John Davis was murdered. A few weeks after that, John and Gracie’s brother Melvin was shot by his girlfriend. He survived. The girlfriend, Naomi Easley, was convicted of aggravated assault and also convicted of murdering her husband. She was doing time last I knew, though she was supposed to come up for parole in 2009. (I last updated Gracie’s case in 2006.) I can’t find out whether she was paroled or not, but given that this is “lock ’em up and throw away the key” Texas we’re talking about, I doubt she was. Authorities believe Melvin’s girlfriend might have also been involved in Gracie’s disappearance and John’s murder, but she has never been charged for lack of evidence.
I hope Gracie and her brothers’ parents were not alive to see this. I cannot imagine losing three of your children to violence in the space of two months. Assuming Easley killed all three of them, I wonder what her motive was. Eliminating witnesses perhaps?
Four Three deaths (including her husband’s) would technically make her a serial killer. This was a black family, and from the sounds of it they were working-class. If it was a middle- or upper-class white family, I’m sure there would have been a lot more publicity. But what’s done is done.
You can read a few more more details about Easley’s husband’s murder case in her appeal, which was filed in 1992.
As I was reminded by Holly, Amanda Nicole Eileen “Nikki” Campbell, age four, disappeared 22 years ago today, two days after Christmas. She was last seen riding her bicycle outside her Fairfield, California home that afternoon/evening. (Probably, during the winter, 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. counts as evening.) She seemingly vanished without a trace. No witnesses to anything suspicious, no one heard any screaming, etc. She was gone. Makes me wonder if she was taken by someone she knew and trusted, but who knows?
I updated her case recently, without posting a notice on the updates page, to add a photo of Nikki’s bike which was found abandoned.
She was young enough to make it possible that someone is keeping her alive and she doesn’t remember where she came from. If so, she would be 26 years old today. Wherever you are, Nikki, I hope you make it home way or another.