Chosen by Annie, this week’s Select It Sunday is Deborah Lyyn Sanders, who was almost two years old when she disappeared in 1984. Her case is unusual for a family abduction not only because of its age, but because the abductor was found but Deborah never was. Odell Sheppard, her father, spent ten years and change in jail for contempt of court, for refusing to reveal Deborah’s whereabouts. As far as I know that’s a record.
Deborah’s searching mother died of kidney failure in 1998, age only 45, and her father was released from jail shortly thereafter. She does have siblings, though, who might be carrying on the search; I’m not sure. If she is alive — something that’s far from certain — she would be 32 today.
This just in from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: an unidentified 13-year-old who was reported missing four years ago has been found alive (if not well) hiding behind a false wall in an Atlanta apartment. The occupants initially denied his existence and it took the cops two searches to find him.
Although he hasn’t been named, there’s a photo of the boy reuniting with his searching mother. I’m guessing he wasn’t on Charley because his disappearance was never reported to the police, but only to Child Welfare.
I’m sure more info will come out later.
This week’s Flashback Friday is the infamous Paul Fronczak case out of Chicago. The baby was abducted from the hospital only one day after birth. In a twist worthy of a bad novel, Paul’s parents actually thought they’d found him in New Jersey a year and a half later. However, as “Paul” grew up it became obvious that he didn’t resemble other members of the Fronczak family. In 2012 he got his DNA tested and it turns out he’s not his parents’ biological child. So the investigation into the kidnapping began anew, but it started over thirty years late.
The woman who abducted Baby Paul has never been identified. I’m guessing she either raised him as her own or passed him on/sold him to a family who did. There’s every chance in the world that there’s a man out there, fifty years old, who has no idea who he is and no idea that he has no idea.
I wish a happy and harmonious Thanksgiving for everyone. There are so many people who help me keep the Charley Project going in one way or another, too many to list here, but I am thankful to all of them.
Oh, and I’ll probably be taking the day off. I have to juggle my holiday commitment between two families today — Michael’s and my own — and won’t have a lot of time for anything else.
This article is from this past spring, but I found it just now via You Had One Job. The headline pretty much says it all: a tourist in Iceland went missing and didn’t realize it, and joined the search party and looked for herself for hours. At least the story had a happy ending.
This week’s featured missing person is a Smith, just like last week. Except this one is Chad Howard Smith. He disappeared on January 11, 2011, after what must have been a spectacularly rotten day for him: a horrible fight with his wife, which turned physical, followed by a drunk driving accident in a restaurant parking lot. The next day when his wife went to their home he was gone. His car turned up parked near the Ohio River.
I hope he’s still alive.
A Charley Project reader sent me this link about an apparent MWAB case. It says the body was never found. I did my standard research but can’t find any news later than 1997. Last news is they thought she was in a landfill. The mother, Angelic Burney, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1999, and Websleuths post I found says the grandma, Rosa Wilkerson, was convicted of being an accomplice, but I don’t know any details.
Did they find Amy’s body or not? Can any of you answer the question? If they didn’t, obviously, I’d like to add her to Charley. Balance of probabilities would make it seem like they didn’t find her, but balance of probabilities isn’t good enough for me.
Selected by Jason: George Jay Vandermark, missing from Las Vegas since 1976. He sort of straddles the line between missing person and fugitive, I guess. He is known to have stolen seven million dollars from casinos and was involved with organized crime. However the authorities believe Mr. Vandermark met with foul play, possibly at the hands of the aforementioned organized crime people.
If Vandermark wasn’t killed and simply went underground to avoid the cops and/or the Mafia, it’s possible he went to Mexico. Selector Jason thinks he could still be alive, but if that is the case he’d be 91 now.
Right now I’m reading a book called Captive: One House, Three Women, Ten Years in Hell by Allan Hall. It’s about that notorious Cleveland case, of course. It’s British. I’m 40 pages in and the author hasn’t even begun to discuss the abductions; he keeps talking about Castro’s background instead. Apparently he came from a more or less normal family — I mean, they weren’t perfect, but weren’t horrendous either — and none of this relatives are psychos. The next chapter is going to be about Castro’s horrible maltreatment of his wife.