The Charley Project turned 11 in 2015 and is still going strong, I’m happy to report.
Who got found this past year? Some notable cases
- Tammy Jo Alexander, a runaway in her early teens, disappeared from Florida sometime in the late 1970s and no one quite remembers when. It wasn’t until 35 years later that she was reported missing. Almost immediately she was recognized as “Cali”, a Jane Doe who had been found shot to death in a field in Caledonia, New York in November 1979. Cali’s case had been quite famous on the internet and many people had been trying to identify her. I can only hope that her murderer will be identified too.
- Dana Evon Null disappeared with her boyfriend, Harry Wade Atchison III; she was 15 and he was 19. For years after I had added Dana to the Charley Project people would email me this article saying she was found in 1999, and I would have to explain that this was actually a case of Dana’s sister claiming to be her at a traffic stop because the sister had an outstanding arrest warrant or something. Anyway, Dana and Harry both were really found in January 2015, pulled out of a canal in Sunrise, Florida, along with Harry’s car.
- Rita Sue Zul disappeared from Fort Myers, Florida in January 1990, age 46. She was found under serendipitous circumstances: a guy had heard about another missing person and thought the cops weren’t searching enough local bodies of water, so he went out with a fishing pole and a magnet…and found Rita instead of the one he was looking for. Apparently she accidentally drove into the pond and drowned. I think the MP the man had been trying to find actually turned up later in another pond nearby.
- Percy Ray Carson, 26, disappeared while swimming at Huntington Beach, California on July 22, 1992. A single solitary thighbone washed ashore several months later but it wasn’t identified until 2015. This goes to show that just because you disappeared in an ocean doesn’t mean you’re lost forever.
- Lee Jan Marie Kratzer was (sort of) located in October 2015, having disappeared from Roanoke, Louisiana in 1982. She was twenty. It turned out that Lee had walked out of her life, took another name and had a child. She sadly died of natural causes in 2008, seven years before her left-behind family learned her fate.
- Kerry Ann Graham and Francine Tremble, aged 16 and 14 respectively, who vanished while hitchhiking sometime in 1979 and were identified in 2015. There were a lot of stumbling blocks in the investigation: the date they disappeared on was reported wrongly, and when their bodies were found in July that year they thought Kerry was a boy. (Fun fact: Kenneth Parnell made noises that he knew something about this case. He was probably lying. He never had any interest in girls that I’m aware of.)
- Rosemary Diaz, a fifteen-year-old girl who’d been missing since 1990, when she was abducted from the convenience store where she was working. Rosemary was located 25 years to the day after she vanished, in a shallow grave in Matagorda, Texas. The prime suspect in her murder is deceased.
(I’ve just realized that all my notable finds were found dead. Oh, well. We can’t have incidents like in Cleveland happen every year, nice as that would be.)