Select It Sunday: Karen Wilson

This week’s selection was chosen by Gomez T.: Karen Louise Wilson, a 22-year-old SUNY-Albany student, who vanished from Albany on March 27, 1985. She was a senior political science major. She went clothes shopping that day in anticipating of celebrating Spring Break in Florida, and may or may not have gotten a tan as well.

It looks like she was abducted while walking back home, but there were no witnesses, and it seems odd that they never found any of the things she was carrying with her. Surely if she got into a struggle with her kidnapper she’d have dropped something. But then again, the police didn’t think Shawn Hornbeck had been snatched off the street by a stranger because his bike was missing too and they thought they would have found it if he’d been taken that way — but he had been taken that way, after all.

I last updated Karen’s case in 2010. In more recent news, a possible suspect in the case died in a house fire in 2013. I’m going to have to update her case with additional information I found.

Karen’s mother, interviewed that year after the suspect’s death, said sadly, “We don’t know anything more today than we did in 1985.”

Sigh, I hate it when I’m right sometimes

I was doing my writeups and came across a case on NamUs of a woman who vanished just over a year ago. NamUs didn’t have much on her, but when I Googled her name I discovered that her life just prior to her disappearance had been very troubled. Over the course of about a year before she vanished, she was arrested about six times, mostly for heroin- and meth-related charges. She had also (of course) lost custody of her children. She was only 24 years old.

I initially could only find mug shots to work with, but even from those I could see she had been very pretty. And when I realized that all law enforcement contact stopped suddenly last February (after that long string of arrests) I thought, “She’s dead. Either she’s overdosed or she’s been outright murdered.”

Further digging proved my hunch correct: the woman had been murdered and I found a Facebook memorial page for her. They just discovered her body earlier this week. I suppose NamUs will remove her casefile now.

The case kind of reminds me of the 2007 disappearance of LaRhonda James from Florida. James was only 21 but an already established career criminal with a string of aliases; she had been arrested for some pretty nasty stuff. Then suddenly her criminal record, indeed all her records, stopped. I know she’d lived in Tampa for most if not all her life. I have absolutely nothing on the actual circumstances of her disappearance but I find it hard to believe that she’s leading a law-abiding life somewhere else in the country.

It’s sad. These two women I’m talking about clearly made a lot of mistakes and broke laws, but they were both so young and every missing person is someone’s child.