Black History Month: Irwin Stewart

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Irwin Yafeth Stewart, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy who was abducted by his non-custodial mother, Elvia Bravo Ibarra, from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2002. Irwin is biracial; his mother is Hispanic and his father is black.

Elvia and Irwin may still be in the Houston area, or they may have gone to Mexico. Iwin would be 17 years old today.

Awesome two-part series on Gary Mathias and his four missing friends

Two years ago I blogged about the 1978 disappearance of Gary Dale Mathis and the mysterious deaths of his four friends, who went missing with him from Oroville in Yuba County, California. The comments on that entry are, I think, well worth a read.

I’m happy to announce that the Sacramento Bee has done a really good two-parter on the case.

Part one is titled: Out in the Cold: Four mentally disabled men died in woods. But what happened to the fifth? Part two is Were 4 mentally disabled men set up to die in the California woods?

The articles provide a lot more background information than I had had previously, regarding the disabilities all the men dealt with, and Mathias’s criminal history.

Most people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are not dangerous to anyone but themselves, but Mathias was a violent man with a history of attacks on both men and women. This probably had more to do with his drug abuse problem than his mental illness. It’s not clear to me whether Mathis was ever violent when he WASN’T under the influence of some illicit drug or other. But both mental illness and violence ran in his family.

The articles posit the theory, put forth by the families of the dead men and by others, that Mathias was in some way responsible for the situation that lead to their deaths. Certainly that’s possible.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone is ever going to find out what happened, and I don’t see any reason to believe Mathias is still alive. But it is an intriguing mystery.

More on Randi Boothe-Wilson

This article has some more on the disappearance and identification of Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, which I blogged about the other day. Included in the article is a color photo of Boothe-Wilson. It looks like she was light-skinned and had straight hair, which might explain why the body, when it was found, was thought to be a white woman.

They got the DNA sample from “a stamp from a letter purportedly sent by Boothe-Wilson.” That’s clever. Sometimes investigators have to get creative. I read about another article today that was accomplished by fingerprints, and they got the prints, not from an arrest or military record, but from a pawnshop. When you pawn something you have to give a fingerprint.

(The stamp thing wouldn’t work for me. I loathe the taste of them and I buy stamps with sticky backs, or I use a wet sponge to dampen them.)

So it looks like Randi really did send that goodbye letter. It says the cause and manner of death is unknown, as of course is how she made her way to North Carolina. Such a strange case.

Black History Month: Nicole Cearo

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Nicole Sherese Cearo, a 20-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared from Seattle, Washington on March 30, 2009.

Nicole’s disappearance was the subject of excellent, in-depth coverage by the podcast Under the Redline, and various people close to the case were interviewed. Unfortunately, as far as I can determine, the Under the Redline podcast is no longer extant. (Which is a shame; it was really good.) But I was able to get most of their information onto Nicole’s page.

This is one of those cases where it is manifestly obvious what happened, and well-known in the community, it’s just that the police don’t think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. I am sorry for it; Nicole deserves justice.

MP of the week: Louis Shack

This week’s featured missing person is Louis Shack, who was 46 when he disappeared from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He left home in the early morning hours to go to work, but never arrived, and his car turned up on the Free Bridge over the Arkansas River, with the engine still running but no sign of him.

Presumably they searched the river. I don’t know anything about the case. When I lived in Arkansas I don’t think I ever visited Pine Bluff, but I heard it was a bit of a sketchy place.

If still alive, Louis would be in his sixties today.

Florida Jane Doe identified as Randi Boothe-Wilson

Per this article, a woman who was found in a wooded area in Jacksonville, Florida North Carolina [sorry I am dumb] in December 1995 has been identified as Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, missing since October 1994.

I’m pretty surprised by this. The image of the unidentified woman shows what appears to be a white person with light brown hair. Randi was black. She also didn’t disappear anywhere near Jacksonville; she went missing from New York City, something like 1000 570 miles up the coast.

The photos I have of Randi are black and white though, and not in the best quality, so it’s hard to tell what she looked like. And she left some goodbye notes, so perhaps she left New York voluntarily, traveled to Florida North Carolina and met her end there.

I’m glad her family will finally get SOME answers, anyway, although the identification seems to ask a lot more questions.

Black History Month: Justin Cosey

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is fourteen-year-old Justin Emile Cosey, who disappeared from New Orleans, Louisiana on July 12, 2002.

Justin is not listed with the NCMEC for some reason, only NamUs and the Louisiana database. He is, however, mentioned in passing in the book Tales of Two Cities: How Race and Crime Intersect on Local TV News: In New Orleans and Indianapolis. (I haven’t read it, but came across the snippet about Justin a Google Books preview.)

I don’t know enough about the case to guess as to why Justin disappeared, but it’s been sixteen, going on seventeen years since anyone’s heard from him. If he is still alive he’d be 31 today.

Black History Month: Monique and Sidney Smith

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is actually three rolled into one: sisters Monique Rae Smith, one month old, and Sidney Keara Smith, one year old, and their mother, eighteen-year-old Jennifer Dawn Lancaster. They all disappeared together from Topeka, Kansas on May 12, 2000. The children are biracial, black and white, and their mother is white.

The family’s car was found at an apartment complex a week later, and that doesn’t look good to me at all. However, I have been able to find very little information on this case, no articles, nothing.

If Sidney and Monique are still alive, they’d be 19 and 18. Jennifer would be 37.

Black History Month: Lakerian Thomas-Peters

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Lakerian Demell Thomas-Peters, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Pensacola, Florida on May 30, 2016.

Lakerian worked for a distribution company while he hoped to gain a footing in the rap music industry, but he lost his job and was depressed afterwards. I don’t know if he was depressed enough to walk away forever, or to take his own life, though. He had asked to borrow his mom’s car the day she disappeared (I think his own car was out of gas or something) and she said no, so he left on foot.

I think if he is dead and still in the local area, he hasn’t been found yet. He’s got very distinctive tattoos that would help identify his body if he was located. I hope he’s still alive. If he is, he’d be 25 today.

Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]