Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Phoulivay Thetsombandith

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Phoulivay Thetsombandith, a 20-year-old man who disappeared from San Diego, California on August 18, 1991, two years after he’d moved to this country from his native Laos.

Thetsombandith was seen being forced into a vehicle at gunpoint by a group of about four or five men. He was never seen again.

Although a group was said to be responsible for his abduction, in the end only one man, Percyval Leslie Dryden, was convicted of Thetsombandith’s murder. Supposedly he mistook Thetsombandith for some guy who had broken into his car. Dryden never said what he did with the young man’s body.

It’s such a sad case. This guy moves to the US from a third-world country, hoping to have a better life, only to be gunned down by thug(s) for no good reason. And they don’t even have his body.

MP of the week: Raymond Arruebarrena

This week’s featured missing person is Raymond Louis Arruebarrena Jr., who disappeared from New Orleans, Louisiana on July 3, 1976, at the age of nineteen. If still alive, he’d be sixty-two in a little over a week.

I couldn’t find any news articles about his disappearance, only a personal ad in the Times-Picayune from 1981, asking that anyone who knows his whereabouts should call a certain phone number.

I’d never heard of the surname Arruebarrena before, so I looked it up. It’s Spanish Basque. I found a few New Orleans area Arruebarrenas on Facebook; they’re probably Raymond’s relatives.

If someone were trying to match Raymond to an unidentified body, look for one that had serious injuries to the spine, ribs and left leg during life. Those would probably be the most distinguishing characteristics.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Yasuko Guillory

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Yasuko Koizumi Guillory, who disappeared from Metairie, Louisiana on February 16, 1999. She was 44.

Guillory, was born in Japan, adopted at age five, and has also lived in Canada, apparently has a history of dropping out of sight and of using different dates of birth. It sounds like she could still be alive and could be literally anywhere. She would be 64 years old today and may not even know she’s listed as a missing person.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Kianna and Gunnar Berg

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is actually two cases, the missing siblings Kianna Joanna Berg and Gunnar David Berg.

The children, who are half white, half Japanese, were abducted by their mother, Naoko Numakami, from their Fairfax, Virginia home and taken to her native Japan. They were eight and nine years old at the time.

Naoko told Kianna and Gunnar’s father that she was just taking the kids to Japan for a vacation, but once in that country she refused to return them. He hasn’t seen them since.

Unfortunately for the kids’ father, it’s probably going to stay that way. I don’t know if there are ANY cases where the Japanese government actually agreed to return an internationally abducted child. I don’t think family courts, as such, really exist there.

Both kids are now over eighteen and could choose to go back to the US on their own if they like, but my guess is that like many family abduction victims, they’ve been alienated against their left-behind father.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aaron Tapasoa

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Aaron Tapasoa, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 17, 2008.

Most agencies classify Aaron as Caucasian, but I made a judgement call and I believe he’s much more likely to be of Pacific Islander descent, for the following reasons:

  1. His appearance
  2. The fact that he “may have traveled to Samoa”
  3. Most importantly, the surname Tapasoa is almost entirely unique to Aaron himself, but the surname Tapusoa (a slight respelling) comes from the Pacific Islands.

If I’m wrong I’ll eat my words.

Getting back to Aaron, it says he associated with the homeless population and spent a lot of time on the beach. He’s classified as a runaway. Wherever he is, I hope he’s alive and well.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Xu Wang

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Xu Wang, also known as Sue, a 39-year-old woman who disappeared from Darien, Illinois on August 10, 1999. At the time of her disappearance, she was a doctor at a hospital in Aurora, Illinois. She was last seen leaving for work.

Her car was found only hours later, in a forest preserve. Later, her pager was found alongside the road, but I don’t know if the location was on her route or not.

The police have indicated that Wang’s husband is suspect in her disappearance, which is often the case. However, he’s got Parkinson’s Disease and I don’t know if he would have been physically capable of killing her and getting rid of her body.

This summer, she will have been missing for twenty years.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Howard Takanaka

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Howard Shizue Takanaka Jr., a 26-year-old Army veteran who disappeared from Superior, Wisconsin sometime in January 1984.

The circumstances of his disappearance are vague; even the exact date his unknown. However, there’s no reason to think he’s not still alive today …somewhere.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Jenna Robbins

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Jenna Ray Robbins, a nine-year-old girl who disappeared from Killeen, Texas on May 14, 1989, thirty years ago yesterday. She is biracial, and of Korean descent on her mother’s side.

Jenna was playing with a six-year-old friend outside her family’s home when a young man driving a late model Dodge or Plymouth sedan stopped and tried to entice the two girls into his car. Jenna got in, but the other child ran away. Jenna has never been seen again and her abductor has not been identified.

She disappeared on Mother’s Day. I doubt she’s still alive, but with stories like Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, Jayme Closs, etc., I suppose there is always hope.

MP of the week: Catrina Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is thirteen-year-old Catrina Renee Jackson, who disappeared while walking to school in Sylvania, Georgia on May 30, 1986.

An article I found from just a few days after she went missing suggested she was a runaway, but the NCMEC has her case classified as a non-family abduction. In any case, I don’t have much on it. Catrina, who may be addressed by her middle name, would be 46 years old now, and, in two weeks, will have been gone for 33 years.

Stumbled across some info on Telethia Good’s disappearance

So I was reading David Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets aka “the book that inspired the TV show The Wire” and discovered Telethia Good is mentioned in it, although not by name.

David Simon shadowed the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit for a year, from January to December in 1988, and wrote about the cases they solved, and didn’t solve. One of the most prominent homicides was that of Latonya Kim Wallace, an eleven-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted, stabbed and strangled.

The prime suspect is identified in the book only as “The Fish Man” (because he was a fishmonger). He knew Latonya Wallace and had a history of sexual assault and was just generally creepy, and there was some physical evidence that indicated he might have been involved. Obviously they didn’t have the kind of DNA testing thirty years ago that they have now, though.

The cops looked to see if they could connect the Fish Man to any other cases and at this point the book says that a nine-year-old girl who lived on Montpelier Street disappeared in 1979 and was never found, and she was “a dead ringer” for Latonya Wallace. The cops learn that the Fish Man’s business partner at that time lived on Montpelier Street and the Fish Man visited him there often. When they show the suspect a photo of the missing girl, he initially says he recognizes it, then backtracks and says he doesn’t.

In spite of the police’s best efforts, the Fish Man never confessed to Latonya’s murder, never mind Telethia’s case, and they couldn’t find enough evidence to prosecute him. According to the afterword in the book, he’s dead now.

I immediately checked on Charley to find a girl who matched the particulars of the missing child case in the book. Telethia disappeared in 1978, not 1979, and she was seven, not nine, but she did live on Montpelier Street and she does look quite a lot like Latonya Wallace.

I suppose I’ll add this info to her casefile. Shame I don’t know the Fish Man’s name. Now that he’s dead there’s no harm in releasing that info, I should think.