So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

10 thoughts on “So many watery graves

  1. Vividavidson November 14, 2021 / 10:20 pm

    Sadly, humans have been eating wrong, altering agents are readily available. Hormones and attitudes, in some cases, are out of control. Do you have access to resources to these (cold) cases. I knew Diana Leone and Dave Morgan, they were our neighbors. My kids found bones in the wash. Morgan freaked out. I do know of a PI who is also, maybe was, interested in Diana and Morgy, last I’d heard 2010 he asked me about Morgan. Happy to share. I still want to know what was in the 55 gallon drums at Morgan’s brother’s mini storage. I worked for Morgan on his moving truck. Once. He was 5150

  2. Sonya November 14, 2021 / 10:49 pm

    I’d heard of Adventures With A Purpose before. They do good work. One of these days I’ll get around to watching one of their videos. 🙂

    • Anthony November 15, 2021 / 12:32 am

      Definitely worth following them. They are damn good at what they do. Most importantly they are stand-up people with a passion for trying to give families closure.

      • Sonya November 16, 2021 / 2:17 am

        I’ll put them on my “Must Watch” list. I keep meaning to check out their videos, they sound really interesting, along with being a really wonderful thing to do for families with missing people who may be in bodies of water, of course. 🙂

  3. gr8tflkate November 15, 2021 / 1:32 am

    The Resolved section is my favorite.

  4. Maddison November 15, 2021 / 4:39 am

    Hey I hope this isn’t overstepping any boundaries but if you ever wanted some help with your load so you can take a break please let me know I would be happy to help.

  5. T. T. November 15, 2021 / 8:06 am

    Rest in peace to them all (save for little Kristina and John’s murderous breeder: when you do that, you don’t deserve the title of mother). How unbelievably sad and incredibly shocking in the case of Judith’s death. At least their families know where they are and can give them a proper burial.

  6. Mike November 15, 2021 / 8:58 am

    Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., were found in Illinois Bayou a little less than a mile north of Interstate 40. That part of the bayou is also part of Dardanelle Reservoir. They were found just off one of two bridges that cross the bayou. It is on the main route I used to use to go to work.

    This was actually the second time that Adventures with a Purpose looked for them. The first, I believe, was several months ago, when they searched along a different route she might have traveled, a 1.2-mile long causeway that is south of Interstate 40.

    Here’s a link to a Google map showing where they were found.

    Thanks so much for what you do.

  7. Celeste Keenan December 16, 2021 / 1:44 am

    It seems that Adventures with Purpose is doing some good. They also found the remains of Erin Foster and Jeremy Bechtel in a river nearby.

    • Meaghan December 16, 2021 / 9:54 am

      Yeah, it seems likely that they have. In such cases where multiple people were in the car I wait for official ID through DNA or dentals, though, cause it’s not unheard of for one or more bodies to be absent from the wrecked vehicle (washed away by currents or whatever).

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