So about the guy who knows two people who are missing

I had posted earlier about how I accidentally stumbled across a possible connection between two cases that law enforcement might be unaware of, namely that both missing women were VERY well acquainted with the same man.

People were commenting asking if there would be an update. Well, I’ve notified the police in the respective jurisdiction but I don’t know if I’ll hear anything more about it. I just have to hope the police do their jobs and investigate this lead if they didn’t have the info already.

I am not sure if the man in question was actually the person responsible for these women’s disappearances. All I know is he knew both of them, and most people don’t even know ONE person who has disappeared without a trace, never mind two. I think it has to be one of three things:

  1. The man was involved in one or both disappearances.
  2. The man was not involved in the disappearances, but someone in his circle was.
  3. The disappearances are completely unrelated and the reason this guy was romantically involved with two people who were missing is because he has a “type”: vulnerable women who are much more likely than average to disappear. Both of the women were vulnerable, albeit in different ways.

So that’s kind of all I have to report for now. I hope the two police departments communicate and see if they can help each other out in these cases.

Unfortunately the nausea/vomiting thing has come back in the last few days. Michael and a friend and I went to visit the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and it was a very inconvenient time to get the sicks. But it’s not as bad as it was last time. Last time I was pretty much incapacitated. This time I was able to enjoy the aquarium, I just felt very uncomfortable, walked around clutching a plastic bag and once had to discreetly step into a corner and use it. I’m taking anti-nausea meds now and they’re working, I guess, since I haven’t brought anything up today, but I still feel very uncomfortable.

See you tomorrow.

MP of the week: Myron Traylor

This week’s featured missing person is Myron Timell Traylor, a 13-year-old boy who disappeared on the way to his grandparents’ house in Phoenix, Arizona on July 27, 1988. He and his mom were going there with a bag of laundry to wash when Myron stopped to get a drink at a store while his mom continued on ahead. He was last seen standing outside after buying a soda, carrying a bag of laundry.

Myron’s mom’s boyfriend is a possible suspect in his case. He was at the place where Myron bought his soda, and he is a violent man; he murdered two people in 2009 and is serving a 42-year prison sentence. But he has refused to be interviewed about Myron’s case so there’s not a lot to go on.

If still alive, Myron would be 48 today. He’s black and was about 5’5 or 5’6 in 1988 with a slender build, only about 110-ish pounds. He’s black and he has a half-inch scar on the right side of his head, and a lovely smile you can see in the photos.

Made an unexpected connection today

So when I was doing today’s work I stumbled across something very interesting: there’s a guy who knew two people who both vanished without a trace. These women went missing years apart and in different states, but they had this man in common.

He wasn’t just a casual acquaintance either. He was intimately involved with both of them. At least one woman is the mother of his children, and he was married to the other one.

And I am not sure if the police in the missing women’s respective jurisdictions realize this fact.

I’m not going to say who this man is or who the women are. He may be completely innocent and I don’t want to throw him under the bus if he is. But I AM going to contact the women’s respective law enforcement agencies on Monday.

Because this definitely needs to be looked into.

Haleigh Cummings’s dad released from prison

Ronald Cummings, the father of Haleigh Cummings who disappeared from her home in 2009 at age 5, has been released from prison. He had been serving a fifteen-year sentence for drug trafficking. His now ex-wife, Misty, who was watching Haleigh on the night she disappeared (Ron was at work) is serving 25 years for the same offense.

I had always thought that those drug sentences were very severe, and wonder if they were mandated sentences left over from the “get tough on drugs” years in the 90s. I mean, 15 years, 25 years for selling some pills on the street? You can get less time than that, sometimes, for MURDER.

There had been hope that the drug defendants would try to cut their sentences down by offering information on Haleigh. But this never materialized.

With Misty, anyway, there’s a sense that she was sentenced for the wrong crime: if she didn’t outright cause Haleigh’s disappearance, she knows what happened and isn’t saying. But that’s not how things are supposed to work in this country. You’re supposed to be sentenced for the crime you were found guilty of, and ONLY that crime.

In any case, Ron’s release got Haleigh’s name back in the news where it hadn’t been in quite awhile. Maybe something will come of that. I’ve blogged about Haleigh numerous times, but the last time was over ten years ago.

There’s a four-episode podcast about Haleigh, by the way. I haven’t listened to it so can’t comment on the quality.

MP of the week: Verna Richardson

This week’s featured missing person is Verna Marie Richardson, a 48-year-old grandmother who was last seen in Fort Myers, Florida on July 7, 1990. She had begun dating a guy named Alexander Smith, but broke up with him the summer she went missing and was trying to reconcile with her husband.

Smith took her from her home on the day of her disappearance, apparently against her will. Verna was last heard from when she placed a pay phone call to say Smith had kidnapped her, tied her up and beaten her. For some reason she chose to call a friend to tell them this, instead of 911. She was never heard from again and Smith later crashed her car and was arrested for drunk driving. Richardson was gone by then, but Smith still had her purse.

I think there’s a pretty strong presumption of foul play here. I wonder where Smith is now, or if he’s even still alive.

Verna had multiple health problems, including insulin-dependent diabetes, and she needed dialysis. Even if Smith didn’t kill her, she could not have survived long without needing medical assistance.

In the unlikely event she’s still alive, she’d be 80 today. She is black, pierced ears, and she’s missing her two front teeth. She’s 5’8 and at the time of her disappearance she weighed somewhere between 180 and 225 pounds.

Kristin Smart verdicts are in

The verdicts in the Kristin Denise Smart murder-without-a-body case are back, and have been announced. Although father and suspected accomplice Ruben Flores has been acquitted, son Paul Flores was convicted of Kristin’s murder and faces 25 years in prison.

I bet he wishes he’d taken that plea deal they offered him, where he’d show them where he put Kristin’s remains and would only get six years. He’d be out by now, with that unpleasantness all behind him, young enough to start over.

Now he’s middle-aged–45 years old–and the 25-year prison sentence he’s facing might amount to the rest of his life.

It’s a sentence Paul thoroughly deserves, after he spent that same amount of time torturing the Smart family and accumulating drunk driving arrests and (allegedly) drugging and raping other women.

RIP Kristin.

MP of the week: Odell Vest

This week’s featured missing person is Odell Vest, a 21-year-old Native American man who was last seen at a house party in Towaoc, Colorado on July 10, 2000. Towaoc is a tiny town located on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.

Odell is described as 5’11 and 245 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. No information about scars, tattoos, etc., is noted. If still alive, Odell would be 43 today.

Though little information is available on his disappearance, the authorities seem quite convinced he was murdered. They’ve even offered a $10k reward for information leading to a conviction.

Red herrings

In yesterday’s update I put up a quite mysterious case.

When the missing man’s car was located over a week after he went missing, there were no obvious indications of foul play such as bloodstains. (The car was never processed for evidence, so perhaps non-obvious indications were missed.) There was, however, something very odd: in the dirt on the back windshield was written the words “HELP ME HE IS NEAR.”

Obviously people were abuzz about this. A photo of the writing was published online, and I dutifully added it to the casefile I was putting together.

The MP’s family made comparisons between the windshield writing and known samples of the MP’s handwriting. Reading about this, I told my husband about it and we debated on whether comparing finger-on-dirt writing to pen-on-paper writing was a pointless endeavor or not. (I thought finger-writing was likely to be so dissimilar from pen-writing that there was no point in trying to compare the two. My husband disagreed.)

But then I read further on the case and it seems that after the story about the creepy message on the abandoned car hit the news, a group of young people contacted police and sheepishly admitted to having written the creepy message themselves. They’d seen the filthy car sitting there and, being on a bit of a lark and having no idea it was a missing person’s vehicle (he hadn’t been reported missing yet), wrote the words and went on their way and thought nothing of it till they saw the papers.

The message had nothing to do with his disappearance at all.

I deleted the writing photo from the casefile I was making. It didn’t seem relevant enough to include anymore. I did, of course, talk about the writing in the case summary and explained that it was a prank.

I’m glad the people who did it came forward. Else people would have probably debated and speculated about the message until the end of time, like they do.

The writing is not the only peculiar thing about this case and from what I read I have no idea what happened to the missing man. It could conceivably have been just about anything.

MP of the week: Anita Luchessa

This week’s featured missing person is Anita Mary Luchessa, an 18-year-old college student who disappeared from Berkeley, California on May 7, 1972.

What happened to her is not a mystery: she was a victim of the serial killer Ed Kemper. Anita and a friend, Mary Anne Pesce, were hitchhiking when he picked them up. He later said he strangled and stabbed both of them to death, dismembered their bodies and dumped them near Loma Prieta Mountain. Mary Anne’s skull was found on the mountain in August 1972, but Anita has never been located.

Sometimes people ask me why I have cases on the Charley Project of people who are obviously deceased. Two reasons:

  1. To help identify them, if their remains are found.
  2. In memory of them.

If Anita Luchessa had not been murdered fifty years ago, she would be 68 today.

This is exasperating and infuriating

So, looking at this South Dakota missing persons page… it just makes me so sad there are so many names that even I have never seen before, and so many cases without photos. In particular the children.

I mean, look at this:

Missing at age nine. He’s been missing for four years. Too young to be a runaway, and no indication of a family abduction. You’d think there would have been SOME press about this poor child. But I can find nothing. Not even a picture.

And about her:

I looked for her on Facebook and found a possible profile with a picture in it. A black woman, like the missing lady, and with the exact right name, uncommon spelling and all. But the profile (which apparently hasn’t been updated since 2014) says that person lives in Tennessee, not South Dakota. I don’t feel comfortable adding her to Charley without better evidence that the profile is hers, and without any other available photos.

I found three probable Facebook pages for this guy:

But two of the accounts have no photos available, and although one does have a photo, the photo was added in 2021 (two years after his 2019 disappearance) which makes me wonder if he’s missing at all. But then again I have reason to believe that particular account is fake.

I don’t really understand why there are so many cases lacking photos. Everyone has photos of themselves. Even if you don’t have a camera phone, surely there are school pictures, driver’s licenses, state and tribal photo ID cards…

It’s frustrating.