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.