A sad anniversary

As I was reminded by Holly, Amanda Nicole Eileen “Nikki” Campbell, age four, disappeared 22 years ago today, two days after Christmas. She was last seen riding her bicycle outside her Fairfield, California home that afternoon/evening. (Probably, during the winter, 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. counts as evening.) She seemingly vanished without a trace. No witnesses to anything suspicious, no one heard any screaming, etc. She was gone. Makes me wonder if she was taken by someone she knew and trusted, but who knows?

I updated her case recently, without posting a notice on the updates page, to add a photo of Nikki’s bike which was found abandoned.

She was young enough to make it possible that someone is keeping her alive and she doesn’t remember where she came from. If so, she would be 26 years old today. Wherever you are, Nikki, I hope you make it home way or another.

Michaela Garecht: 25 years ago today

Two people have pointed out to me that it’s a quarter-century to the day since Michaela Garecht was abducted from a grocery store parking lot in Hayward, California. She’s never been seen since. Maybe if we had had Amber Alerts back then the outcome would have been different.

Michaela’s mother has a blog here and she’s working on a novel based on her daughter’s kidnapping. She believes Michaela is may be still alive and may have been taken out of the country.

Murder charges in Rainwalker case?

The DA wants to file murder charges in the disappearance of Jaliek Rainwalker, who disappeared six years ago today. (Hard to believe it’s been that long.) Presumably the person charged would be his adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, who claims Jaliek ran away.

But, as the DA pointed out, there’s “only one chance to get this right.” So he’s treading cautiously. He’ll consult with the police and do some thinking before he brings a case to the grand jury.

In the unlikely event that Jaliek is still alive, he would now be 18 now.

The latest MP news

This article about Erik Patchin has two new pictures of him. Last seen in Tallahassee, Florida, He’s been missing for nineteen years, nearly as long as he had been alive before he disappeared. His sister was quoted in the article, talking about how awkward it was to explain whenever someone asked if she had any siblings. Reminds me of Etan Patz‘s parents, who have three kids including him. Post-abduction, when asked how many children they had, his father would say: “Two, I guess.” His mother would say, “We have two at home.”

There’s an article about the disappearance of Kemberly Ramer, who’s been missing almost sixteen years. The police are still actively searching for her and believe she was abducted from her father’s Opp, Alabama home by someone she knew. The NCMEC put up a new AP for her a few months ago.

A newspaper in Illinois has run an article talking about several MP cases local to that area, including Michelle Bianco and Keith Ryan. The other names it gives, I don’t recognize and I’m not sure where they come from; I don’t see them on NamUs.

Sunday was the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of Roxanne Paltauf from Austin, Texas. The case has gotten a reasonable amount of attention over the years and got an anniversary article here.

Sunday was also the sixth anniversary of 19-year-old community college student Brian Sullivan‘s disappearance, and his family had a vigil to commemorate it.

This article mentions not only Brian but also two missing young black men, Domonique Tyshawn Holley-Grisham and Jonathan Tyrone Granison-Bradley. As I note on their Charley Project pages: Domonique is classified as a runaway, but he didn’t take any belongings and his family doesn’t think he left on his own. Jonathan has a life-threatening medical condition and needs medication to survive; he hasn’t refilled his prescriptions since his disappearance eight years ago.

Michelle Angela “Angie” Yarnell‘s killer has been freed. He got a whopping seven years for her murder (a plea bargain) and has been released four years after his sentencing; I think he must have gotten credit for time served and perhaps time off for good behavior as well. (Why is it that we always release the rapists and the murderers and the child abusers but keep the drug users behind bars?) Angie’s body has never been found.

Article on Quinn Woodfolk

They did an anniversary article about Quinn Woodfolk, who disappeared fifteen years ago on July 4 from Charlotte, Virginia. (His name has also been given as “Quentin.”) He was only eleven years old. It looks like it could be a runaway case — to the extent that an eleven-year-old CAN “run away” — and, disturbingly, it says he could be in the company of drug dealers.

The article doesn’t provide much in the way of new info, but it’s nice that he got a bit of press. How often does a missing black boy Quinn’s age get any media attention?

If he is still alive, Quinn will turn 27 in a week’s time.

Lindsey Baum missing four years

Lindsey Baum vanished from the town of McCleary, Washington (pop. 1,600 and change) four years ago today. Like so many other missing children, she was last seen walking home from a friend’s house. She was ten years old. Lindsey, if she is still alive, will turn fifteen in a little less than two weeks. The NCMEC just came up with an age-progression for her, which I plan to post next update.

Ten years ago, yesterday

On February 4, 2003 — a decade ago, plus one day — Sofia Lucerno Juarez vanished from Kennewick, Washington. She appears to have been abducted, but there were no witnesses or anything and it looks like the police aren’t any closer to solving her case than they were the day after she disappeared.

Sofia was four years and 364 days old when she disappeared. Today would be her fifteenth birthday.

She had no father, and her mother died tragically young — just 26 — four years ago. But she’s got at least one half-sibling, and extended family looking for her still.

I hope she comes home this year, one way or another, but I’m not counting on it.

Twelve years ago today

Tina Marie Sinclair and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Bethany, disappeared from their home in Chesterfield, New Hampshire twelve years ago, on February 4, 2001. The New Hampshire Sentinel-Source did a long, detailed article about the case and the suspicions against Tina’s boyfriend, Eugene Van Bowman Jr. Alas, it looks like the case has stagnated.

Article about Tom Drew and old people in general

91-year-old Thomas Drew wandered confusedly away from his rural Connecticut home five years ago last Saturday and never returned. This article talks about his disappearance within the context of the problems trying to take care of old people who can’t really take care of themselves, but are not in nursing homes.

Drew’s kids had hired a live-in companion for him and also another, backup caretaker, but neither of them were licensed. The live-in guy was out all afternoon and when he returned, the other caretaker said Drew had “gone for a walk” just a few minutes before. He was never seen again.

I wonder how the old man, who reportedly had very limited mobility (wrote “nobility” at first, ha), suffered a lot of falls and couldn’t even get out of his church without assistance, could have “gone for a walk.” And more to the point, how he could have vanished so completely. This is not to imply that Mr. Drew met with foul play or that anyone lied about the circumstances of his disappearance. I know that people with dementia have been known to wander tremendous distances. My opinion, though, is that Mr. Drew probably isn’t very far from home. He’s probably lying out in the woods somewhere nearby. Sometimes people disappear and their bodies turn up, years later, only a hundred or two hundred yards from where they vanished.

Anyway, the article explains how it’s difficult to make sure elderly people get the care they need. Thomas Drew was apparently well-to-do (he’d been a clothing designer who graduated from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology) and his daughters, neither of whom lived nearby, had power of attorney over his affairs, so presumably they could afford to hire people to look after him. Of course, even that proved to be not enough. And what about old people who aren’t wealthy and don’t have living relatives, or their relatives don’t know or don’t care that they’re into such bad shape? Earlier this month I wrote about two old ladies, one of them more than 100 years old, who vanished and weren’t missed for YEARS.

In Connecticut at least, there are “mandated reporters” who, if they know an elderly person can’t manage on their own anymore, are required to tell the state so the state can provide assistance. It’s just like with child abuse. But according to the article, only “licensed physicians and nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists and anyone providing care through a nursing home or agency are among mandatory reporters.”

Both of Thomas Drew’s caretakers weren’t licensed, so they weren’t mandated to report anything and they didn’t. Perhaps they thought they could handle it; perhaps they simply didn’t have enough experience to realize just how bad things had gotten; perhaps they didn’t know you could report this sort of thing, who knows. And, as Charley Project readers are well aware of, even if a person is in a nursing home, that doesn’t mean they can’t disappear.

It’s a big problem, and it’s going to get worse because the U.S. has an aging population.

I just think it’s really sad that Thomas Drew, who had lived to be more than 90 years old, had to (presumably) die under those conditions.

Three more MP articles

There’s an article about Marlena Childress, a four-year-old girl who disappeared from Tennessee 25 years ago today. As far as I know her mother, Pamela Bailey, remains the prime suspect in her case. Bailey actually confessed to killing Marlena accidentally and was charged with murder, but the charge was dropped for lack of evidence. In 2002, she stabbed her twelve-year-old son. He survived and she was convicted of attempted murder. (According to this article, she’s out of prison now.) The article doesn’t really have much information, and nothing new, but the NCMEC just put out a new AP for Marlena.

At 4:30 today in Dallas, Texas, they’ll be screening a documentary called The Imposter, about the guy who passed himself off as Nicholas Barclay, a missing boy from Texas, for five months. (There’s also a film that tells a fictionalized account of the story, called The Chameleon.) The fact that Nicholas’s family believed this person is an indication of the power of wishful thinking: he was 23, had dark brown hair and brown eyes, and a French accent, and he refused to voluntarily give his fingerprints. The real Nicholas would have been 17 at the time, and had light brown hair and blue eyes. The FBI finally got a court order to take the individual’s fingerprints, which established his true identity: he was actually a French citizen named Frédéric Pierre Bourdin. He has a history of using aliases and pretending to be other people; in fact, Nicholas is one of three missing boys whose identity Bourdin assumed. Perhaps he’s mentally ill or just a person with a pathological need for attention. In any case, he presumably caused terrible anguish for the Barclay family. Nicholas is still missing after almost eighteen years. He would be 31 today.

There have been several articles lately about Elizabeth Ann Gill, most recently this one from yesterday. Missing from her Missouri home since 1965, when she was only two, she’s one of the Charley Project’s oldest cases. The theory they’re working on now is that she was abducted by “gypsies” who were in the area at the time, and possibly given or sold to someone who wanted to raise a child. There’s a good chance that she’s alive today, and given her age at the time, it’s highly unlikely she would remember anything of her former life.