Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aarshiya and Jiaa Patil

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 the sisters Aarshiya Manish Patil and Jiaa Manish Patil, who disappeared together from Thornton, Colorado on Christmas Eve, 2010. They were three and one respectively.

The children, who are of Indian descent, are classified as family abduction victims. Their mother, Ritu Hemchandra Desai, took apparently them to India. They may be living in the city of Pune, a major city in the state of Maharashtra on the eastern coast of India.

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Tangena Hussain

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 Tangena Hussain, a two-year-old girl who disappeared from Detroit, Michigan on October 2, 2008. She is of Bangladeshi descent.

Tangena’s mother’s boyfriend, Jamrul Hussain (no relation) is the last person known to have seen her, and his behavior in the aftermath of her disappearance is pretty sketchy. He didn’t immediately alert the authorities when she was supposedly abducted from his car while he was stopped at a gas station. By the time the police were called, nearly half an hour had passed.

Jamrul was later sentenced to one to fifteen years in prison on an unrelated statutory rape charge involving a teenage girl. I don’t know whether he’s still in prison or not, but a search of offenders in the Michigan Department of Corrections doesn’t turn up anyone by that name. Last I heard, he hadn’t been officially named as a suspect in Tangena’s disappearance, simply because there’s no evidence as to what happened to the little girl.

Tangena’s mother has returned to Bangladesh and the case has gone cold. I haven’t seen any news about this missing child in a long time.

If still alive, Tangena would be twelve years old today.

Much ado about nothing?

So I wrote earlier about how they were digging up a suspected mass grave in Michigan, and thought as many as five missing girls might be there. I’ll list them again:

  1. Cynthia Coon, 13, missing from Washtenaw County since January 19, 1970
  2. Nadine Jean O’Dell, 16, missing from Inkster since August 16, 1974
  3. Kimberly Alice King, 12, missing from Warren since September 16, 1979
  4. Kim Marie Larrow, 13, missing from Canton since June 8, 1981
  5. Kellie Marie Brownlee, 17, missing from Novi since May 20, 1982

Well, after a solid week out there with shovels and relatives pitching in (!), the dig is finished and they found…nothing. No human remains.

Obviously this is a profound disappointment for everybody and I have to wonder if there’s anyone out there at all. The police haven’t given up, at least not officially; they stated they quit in part because of weather and in part because they were “evaluating today what our next step is.”

The start of an interesting “Unsolved” series

Starting yesterday, First Coast News has begun an “Unsolved” series about the disappearances and murders of five girls in a three-month period in 1974 in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Two of the girls, twelve-year-olds Virginia Suzanne Helm (missing on September 27) and twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Greene (missing October 12) were found murdered. Nine-year-old Jean Marie Schoen (missing July 21) and the sisters eleven-year-old Annette Anderson and six-year-old Mylette Anderson (missing August 1) were never located.

Of course, one inevitably wonders about a serial killer, and Paul John Knowles confessed to the murders of the Anderson girls. The other cases remain a mystery, however.

So they’re digging up a suspected mass grave in Michigan

For the past several days cops have been excavating a farm in Michigan outside of Detroit, where they think several longtime missing girls are buried. The property used to be owned by Arthur Nelson Ream, who is currently serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of Cynthia Jocelyn Zarzycki.

Cindy was 13 when she disappeared in 1986. Her boyfriend, Scott Ream, was Arthur Ream’s son. Arthur told Cindy he was going to have a surprise party for Scott’s birthday, and invited her to come. She brought a mixtape to give to Scott. But there was no party; it was all an excuse for Arthur to get her into his car.

In 2008, Arthur lead investigators to Cindy’s body, buried in a shallow grave along the Clinton River in Macomb Township, Michigan. Well, apparently after his imprisonment he started talking about some other murders he allegedly committed.

The other possible victims (all from Michigan) include:

  1. Cynthia Coon, 13, missing from Washtenaw County since January 19, 1970
  2. Nadine Jean O’Dell, 16, missing from Inkster since August 16, 1974
  3. Kimberly Alice King, 12, missing from Warren since September 16, 1979
  4. Kim Marie Larrow, 13, missing from Canton since June 8, 1981
  5. Kellie Marie Brownlee, 17, missing from Novi since May 20, 1982

And here’s some articles about it:

MP of the week: Rene Perez

This week’s featured missing person is Rene Perez Jr., who disappeared with his mom, Cecilia Elizabeth Newball, from Los Angeles in 1994. Rene was six years old; Cecilia was thirty-two.

Cecilia’s husband of one year, Alfredo (who is not Rene’s father) claims Cecilia and Rene simply left one day and never came back. Cecilia left a goodbye-card and her wedding and engagement rings, and Alfredo got a typewritten letter a few days later. The letter said Cecilia (who is originally from El Salvador) was moving to Honduras with a guy named Arturo.

However, foul play is suspected in their cases. Cecilia was eight months pregnant, and women don’t usually pick that time to make major life changes or travel internationally. Furthermore, all of her and Rene’s belongings were left behind, including Cecilia’s car, their clothes and Rene’s glasses.

Some general questions that occur to me with the info that’s available:

  1. Did Cecilia and Rene’s passports disappear with them? Did Rene even have a passport?
  2. Was there any record of either of them leaving the United States?
  3. Did Cecilia even know how to type? Did she usually type her letters?
  4. Did Alfredo own a typewriter? If so, did the police check and see if it had been used to write that letter?
  5. Was Rene’s father a presence in their lives, and has he been ruled out as a suspect?
  6. Does Alfredo have a criminal record or a history of violence towards women?

If he’s still alive, Rene would now be 30 years old. I think he’s probably still six. And I don’t think his younger sibling was ever born.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Karen Zhou

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 Karen Zhou, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from this apartment complex in Grenada, Mississippi on May 21, 1994. She was born in China and had only been living in the U.S. for a few years before she vanished; her English was limited.

Karen used to be listed on the NCMEC, but she isn’t anymore. It’s my understanding that the family asked her to be taken off their database. She is, however, on NamUs.

The prime suspect in her disappearance is her stepfather, Shindong He. (I remember I struggled a bit to write Karen’s casefile, not sure which of the stepfather’s names was his family name, since the Chinese do this the other way around. I still don’t know.)

Prior to her disappearance, Karen frequently came to school with bruises, and Shindong He was also abusive to Karen’s mother, Wen Hua “May” Zhou. He later attacked her and, during the assault, told her he’d killed Karen. Shindong He was convicted of aggravated assault and then deported back to China, and who knows where he is now.

If still alive, Karen would be 34 years old. Her disappearance is still classified as a non-family abduction. I don’t know if Wen Hua Zhou is still in the U.S. Wherever she is, I hope she’s been able to rebuild her life.