National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gebar Byrd Jr.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Gebar Byrd Jr., a biracial Hispanic and African-American toddler who was last seen in University City, Missouri on March 22, 2010, a few weeks before his second birthday.

Gebar’s father, Gebar Byrd Sr., confessed to the murder of both little Gebar and his mother, Yasmin Rodriguez. He said he intentionally shoved her into the Mississippi River while she was holding the boy in her arms. Yasmin’s body was found in the river on April 9; Gebar Jr.’s never turned up. Gebar Sr. was convicted of second-degree murder in the mother’s death and involuntary manslaughter in the child’s, and sentenced to life in prison.

In spite of the confession and the convictions, there’s some hope among some of Gebar Jr.’s family members that he’s still alive, because his birth certificate and other papers disappeared. Me, I’m pretty skeptical of that theory.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Mariah Carter

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Mariah Chavez Carter, a biracial Hispanic and Caucasian girl who disappeared from Biscoe, North Carolina on October 8, 2001. She was almost two months old.

Mariah was the victim of a family abduction; her non-custodial mother, Porfria Salmeron Chavez, took her, possibly to Mexico. There’s a warrant out for Chavez’s arrest, although for some reason it wasn’t issued until six years later.

Mariah would be seventeen today. She may not even realize she is a missing child.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Karen Rosalba Grajeda

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Karen Rosalba Grajeda, a 7-year-old girl who disappeared from Tucson, Arizona on January 11, 1996.

She was roller-skating with her sister and some other children in the courtyard of her apartment complex when she left to drop her roller skates back off home. It’s not clear whether she ever arrived at her house, but by the time Karen’s mom called the girls in for dinner, Karen was nowhere to be found.

She is believed to have been kidnapped by a non-relative, and some suspects have been named, but no charges were ever filed against anyone. There’s speculation, as noted in her casefile, that Karen’s abduction is connected to the unsolved rape and murder of six-year-old Esther Lizette Galaz. Certainly the cases are very similar, but until Lizette’s murder is solved or Karen is found, any speculation has to remain only that.

I wonder how thoroughly the other residents in the complex (which had over 400 apartments) were checked. In March 1996, Albert Aguilar Ramirez, a resident of the complex who had a criminal for sexual abuse, murdered his elderly neighbor. The cops said they had “no reason to believe” Ramirez was involved in Karen’s disappearance, though. A fellow resident with a history of child molestation would be an obvious suspect in Karen’s case, and my guess is the police had investigated him and ruled him out earlier, right after Karen’s abduction and before he killed the neighbor.

I highly doubt Karen is still alive. There are so many places to hide a body in the desert.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ximena and Sergio Granados

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is the disappearances of siblings Ximena Paola Granados, 1, and Sergio Paul Granados, two and a half, who went missing from Pomona, California on July 30, 2008.

The Granados kids are classified as family abductions; authorities believe they were taken by their non-custodial mother and father, possibly to Mexico. However, I can’t find any info on the parents and I don’t know if any warrants were ever issued for them.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Marco Cadenas

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Marco Antonio Cadenas, a nine-year-old biracial black/Hispanic boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on May 11, 1994.

I should note that Marco’s family background was troubled, to say the least. I’m not sure what role, if any, his biological father played in his life, but the man was killed in a police shootout in Ohio in July 1994, two months after Marco disappeared. There was some domestic violence between Marco’s mother and his stepfather, and some drug issues with the mom.

Marco, who called his stepfather “Daddy,” left on the day of his disappearance because he was upset that his mother had hit his stepfather with a bottle. His mother went into drug rehab later that year. I don’t know where his mom and stepfather are today, or if they’re still alive, or what other family Marco has.

So where is Marco? If this was an older child, the circumstances would indicate he left on his own: he was mad at his mother, they had an argument, and she threatened to punish him. He walked out the door and never came back.

But he was nine. Could a nine-year-old, even a streetwise one, have really managed to run away and never come back? And would he have done so without so much as a pair of shoes?

If he’s still alive, and I hope he is, Marco Cadenas would be 33 years old today.

MP of the week: Yousef Almetnawy

This week’s featured missing person is Yousef Almetnawy, who was four years old when he and his sister Iman, age one, were abducted by their mother from Euless, Texas on August 25, 1999.

Disturbingly, the children and their mother, Ghada Abdel Said, may be on the run with Ghada’s brother, Yaser Abdel Said, who is wanted for a double murder: he allegedly shot and killed his two teenage daughters, Sarah and Amina, in 2008.

Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick