The Guthrie Family part deux

You’ll recall my “let’s talk about it” post about the Guthrie family last month: Leslie and her children Julie and Timothy, who’ve been missing for forty years come February. Well, I wanted to draw your attention this comment that was posted today.

Boy, am I excited. I really, really hope this is the real deal. I mean, it’s terrible really to say “I hope it’s a car and I hope it has three bodies inside it” but after forty years this is really the best anyone can hope for.

In honor of Kamiyah Mobley’s case being solved…

Here’s a list of others like her, who were abducted by strangers as babies and may very well be still alive out there not knowing who they are. I’m including cases of children 3 and under where non-family abduction is either the only explanation or is more likely than not, and it’s also more likely than not that the abductor(s) intended to either raise the child or give/sell it to someone who would. I’m not counting cases where it could be a non-family abduction but I have virtually no evidence available to say what happened.

  1. Christopher Enoch Abeyta, who would be 31
  2. Sabrina Paige Aisenberg, who would be 19
  3. Emmanuel Kalief Birts, who would be 27
  4. David Ezell Blockett, who would be 36
  5. Andre Terrance Bryant, who would be 27
  6. Christopher Milton Dansby, who would be 29
  7. Bryan Dos Santos-Gomes, who would be 10
  8. Paul Joseph Fronczak, who would be 52
  9. Elizabeth Dorothy Funchess, who would be 40
  10. Elizabeth Ann Gill, who would be 54
  11. Raymond Lamar Green, who would be 38
  12. Sausha Latine Henson, who would be 15
  13. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, who would be 47
  14. Shaina Ashly Kirkpatrick, who would be 17
  15. Alexandra Marie McIntire, who would be 23
  16. Donel Jacoby Minor, who would be 32
  17. Vivian Paola Montanez Castellanos, who would be 30
  18. Mary Agnes Moroney*, who would be 88
  19. Saure Blizhaid Sanchez Vega, who would be 23
  20. Marlene Santana, who would be 31
  21. Aleacia Di’onne Stancil, who would be 22
  22. Tavish Sutton, who would be 23
  23. Angel Torres-Irizarry, who would be 41
  24. Jacqueline Vasquez, who would be 16
  25. Shane Anthony Walker, who would be 29
  26. April Nicole Williams, who would be 33

*Okay, Mary Moroney’s probably dead now just because of the passage of time, but there’s no reason to believe she didn’t live to adulthood.

Honorable mentions: Tiffani Claudette Wise, 2, and her half-sister Brandi Jondell Summers, 5, who would now be 41 and 45 respectively. It looks like the girls were taken by Brandi’s dad, Roy, but the case is, ah, a bit complicated, not a simple family abduction, and it’s likely they were raised by others. Brandi had cystic fibrosis, a very serious condition that is life-shortening even now and was much less treatable in 1977, and so she may be dead. But I haven’t seen any evidence that either of the children were murdered.

Yates girls found safe after 31 1/2 years

This has been all over the news so chances are you’ve heard it already: one of my oldest family abductions, the 1985 case of ten-month-old Kelly Ann Yates and her big sister, 3-year-old Kimberly Ann Yates, has been solved. The girls, who are of course now adults, turned up alive and well in Texas.

I haven’t removed their casefiles yet; you can still read them for now. This article from the Providence Journal also provides a really good grounding in the case.

And I want to address an issue that has come up time and time again in family abduction cases, particularly cases where the children were taken by their mothers: the assumption so many people make that the abductor must have been “saving” the children from an unfit and/or abusive parent.

Several of the news articles (such as this one) have brought up the fact that, before Elaine Yates took the children and vanished, there was a domestic argument between herself and Russell, and he struck her. However, if you check out my casefiles for the girls, I include the information that, according to Russell, he only kicked his wife in self-defense after she attacked him first and struck him several times.

I’ve had people being like “How do you know that’s really true” and “How do you know that’s the ONLY incident, maybe there was more.”

I don’t know. That’s the thing. But just because I don’t know does not mean I am going to assume, based on a single incident that did not result in charges and that may have been self-defense, that Russell was an abusive husband and father.

What is DEFINITELY true is that Elaine committed a serious crime and put Russell through a lot of pain and grief for the past 30+ years. Elaine’s offense is much worse than Russell’s offense, which was basically simple assault.

Elaine will get a chance to tell her side of the story in time, but until then, I am a bit sickened by how some people people are automatically giving her the benefit of doubt. People don’t generally do this for most other crimes. Someone commented on my Facebook page about this case saying “some people do this [kidnap their own children] for a good reason.” Well, sometimes people who rob banks do it for a good reason — perhaps they have seven children and no food in the kitchen and they’re behind on the mortgage and about to be turned out of house and home into the frozen cold, and they really, really need the money. But nobody makes such remarks in response to news stories about bank robbery.

I cannot speak specifically on the Yates case because I don’t have all the facts. What I can say is this: in most family abduction cases, the abducting parent is not trying to protect the child or give it a better home. Most abducting parents take their children in order to spite the other parent. They hate their ex and want to hurt them in the worst way possible, by taking away the most precious thing in their lives.

Furthermore, parental abduction is child abuse. Most of the victims are lied to, told that the left-behind parent is dead or doesn’t want them anymore. In many cases the children are shifted from pillar to post, forced to live a lie, use false names, etc. Many times they don’t have access to education or health care while they’re missing, aren’t allowed to have friends, aren’t allowed to live a normal childhood.

I hope Kelly and Kimberly Yates prove willing to at least give their father a chance to get to know them again. That’s most important. I think it’s also important, though, that they follow through with prosecuting Elaine. I don’t think people should be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. The fact that it’s been thirty years does not lessen the gravity of what she did.

Missing persons news

I’ll cover the recovery of the Yates girls in their own entry, but here’s some other missing persons news:

  • This accountant’s hobby? Identifying missing people through his drawings
    My friend and Irregular Carl Koppelman has been featured in the Orange County Register. He does wonderful sketches of UIDs and was instrumental in identifying Cali Doe as Tammy Alexander. Congratulations, Carl!
  • Trial date in 20-year-old cold case pushed back to October
    A year and a quarter ago ago, more or less, Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s two-doors-down neighbor was charged with her murder. The headline of this article is pretty self-explanatory, and the news story explains why: the suspect has new lawyers now who need time to review the evidence.
    Kirsten’s case, for whatever reason, fascinated me back when I was a child and first started getting interested in missing persons. I had a website when I was twelve or so, with some poems and stories I wrote, and one of them was a poem called “Missing, Presumed Dead” and it was based on Kirsten’s disappearance, as I explained on the site. Kirsten’s mom found it and emailed me, saying she was touched that a little girl in Ohio was thinking of her and her lost daughter, but she didn’t believe Kirsten was dead.
  • Judge orders suspect in cold case homicide to trial in district court
    Apparently the motive for Cari Lea Farver‘s homicide was a love triangle; both she and the suspect, Shanna Goylar, were seeing the same man. According to prosecutors, after Goylar killed Cari, she burned the body and then went on Cari’s social media accounts and tried to make it look like she was still alive.
  • Missing Oklahoma woman found more than 20 years after disappearance
    This case isn’t one of mine. It’s a really awesome story, though, how hard Shelly Jennings’s daughters looked for her, and how she was found largely through their efforts. Twenty-three years after she walked away from her family in Oklahoma, she turns up at a bus station in Modesto, California. I hope they can reconcile, although given Shelly’s mental illness, this may not be possible.
  • For families of missing persons, not knowing is excruciating
    This is about the disappearance of Cody Henry Turner, who went missing from Washington in 2015.
  • Missing Minnesotans: Susan Swedell
    Obviously, an article about Susan Anne Swedell (for whom I recently posted an updated AP).

Let’s talk about it: the Garcia/Burhans family

On March 15, 1982, Carmen Maria Burhans Garcia, her husband Diego Garcia, and Carmen’s nine-year-old daughter Barbara Burhans departed their Los Angeles residence into the unknown.

The family lived in the same house as Carmen’s mother; Carmen’s mother lived in the upstairs apartment, and the others lived downstairs. That morning — which was a Monday, presumably a school day for Barbara — Carmen’s mother came downstairs to see them while they were eating breakfast and noticed her daughter was crying but didn’t ask why. She never saw any of them again. They left that afternoon, leaving everything behind, including their dog.

One month and ten days later, the family’s car turned up in a snowbank 500 feet down a gorge in the San Gabriel Mountains, near Big Pines, California. Google Maps says that by today’s routes, Big Pines is 80-ish miles from the Garcias’ home, about an hour and a half by car. There’s two interesting things worth noting here:

  1. In spite of the fact that the car had gone 500 feet into the gorge and the roof had been bashed in, there was no blood present, strongly suggesting no one was inside the car when it was pushed, accidentally or intentionally, into the gorge.
  2. The road it must have fallen off from had been closed since March 16, the day after the trio vanished.

There are a few colorful details here, including a rumor that Carmen, a newly minted Mormon, had gotten involved in a MUCH different religion prior to her disappearance, one involving chicken sacrifice. (Santeria maybe? For what it’s worth, Santeria has Caribbean origins, and Diego was born in Cuba.) Another rumor was that Diego had gotten into criminal activity and the whole family had up and left for Miami.

The whole thing makes me think of the Mary Celeste. It appears that SOMETHING seriously spooked the family that morning, enough to have Carmen crying, enough to keep Barbara from going to school, enough to have them pile into their car and leave everything behind. But what was it? And what happened next?

Let’s talk about it.

Make-a-List Monday: Older children where a parent is suspected

This list is for kids over the age of ten where one or both of the child’s parents (or step-parents, or guardians) is a suspect or possible suspect in their disappearance, or the circumstances indicate they could be involved. I’m not talking about family abduction cases, I mean cases where they think the parent killed the child. I’m including murder-without-a-body cases.

Child abuse and neglect occurs at all ages, of course, but it’s my understanding that child abuse deaths in older kids are relatively rare. I don’t know much about this sort of thing but my guess would be it’s because older kids are both less fragile and more capable of defending themselves than infants and toddlers.

I’m grouping these kids in alphabetical order by age, and the suspect is in parentheses. In a lot of these cases, other family members — siblings or a parent — are also missing.

  1. Sheketah Michele Brown, 10 (father)
  2. Shakeima Ann Cabbagestalk, 10 (stepfather)
  3. Kristopher Charles Loesch, 10 (mother and mother’s girlfriend)
  4. Reagan Cordell Uden, 10 (stepfather)
  5. Karen Zhou, 10 (stepfather)
  6. Haleigh Breann Culwell, 11 (stepfather)
  7. Richard Lee Haynes Jr., 11 (father and stepmother)
  8. Adam Joseph Herrman, 11 or 12 (adoptive parents)
  9. Barry James Kephart II, 11 (father)
  10. Billy Sena, 11 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  11. Richard Loren Uden, 11 (stepfather)
  12. Terry Lee Westerfield, 11 (stepfather)
  13. Debra Jean Cole, 12 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  14. Crystal Gayle Dittmeyer, 12 (stepfather)
  15. Ivy Matory, 12 (stepfather)
  16. Jaliek L. Rainwalker, 12 (adoptive father)
  17. Doreen Jane Vincent, 12 (father)
  18. Melinda Karen Creech, 13 (mother)
  19. Kelly Jean Harris, 13 (stepfather)
  20. Rachel Marie Mellon, 13 (stepfather)
  21. Rachanda Lea Pickle, 13 (stepfather)
  22. Ricky Lane Thomas Jr., 13 (stepfather)
  23. Aundria Michelle Bowman, 14 (adoptive father)
  24. Toni Lynn McNatt-Chiappetta, 14 (father)
  25. Christina Marchell Richart, 14 (foster mother; her biological uncle’s wife)
  26. Monique Christine Daniels, 15 (stepfather)
  27. Tammy Sue Rothganger, 15 (stepfather)
  28. Jason Sims Jr., 15 (parents)
  29. Bethany Anne Sinclair, 15 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  30. Joyce Irene Cogburn, 15 (male temporary guardian)
  31. William Dale Gunn, 15 (stepfather)
  32. Josephine Yvette Cogburn, 16 (male temporary guardian)
  33. Margarette Ann Cuauhtli, 16 (adoptive father)
  34. Mindi Chambers, 17 (father)
  35. Alissa Marie Turney, 17 (stepfather; legally adopted her)

Honorable mention: Richard Gorham, 11. His mother’s live-in boyfriend is a suspect in his disappearance. However, Richard was living with his grandfather, Roland Himebrook, when he went missing. Himebrook disappeared too.