Another day, another child abuse death

Wrote up the James Hutchinson case today and boy am I angry on his behalf. And on behalf of his siblings. James’s suffering is over. But his older siblings (I do not know their names or sex, only ages, seven and nine when this occurred) will have to deal with the consequences of their childhoods for the rest of their lives.

I was just sitting there imagining what it must have been like. To sit there in that nature preserve, in the dark and in the cold, with their dead brother’s body wondering if their mom was ever going to come back.

Which she did, after thirty or forty minutes. But that time must have taken an eternity for those children. They were old enough to know they had been abandoned. Old enough to know there was something very wrong with their brother, maybe even old enough to know he was dead.

And poor James. Clinging to that car door handle. He just wanted to be with his mom and couldn’t understand why she was doing this to him.

Frankly, I don’t understand why she did this to him. She even admitted that it had occurred to her to just drop the kids off at a fire station. As elementary schoolers they wouldn’t have been protected under Ohio’s safe haven law (which only applies to newborns under 72 hours old) but the firefighters definitely wouldn’t have hog-tied the kids, or abandoned them in a nature preserve in the middle of the night, or run over and killed any of them.

And all this, just to keep the love of a man who was married to someone else and pretty much an all-around turd. Really?

I really hope the surviving children are being looked after by someone who actually cares about them. And that they’re getting a lot of therapy. They’re going to need it. I just worry that the kids might grow up bouncing around in foster care and become adults of the same caliber as their mother.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

AP dump today, first in awhile

Today I updated what felt like about a million missing persons’ age-progression photos. As is the custom, those aren’t crowding up the Charley Project’s updates page; instead I’ll list them below

  1. LaMoine Jordan Allen
  2. April Dawn Andrews
  3. Bob Louis Richard Boyes
  4. Laronda Marie Bronson
  5. Gina Dawn Brooks
  6. Kellie Marie Brownlee
  7. Olivia Addison Edwards-Tuttle
  8. Randi Layton Evers
  9. Robert Joseph Fritz
  10. Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
  11. Izar Isaac Godinez Sanchez
  12. Royce Henson
  13. Ethan James Hernandez
  14. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith
  15. Mark Joseph Himebaugh
  16. Alice Fay Jefferson
  17. William Ebenezer Jones III
  18. Karen Beth Kamsch
  19. Dennis Lloyd Martin
  20. Laureen Ann Rahn
  21. Benjamin Melvin Roseland
  22. Aaron Cody Stepp
  23. Marisa Velasco
  24. Mary Anne Wesolowski
  25. Shawn White

Francillon Pierre’s case comes to a conclusion

Three-year-old Francillon Pierre was reported missing from North Las Vegas, Nevada on August 2, 1986. His mom and stepmother, Amy Luster and Mahaleel “Lee” Luster, said he disappeared that day from a swap meet.

Thing is, most of the others who were at the swap meet don’t remember seeing him there, and in fact no one outside the family had seen him in a week at least, maybe two weeks. Furthermore, Amy and Lee had already been charged with felony child abuse for severely beating Francillon the previous year. (Why he was returned to their custody I don’t know.)

The case stagnated until 2017, when the police decided to re-examine the evidence they had. In 2019, Amy was charged with her son’s murder. And yesterday the case was settled with a plea bargain, although not a very satisfactory one in my opinion.

Amy (who now goes by Amy Fleming) pleaded no contest to manslaughter. What that means is that she is acknowledging she would probably get convicted if she took the case to trial, but she is still refusing to admit guilt.

And the maximum term she’s facing? Two years. Not even the length of little Francillon’s short life. And Lee? He’s free as far as I know. He hasn’t been charged in this case at all.

I think it’s unlikely the child’s body will ever be recovered. Certainly Amy has no reason to say where she put it. Per this article, Lee said Francillon was in Lake Mead. Which doesn’t help much; Lake Mead is a massive reservoir over 500 feet deep, with 247 square miles of surface water.

MP of the week: Kristian Justice

This week’s featured missing person is Kristian Dejuan Justice, age 7 months, who disappeared with his six-year-old half-sister, Kaylah Neveah Hunter, from Detroit, Michigan on May 24, 2014.

Kristian’s father is Erin Maurice Justice. (Kaylah has a different father.) Erin had been married to the children’s mother, Alicia Marie Fox, for only four months when the couple separated and Alicia moved out with both kids. June 6, nearly two weeks after the children were last seen, Kaylah missed her kindergarten graduation ceremony and their family reported Alicia, Kaylah and Kristian missing. On June 9, Alicia’s body was found in the basement of a vacant home in Detroit.

Erin was subsequently arrested in Atlanta and charged with murder in Alicia’s case. He had left town on May 29. Although Erin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 45 to 80 years, he never revealed what happened to the children.

Authorities can only hope that Kristian and Kaylah are still alive. There has been no indication of their whereabouts since 2014.

Former cult leader Anna Young, believed responsible for three Charley Project disappearances, dies

So Anna Young died a few days ago at the age of 79, having served just 33 days of a life sentence for second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Anna pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Emon Harper, aka Moses Young, a toddler who was beaten and starved to death in 1988 or 1989. His body was never found. The manslaughter conviction was for the death of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old who died after being beaten, tortured and denied her epilepsy medication. (For some reason her death had initially been ruled as natural.)

Anna is also connected to two unsolved disappearances: that of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, whom she allegedly had abandoned at a church in Puerto Rico in 1992, and that of her six-year-old stepdaughter Catherine Barbara Davidson, who was last seen in 1973. Per one of Catherine’s siblings, she didn’t actually vanish while on a family outing to a state park in Michigan but had in fact been bound, gagged and placed in a closet where she died.

Pretty awful stuff.

I wonder if Marcos is still alive out there, or if he was ever abandoned in the first place and didn’t meet with the same awful death as Emon and Catherine and Katonya did.

We may never know.

MP of the week: Hassani Campbell

My host has unblocked me and whitelisted my IP so I’m able to access the Charley Project again. My host is a good company, run by a friend with my dad’s, and I have to say the customer service I’ve had over the years is excellent.

So I’ve updated the missing person of the week and this time it’s Hassani Jamil Campbell, a five-year-old boy who disappeared from Oakland, California on August 10, 2009. At the time of his disappearance he was living with his aunt, Jennifer Campbell, and her husband, Louis Ross, and his younger sister. Campbell and Ross were Hassani’s legal foster parents; he’d been removed from his biological mother late the previous year. They were reportedly planning to adopt him.

It’s worth noting that Hassani has mild cerebral palsy. He could walk at the time of his disappearance, but couldn’t run or jump, and had to wear braces on his feet.

Ross was taking care of Hassani when Hassani disappeared, and the police were publicly skeptical of his version of events that day. Eighteen days later, both Campbell and Ross were arrested on suspicion of Hassani’s murder, but they were both released without charge within a couple of days, as there was insufficient evidence. Later that year the couple broke up and moved away.

Last I heard, Hassani’s foster parents were still the prime suspects in his case, but the case seems to have gone cold.

If still alive, he’d be 17 years old today.

Tragic news in one child’s case, and justice for another two

Yesterday a child’s body was found in a camper near Garryowen on the Crow Reservation in Montana; it has been identified as Mildred Alexis “Millie” Old Crow, who disappeared sometime in 2019 or 2020. She was living with her guardians, her aunt Roseen Lincoln Old Crow and Roseen’s wife Veronica Dust, and was last seen with them in April 2019. No one’s exactly sure when she disappeared and nothing much has been released yet about her death. It seems likely she was murdered; little girls don’t just die for no reason.

Meanwhile in Florida, former cult leader Anna Young was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the beating/starvation death of Emon David Harper, a toddler who disappeared sometime in 1988 and whose body was never found, and manslaughter in the death by neglect of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old girl with epilepsy who died because Young withheld her medication. Both children and their families were members of Young’s cult.

This article talks about the plea deal and sentence Young accepted, but fails to mention that Young is tied to two other missing children: the 1973 (pre-cult) disappearance of Catherine Barbara Davidson, Young’s six-year-old stepdaughter, and the 1984 disappearance of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, another child whose family was involved in the cult. Marcos may have been abandoned in Puerto Rico by a cult member at Young’s orders. Catherine, however, was almost certainly murdered; one of Young’s other children reportedly saw her body in a closet before her disappearance was reported. It seems unlikely that Young will confess to her involvement in her stepdaughter’s case or help authorities recover the body; she’s got nothing to gain by it.